Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Walter White Wednesday 33

Pre Meth Walt - look, kids!
Chemistry is fun!  Like me!
Wanna Cook? is planned a quasi-commercial book. Or maybe it's a quasi-academic book. At any rate, it's a blend. While not as footnoted-and-polysyllabic as the genuine "television goes to the Ivory Tower" books are, Wanna Cook? is also designed to be far more than a recap guide. For me, this is a change. While the analysis of popular culture allows for a certain (shall we say) relaxing of tone, the overarching goal remains the same - take a solid background in the scholarship in the field and use it, along with your own independent research, to stake out and defend your particular position.

As you can imagine, these books tend to not crack the New York Times bestseller lists.  Oh, well. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be written. I'm quite proud of Faith & Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, as well as my other publications (and really, they make wonderful additions to any holiday gift list!  Just sayin'). 

It's been great to write so freely and to express opinions without having to exhaustively support each and every contention, but I have to admit, it's also been a bit daunting.  I'm used to "well, so-and-so agrees with me right here on page 47 of the treatise Philosophers Take On Television* (published by Oh-So-Important Press 2008), so I must be right.  Took me six hours to find that quote so I have to be right!" Instead, this is much more "when you see something pop up four times in six episodes and the camera lingers on the item each time, that's no coincidence.  This is what I think it means."

Post Meth Walt - do what I say, or else.
A Very Bad Else.
However, it's a good idea to test-drive your theories.  So this past week, my co-author and I hied ourselves to the annual Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association in the South conference to present some ideas about Breaking Bad that will likely turn into longer pieces in the finished book.  We were fortunate to present alongside David Lavery (presenting on showrunner Vince Gilligan) and Jeffery Frame (presenting on secondary characters in the show), both of whom gave polished, artful talks.  (Keep in mind at these conferences, you're limited to a maximum of 20 minutes speaking time and that's with any clips you want to use. With a four person panel, your time is cut to a mere 15 minutes, so there's no time to fool around here.) My co-author has written about the panel over on his blog, so I won't duplicate it here, other than to say that the reception to our ideas was positive and it gives me hope that Wanna Cook? will be well-received and have some useful, creative, fun things to say.

In the next few weeks, I dive into the work of annotating and organizing Season 4, as well as re-writing the conference presentation into a book "extra." I daresay these weekly posts will show a focus on Season 4 as I work my way through that material - and what a season it was! Join me here on Wednesdays and I know Ensley F. Guffey would like to see you over at his place for the weekly "Meth Monday." Until then, stay safe and avoid angry chemistry teachers.

* Please note that, to my knowledge, neither this book nor the press actually exists, although I think the name of the press is especially cool and it probably should.

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