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Popular Culture
The Physics of Superheroes: More Heroes! More Villains! More Science! Spectacular Second Edition
The Physics of Superheroes
More Heroes! More Villains! More Science! Spectacular Second Edition
Paperback      ISBN: 1592405088
A complete update to the hit book on the real physics at work in comic books, featuring more heroes, more villains, and more science

Since 2001, James Kakalios has taught Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books, a hugely popular university course that generated coast-to-coast media attention for its unique method of explaining complex physics concepts through comics. With The Physics of Superheroes, named one of the best science books of 2005 by Discover, he introduced his colorful approach to an even wider audience. Now Kakalios presents a totally updated, expanded edition that features even more superheroes and findings from the cutting edge of science. With three new chapters and completely revised throughout with a splashy, redesigned package, the book that explains why Spider-Man's webbing failed his girlfriend, the probable cause of Krypton's explosion, and the Newtonian physics at work in Gotham City is electrifying from cover to cover.
Monty Python Speaks, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Oral History
Monty Python Speaks, Revised and Updated Edition
The Complete Oral History
Paperback      ISBN: 0062866443

With a Foreword by John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its BBC debut, a revised and updated edition of the complete oral history of Monty Python--an insightful, in-depth portrait of the brilliant and hysterically funny show that transformed modern comedy.

Broadcast by the BBC between 1969 and 1974, Monty Python's Flying Circus introduced something completely different: a new brand of surrealistic, stream-of-consciousness comedy that pushed the traditional boundaries of format, style, and content. Blending brilliant satire with slapstick silliness, The Pythons--Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin--spoke to a generation eager to break free of the conventional. Making their way across the Atlantic and the world, the Pythons' zany approach to comedy would have a monumental influence on modern popular culture, paving the way for farcical entertainment from Saturday Night Live to The Simpsons to Austin Powers.

In Monty Python Speaks, David Morgan has collected interviews with Monty Python's founding members, actors, producers, and other collaborators to produce a no-holds-barred look at the Pythons' legendary sketches and films, including Monty Python's Life of Brian, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Spamalot), and The Meaning of Life. Featuring four new chapters that focus on the group's oeuvre since the first edition's publication twenty years ago, as well as a new foreword and updated resources, Monty Python Speaks offers a fascinating peek behind the scenes of the Pythons' creative process--including the friendships and feuds--that catapulted a comedy revolution.

Reclaiming the Black Past: The Use and Misuse of African American History in the 21st Century
Reclaiming the Black Past
The Use and Misuse of African American History in the 21st Century
Hardcover      ISBN: 1786632039
The past and future of Black history

In this information-overloaded twenty-first century, it seems impossible to fully discern or explain how we know about the past. But two things are certain. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all think historically on a routine basis. And our perceptions of history, including African American history, have not necessarily been shaped by professional historians.

In this wide-reaching and timely book, Pero Gaglo Dagbovie argues that public knowledge and understanding of black history, including its historical icons, has been shaped by institutions and individuals outside academic ivory towers. Drawing on a range of compelling examples, Dagbovie explores how, in the twenty-first century, African American history is regarded, depicted, and juggled by diverse and contesting interpreters--from museum curators to filmmakers, entertainers, politicians, journalists, and bloggers.

Underscoring the ubiquitous nature of African-American history in contemporary American thought and culture, each chapter unpacks how black history has been represented and remembered primarily during the "Age of Obama," the so-called era of "post-racial" American society. Reclaiming the Black Past is Dagbovie's contribution to expanding how we understand African American history during the new millennium.
Zizek's Jokes: (did You Hear the One about Hegel and Negation?)
Zizek's Jokes
(did You Hear the One about Hegel and Negation?)
Paperback      ISBN: 0262535300
Zizek as comedian: jokes in the service of philosophy.

"A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes."--Ludwig Wittgenstein

The good news is that this book offers an entertaining but enlightening compilation of Zizekisms. Unlike any other book by Slavoj Zizek, this compact arrangement of jokes culled from his writings provides an index to certain philosophical, political, and sexual themes that preoccupy him. Zizek's Jokes contains the set-ups and punch lines--as well as the offenses and insults--that Zizek is famous for, all in less than 200 pages.

