So I'm in a bookstore yesterday, trying to buy a novel that has nothing whatever to do with any of the subjects I usually think, write, and teach about. I pick up Lorrie Moore's very highly praised new novel A Gate at the Stairs, flip randomly to the middle, and what should I read? A character is talking about how Peter Singer (or is it "Pete" or is it "IB Singer"--there's some fumbling about the name) thinks we can kill kids with disabilities but shouldn't eat meat. Well OK, it's a tricky combination of positions, but not as crazy as it sounds....Hold on! So much for escaping in a novel.
I left the store empty handed and read some essays in Twilight and Philosophy last night. There's some good stuff in there, and I'm not talking about my essay ("Dying to Eat: The Vegetarian Ethics of Twilight"). It turns out I'm not the only one who thinks there are some serious problems with the messages the Twilight books are delivering to our daughters. Both Bonnie Mann and Rebecca Housel are worried too. Next I'm going to read the essays on mind-reading (Eric Silverman), immortality (Brendan Shea) and free will (Sara Worley). Despite all the whining of people who look down on the "philosophy and pop culture" series (plural), they're worth reading. My only complaint: there are just too many of them crowding the shelves at mainstream bookstores these days. That means less space for other kinds of readable philosophy.