Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test by Mark D. White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is my first venture into the Philosophy and Pop Culture series. I wasn't disappointed with most of what I'd read. I was a little hesitant to read this at first because I thought these essays might've been just slapped together to appeal to an audience, but it was much more than that.
The topics span a range of ideas in philosophical context including feminism, virtue, homosexuality. As with any book that has multiple writers, the essays themselves were hit or miss.I enjoyed most of the essays on Rorschach and Ozymandias. There was a great essay about The Comedian and Nite Owl. The essays centering around Mr. Manhattan were a little bland, though.
These essays posed great questions for discussion such as: Would superheroes work in a real life setting? Could we really trust them to be objective creatures who didn't give into personal biases? Or would they be whim to changing the rules to suit them since no ordinary man could challenge them and win?
I probably would've given it 4 stars, but I deducted for a couple of reasons.
First, the guy who wrote about homosexuality in Watchmen seemed like a poor candidate to touch on the subject. His view was very biased as a man who admitted that he was "sickened" by homosexuality and nothing about his argument was compelling. But he did manage to come off like that one guy who can't be racist because he has "black friends." Just replace "black friends" with "gay friends," and you have this guy. He tried to be objective, but it came off very forced.
Secondly, while I enjoyed the essays on Ozymandias and Rorschach--and not so much Dr. Manhattan, I wished it'd touched more on some of the other characters. Most of the book was dominated by those three with Rorschach being a character who had roused Kant in the writers. It would've been nice to read other ideas about the other characters and their actions beside what virtue Nite Owl's potbelly represents and a rambling essay about feminism that seemed to lose the plot.
Overall, a nice collection of essays. If you like Kant, you'll probably love this. He comes up fairly often. If you're looking for a well-rounded book that pays equal tribute to the characters, then you're not going to find it here.
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