Hibbs’ “Shows About Nothing” an interesting confluence of genres

book-cover-shows-about-nothingThomas S. HibbsShows about Nothing: Nihilism in Popular Culture makes for an interesting confluence of genres. The examination of philosophy in pop culture is nothing new, of course – Open Court Books’ Popular Culture and Philosophy series covers any number of TV shows and movies, including The Simpsons and Star Wars.

However, Hibbs’ book weaves a discussion of nihilism with Cape Fear, Nip/Tuck, and a slew of diverse and seemingly unrelated films and programs. Granted, the subtitle is a trifle over-reaching. Hibbs sticks primarily to film and television, with a brief digression into Shakespeare in the early chapters. Music is left wholly untouched – a smart move, as it could easily be a series of books unto itself – but those hoping to see how video games tie into all of this will be left wanting.
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“Right By Her Roots” focuses overly on criticism, rather than interviews

book-cover-right-by-her-rootsMuch as I wanted to enjoy Jewly Hight‘s Right By Her Roots: Americana Women and Their Songs, I just couldn’t. The book — out now via Baylor University Press is a bit of a mess.

The book is front-loaded with the major interview subjects, leaving the back half of the book to founder. While none of the artists featured are household names by any stretch, putting Victoria Williams, Lucinda Williams, and Michelle Shocked as three of your first four chapters doesn’t leave a lot of meat in the back end.
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