So what's the bad news? There is no bad news. There's just the inimitable Slavoj Zizek, disguised as an impossibly erudite, politically incorrect uncle, beginning a sentence, "There is an old Jewish joke, loved by Derrida..." For Zizek, jokes are amusing stories that offer a shortcut to philosophical insight. He illustrates the logic of the Hegelian triad, for example, with three variations of the "Not tonight, dear, I have a headache" classic: first the wife claims a migraine; then the husband does; then the wife exclaims, "Darling, I have a terrible migraine, so let's have some sex to refresh me " A punch line about a beer bottle provides a Lacanian lesson about one signifier. And a "truly obscene" version of the famous "aristocrats" joke has the family offering a short course in Hegelian thought rather than a display of unspeakables.

Zizek's Jokes contains every joke cited, paraphrased, or narrated in Zizek's work in English (including some in unpublished manuscripts), including different versions of the same joke that make different points in different contexts. The larger point being that comedy is central to Zizek's seriousness.

Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain
Masscult and Midcult
Essays Against the American Grain
Paperback      ISBN: 159017447x

A New York Review Books Original

An uncompromising contrarian, a passionate polemicist, a man of quick wit and wide learning, an anarchist, a pacifist, and a virtuoso of the slashing phrase, Dwight Macdonald was an indefatigable and indomitable critic of America's susceptibility to well-meaning cultural fakery: all those estimable, eminent, prizewinning works of art that are said to be good and good for you and are not. He dubbed this phenomenon "Midcult" and he attacked it not only on aesthetic but on political grounds. Midcult rendered people complacent and compliant, secure in their common stupidity but neither happy nor free.

This new selection of Macdonald's finest essays, assembled by John Summers, the editor of The Baffler, reintroduces a remarkable American critic and writer. In the era of smart, sexy, and everything indie, Macdonald remains as pertinent and challenging as ever.
No LOGO: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs
No LOGO
No Space, No Choice, No Jobs
Paperback      ISBN: 0312429274

A Tenth Anniversary Edition of Naomi Klein's No Logo with a New Introduction by the Author

NO LOGO was an international bestseller and a movement bible (The New York Times). Naomi Klein's second book, The Shock Doctrine, was hailed as a master narrative of our time, and has over a million copies in print worldwide.

In the last decade, No Logo has become an international phenomenon and a cultural manifesto for the critics of unfettered capitalism worldwide. As America faces a second economic depression, Klein's analysis of our corporate and branded world is as timely and powerful as ever.

Equal parts cultural analysis, political manifesto, mall-rat memoir, and journalistic expos , No Logo is the first book to put the new resistance into pop-historical and clear economic perspective. Naomi Klein tells a story of rebellion and self-determination in the face of our new branded world.
Pop Science: Serious Answers to Deep Questions Posed in Songs
Pop Science
Serious Answers to Deep Questions Posed in Songs
Hardcover      ISBN: 198485626x
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist uses data, facts, and science to deliver hilarious, fascinating answers to some of the most famous questions in pop music history.

"Is there life on Mars? Where have all the flowers gone? Pop songs can pose excellent questions and James Ball has given them the answers they deserve."--The Times (UK)

Some of the most famous questions of our time have come to us in pop songs. "What is love?" "How soon is now?" "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" But do you know the answers?

Breaking down lyrics from Bob Dylan, Queen, Rihanna, the Ting Tings, Billy Joel, and a variety of other genre- and decade-spanning artists with colorful graphs and Venn diagrams, Pop Science reveals the exact points where lowbrow pop culture and the highest science and philosophy meet. By revealing the economic status of doggies in windows, what war is good for, and what becomes of the brokenhearted, James Ball uncovers what we have always known--that pop music is the key to life itself.
Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century
Chuck Klosterman X
A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century
Paperback      ISBN: 0399184163
New York Times-bestselling author and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman sorts through the past decade and how we got to now.

