The Meaning Of It All Hot Air

I Think, Therefore I Am — I Think

I like pretending to be a philosopher — ergo, this blog. Funny thing is, I’m spectacularly bored by guys who are acclaimed as philosophers. And yes, philosophers usually are guys; maybe if more women got into the racket, it’d be more compelling.

Anyway, I sold a Foucault book yesterday and, being the smart-ass I am, I asked the cust. if he was suffering from insomnia. He laughed. I was serious.

I like the old (I mean +2000-year-old) definition of philosopher: That is, someone who thought about what was then considered science. Once science became divorced from questions of the divine and Why? and subsequently married to the questions of What, Where, and How?, the Why guys slunk away and dedicated themselves to telling the rest of us unwashed, unread slobs about the meaning and purpose of life.

Let me save you a lot of time and eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-your-head boredom. The reason we’re alive boils down to two words: Just Because.

Philosophers

The Great Philosophers

You’re welcome.

Then again it can be said that all the books ever written really are philosophy books. That entails a fairly broad definition of of the term. Even so, I can’t muster up much of an argument against it. Even I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell postulates a philosophy of a sort. Of a heinous sort, sure, but of a sort.

That’s why, I suppose, the list-fetishists at BuzzFeed compiled a roster of 28 “Favorite” Books That Are Huge Red Flags. The idea being, if someone tells you that one of these titles is the best or most important or greatest book in the world and/or you don’t have to read another thing after reading it, you should run like the wind away from them.

How many of these have you read? Have you ever gushed over one or more of them?

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  • American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Any Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Exodus by Leon Uris
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
  • Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
  • Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
  • The Game by Neil Strauss
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
  • Any Narnia book by C.S. Lewis
  • Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

So, back to philosophy. One of my fave philosophical pontifications has been Never trust people who don’t have books in their homes. Which, BTW, I thought of long before I read John Waters‘ notorious epigram, If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.

Funny thing is, I’ve always lived by that Waters rule. I can’t recall ever initiating an intimate relationship with anyone who didn’t proudly display their books or who hinted that they didn’t read. That was true even when I was a dopey 21-year-old.

See? I’m a born philosopher.

One thought on “The Meaning Of It All Hot Air

  1. Joy Shayne Laughter says:

    “Favorite” books (as opposed to “good” books) usually buoy up a reader’s belief system or refine maybe one thing in that belief system or else just gave them a good laugh — and we know that laughter is priceless medicine in anyone’s life.

    Of this list, I have read five to the end (“Exodus” was a high school assignment), started and abandoned three, read around in three, have one on the shelf for travel reading, and have diligently ignored the rest.

    I’m sure some of the favorite books on my shelf would be red flags for some folk. S’alright!

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