Open Court Popular Culture and Philosophy Series
Deadline: October 1, 2011 http://www.opencourtbooks.com/
Editors: Joanna Crosby, David Bzdak, and Seth Vannatta
The Wire was an HBO program that ran for five seasons in the first
decade of the 21st century. Any critic worth her salt has declared it
the best thing ever shown on television. Some will argue it’s the
best thing ever put on film. Ever. The Wire was created and
primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon.
Each season of The Wire focuses on a different facet of the city of
Baltimore including the illegal drug trade, the port system of
commerce, municipal government, the public school system, and print
news journalism. Although the show is presented as a crime and
detective drama, the show is really about an American post-industrial
urban city, its institutions, virtues, and vices including drug use,
failure of the drug war, crime, corruption, racism and reverse racism,
failed educational policy, the ills of contemporary print journalism,
and the betrayal of people for short term profits. Issues ripe for
philosophical reflection include law, politics, ethics, race, class,
gender, sexual orientation, good, evil, beauty, and, truth.
Proposals should be 200-400 words, and should be lively presentations
of the topics and questions to be addressed in the full chapter. They
should relate in some way to philosophy, viewing The Wire
philosophically or viewing philosophy through the lens of The Wire.
Proposals due by October 1, 2011, but the earlier you submit them the
better. We will notify authors of acceptance shortly thereafter.
Complete chapters of about 4000 words will be due early in the spring
of 2012. Final drafts with revisions will be due later that summer.
Topics should be risk taking, entertaining, and given the subject
matter of The Wire, honest, critical, and edifying. The intended
audience is the fans of The Wire, not academic philosophers. Email
abstracts and personal contact information to Seth Vannatta at:
Examples of topics and sample titles are below:
Social and Political Philosophy
• Labor, Capital and Globalization: Sobotka at the Decay of the Port
• American Dream or American Lie? Plato, the Noble Lie, and the 21st
• There’s a ‘Wire’ in Every City: The Post-Industrial Urban Landscape
• Hamsterdam – Giving the People what They Want
• The Big Lie and the Death of News Journalism
Character, Education, and Epistemology
• Bubbles: Dope Fiend, Deontologist and Humanitarian
• Robin Hood as Omar the Homo-thug
• Dr. Dewey and Mr. Presbo Go to the School House
• Betray the Youth and the Cycle Begins Again
• Knowing and Proving: The Epistemology of Law Enforcement
• Who are the Bad Guys, and Does it Matter if They Get Caught?
• No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
• Making Money off Despair
• Is it Always Right to Lie? Deception and Police Interrogations.
• The Rules of Drug Dealing and Moral Responsibility in the State of