Chuck Klosterman has created an incomparable body of work in books, magazines, newspapers, and on the Web. His writing spans the realms of culture and sports, while also addressing interpersonal issues, social quandaries, and ethical boundaries. Klosterman has written nine previous books, helped found and establish Grantland, served as the New York Times Magazine Ethicist, worked on film and television productions, and contributed profiles and essays to outlets such as GQ, Esquire, Billboard, The A.V. Club, and The Guardian.

Chuck Klosterman's tenth book (aka Chuck Klosterman X) collects his most intriguing of those pieces, accompanied by fresh introductions and new footnotes throughout. Klosterman presents many of the articles in their original form, featuring previously unpublished passages and digressions. Subjects include Breaking Bad, Lou Reed, zombies, KISS, Jimmy Page, Stephen Malkmus, steroids, Mountain Dew, Chinese Democracy, The Beatles, Jonathan Franzen, Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt, Eddie Van Halen, Charlie Brown, the Cleveland Browns, and many more cultural figures and pop phenomena. This is a tour of the past decade from one of the sharpest and most prolific observers of our unusual times.
Planet Funny: How Comedy Ruined Everything
Planet Funny
How Comedy Ruined Everything
Paperback      ISBN: 1501100602
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

The witty and exuberant New York Times bestselling author and record-setting Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings relays the history of humor in "lively, insightful, and crawling with goofy factlings," (Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go Bernadette)--from fart jokes on clay Sumerian tablets to the latest Twitter gags and Facebook memes.

Where once society's most coveted trait might have been strength or intelligence or honor, today, in a clear sign of evolution sliding off the trails, it is being funny. Yes, funniness.

Consider: Super Bowl commercials don't try to sell you anymore; they try to make you laugh. Airline safety tutorials--those terrifying laminated cards about the possibilities of fire, explosion, depressurization, and drowning--have been replaced by joke-filled videos with multimillion-dollar budgets and dance routines. Thanks to social media, we now have a whole Twitterverse of amateur comedians riffing around the world at all hours of the day--and many of them even get popular enough online to go pro and take over TV.

In his "smartly structured, soundly argued, and yes--pretty darn funny" (Booklist, starred review) Planet Funny, Ken Jennings explores this brave new comedic world and what it means--or doesn't--to be funny in it now. Tracing the evolution of humor from the caveman days to the bawdy middle-class antics of Chaucer to Monty Python's game-changing silliness to the fast-paced meta-humor of The Simpsons, Jennings explains how we built our humor-saturated modern age, where lots of us get our news from comedy shows and a comic figure can even be elected President of the United States purely on showmanship. "Fascinating, entertaining and--I'm being dead serious here--important" (A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically), Planet Funny is a full taxonomy of what spawned and defines the modern sense of humor.
Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture
Waiting for the Barbarians
Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture
Paperback      ISBN: 1590177134

FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
AND THE PEN ART OF THE ESSAY AWARD

Over the past decade and a half, Daniel Mendelsohn's reviews for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review have earned him a reputation as "one of the greatest critics of our time" (Poets & Writers). In Waiting for the Barbarians, he brings together twenty-four of his recent essays--each one glinting with "verve and sparkle," "acumen and passion"--on a wide range of subjects, from Avatar to the poems of Arthur Rimbaud, from our inexhaustible fascination with the Titanic to Susan Sontag's Journals. Trained as a classicist, author of two internationally best-selling memoirs, Mendelsohn moves easily from penetrating considerations of the ways in which the classics continue to make themselves felt in contemporary life and letters (Greek myth in the Spider-Man musical, Anne Carson's translations of Sappho) to trenchant takes on pop spectacles--none more explosively controversial than his dissection of Mad Men.

Also gathered here are essays devoted to the art of fiction, from Jonathan Littell's Holocaust blockbuster The Kindly Ones to forgotten gems like the novels of Theodor Fontane. In a final section, "Private Lives," prefaced by Mendelsohn's New Yorker essay on fake memoirs, he considers the lives and work of writers as disparate as Leo Lerman, No l Coward, and Jonathan Franzen. Waiting for the Barbarians once again demonstrates that Mendelsohn's "sweep as a cultural critic is as impressive as his depth."