Thursday, March 02, 2006

An Open Letter to the Philosophy Section...

Dear Philosophy Section at Barnes & Noble, Waco, TX,

I spent my day moving you. But I guess you already knew that since you spent your day being moved. The inventory reallocation of last summer left far too much space in that little island of Computer Books in the back corner of the store where people study. So I consolidated Computers, creating three entire empty bays, all next to each other and two of which are your new home.

I don't suppose you mind being removed from the Religion Section, since most of the authors of your volumes have the reputation (deserved or not) of looking down on and/or objectifying Religion. I also thought you might be happy that you are no longer fragmented as before, when Anselm through James were located next to the Bibles and Kierkegaard through Xavier were around the corner sharing a side with Astrology and New Age. You are now one big happy family. You can ponder the meaning of the universe together, uninhibited by the false demarcations created by some dimwitted cubicle dweller living in upstate New York. (And just so you know, I moved you without their permission. I'm a sneaky son of a bitch, aint I?)

You may be concerned that your titles will not be purchased because of your new obscure location. But seriously, you know as well as I that the only people who look at you anyway are the fringe Baylor undergrads trying to create intellectual distance between themselves and their less-than-cool, non-alternative evangelical counterparts. These are the same people who think they are better than me because they don't watch television or listen to Clear Channel. They are also the ones who browse the section with their equally-cool friends then come up to me and ask, "Why doesn't your Philosophy section have anything written by Socrates in it?" I feign stupidity and say something about how I guess it's because we are in a smaller town.

I feel a certain amount of permission to talk about these people because I was once one of them. I took Introduction to Philosophy in college and thought I was Hot Shit. The Stumbling Runner was in the class with me. He was much smarter than me. I don't remember much about the class except for thinking "I could never understand this stuff, but I think it might be a good idea for me to try and pretend like I do. You know, so I can drop the name 'Sartre' at a dinner party, assuming I'm ever at a dinner party." I also remember when people said they didn't care too much for philosophy that I would develop a way of saying something about how EVERYONE cares about philosophy, they just don't know it. Kind of like people say EVERYONE has a theology, whether they know it or not. It might be true, but most people don't want some smart-ass college student forcing that acknowledgement on them.

Speaking of individual philosophers, (I mentioned Sartre, remember?) don't you think it's kind of humorous that Foucalt, that postmodern guy, is located right next to Frankfurt, the author of "On Bullshit?" I just find it a little funny.

I hope you enjoy your new home. I had fun creating it for you. I'll forget about you and you'll get dusty soon, but as I was moving you today I kind of got the impression that you like it that way. Your titles are for the few. You are such that I'm glad people are reading you, and I'm glad it's not me.

6 comments:

Singleton said...

The best philosphers and theologians are in the fiction & literature section anyway...

greenISgood said...

Socrates isn't much on writing so he wants to know if your agreement with the State required you to exclude him from your bookshelves or if you were simply impaled on the horns of an insuperable dilema?

Plato

Carn-Dog said...

But seriously, you know as well as I that the only people who look at you anyway are the fringe Baylor undergrads trying to create intellectual distance between themselves and their less-than-cool, non-alternative evangelical counterparts.

this comment made morning

Katy said...

Oh, there's so much irony in your post.

Tom said...

Good luck on the run tomorrow!

Craig said...

Thanks Tom!

We're all thinking about you.