Metallica and Philosophy

by Harry on July 21, 2005

I only just found this call for papers for a volume on Metallica and Philosophy. It says:

Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following: Search for Meaning—“Frantic” and “Through the Never”; Nuclear Fear and Politics—“Fight Fire with Fire” and “Blackened”; Capital Punishment—“Ride the Lightning”; Politics, Economics, and Ethics—“…And Justice for All” and “Some Kind of Monster”; The Problem of Evil—“Creeping Death”; Alcoholica: Free Will and Addiction—“Master of Puppets” and “Fixxer”; Appearance and Reality—“Enter Sandman” and “Escape”; Foucault and Metallica on Madness and Insanity—“Sanitarium” and “The Frayed Ends of Sanity”; Truth—“Eye of the Beholder”; Hypocrisy and Inauthenticity—“Leper Messiah” and “Holier Than Thou”; Hume and Augustine on Moral Motivations and Inordinate Desire—“Sad But True,” “The Unnamed Feeling,” and “Master of Puppets”; Emotion: Love and Anger—“The Struggle Within” and “St. Anger”; Heidegger’s Being-toward-death—“Fade to Black” and “The Four Horsemen”; War—“Disposable Heroes” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”; Sorrow, Redemption, and Forgiveness—“No Remorse,” “Harvester of Sorrow,” and “The Unforgiven”; Violence—“Seek & Destroy” and “All Within My Hands”; Masculinity and Warrior Virtues—“Metal Militia,” “Don’t Tread on Me,” and “Shoot Me Again”; Existentialism—“Wherever I May Roam,” “Nothing Else Matters,” and “My World”; Selling-Out, Commercialism and Marxism: Why did Metallica start making videos?; Napster and Intellectual Property; Group Identity and Personal Identity: Are the group members the same persons they were 20 years ago? Is it the same group it was 20 years ago, given the changes the members have undergone and given the changes in bass players?

I thoroughly approve of the Pop Culture and Philosophy series, but would have to rule myself out of this one. NWBHM and Philosophy, maybe. Thin Lizzy and Philosophy, almost certainly. Loudon Wainwright III and Philosophy, no question… oh, sorry, that was popular culture and Philosophy. Maybe Rufus, then.

Unfortunately the deadline for abstracts was July 1st, but I would bet you anything that the editors would still consider an abstract from an eminent philosopher like Brian.

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07.22.05 at 11:43 am



Tim 07.21.05 at 2:10 pm

Is it the same group it was 20 years ago…?

It seems pretty evident from the mere fact that such a volume is being contemplated — as part of the Popular Culture and Philosophy Series — that Metallica today isn’t the Metallica of the Bay Area thrash scene of the early ’80s, a time when they were very much outside popular culture. Applying the “popular” tag to pre-Black Album Metallica just sounds funny to me.

It also seems to me that feminist philosophy has a contribution to make in an analysis of “Dyer’s Eve”, “Ain’t My Bitch” and “Mama Said” — though I’m not the one to write it.


Johnny 07.21.05 at 2:54 pm

I can’t believe they didn’t suggest essays about “One”.


rivet 07.21.05 at 3:03 pm

or “Am I Evil?”


david 07.21.05 at 3:32 pm

If you get that Thin Lizzy one up, I’ll have a Johnny the Fox article on political philosophy out in no time.


GregS 07.21.05 at 3:42 pm

“boys will be boys
and girls will be trouble
and I’m a man with bad habits”


Chris Baldwin 07.21.05 at 4:38 pm

Ah, but “Am I Evil” is a cover of a Diamond Head song.


Jake 07.21.05 at 6:06 pm

I think the only truly important philosophical question regarding Metallica is “why do they suck so much now?”


Jeremy Osner 07.21.05 at 8:10 pm

I speak from total ignorance of Metallica — but is “Mama Said” the same song as the “Mama Said” I know, the rockabilly one?


Jeremy Osner 07.21.05 at 8:10 pm

Oh wait, never mind — the song I am thinking about is called “Mama Tried.”


anand sarwate 07.21.05 at 8:43 pm

Jake : I blame Napster and file sharing.


KaeseEs 07.22.05 at 1:10 am

To #7 – Two words – Bob Rock.

I’m confused as to how they missed ‘Damage, Inc.’ and ‘Battery’ in re “Violence”.


dave heasman 07.22.05 at 3:06 am

I speak from total ignorance of Metallica—but is “Mama Said” the same song as the “Mama Said” I know, by the Shirelles?


Steve Burton 07.22.05 at 7:00 am

It seems pretty evident from the mere fact that such a volume is being contemplated—as part of the Popular Culture and *Philosophy* Series—that philosophy today isn’t the philosophy of the early ‘80s.


Ron McG 07.22.05 at 9:34 am

After watching their sad need for the use of therapy in order to force themselves to write music in the “Some Kind of Monster” documentary, I prefer “Metallica: The Pussification of a Once Relevant Band”.


bi 07.22.05 at 10:19 am

Well, it seems pretty evident from Steve Burton’s parroting of the first 20 or so words from someone else’s post, that creativity today isn’t the creativity of the early ’80s. Not that I know what early ’80s creativity was like, but now I have a nice trope to throw around.

_Unfortunately the deadline for abstracts was July 1st_ …

Oh, no problem. Deadlines are nothing more than social conventions. And our goal in life is to transgress all social conventions, isn’t it? Viva la Revolution! Towards a new liberatory format for philosophy journals!


Tim 07.22.05 at 10:49 am

I can’t believe they didn’t suggest essays about “One”.

That is a glaring omission. It would make for good material for a bioethicist.


a dudette at work 07.22.05 at 12:24 pm

“One” would definitely be a theme for a bioethicist and i feel that i am the one to write it.!


Steve Burton 07.22.05 at 12:52 pm

bi – could it be possible? You have not yet heard anything of this, that *creativity is dead?*

It’s all about cutting and pasting now. Get with the hip-hop program.


Jake 07.22.05 at 2:13 pm

To #11–
you may be onto something. If I was king, Metallica would have broken up after their fourth album, released Garage Days Revisited post-mortem, and be fondly remembered as possibly the greatest metal band of all time.


bi 07.22.05 at 2:15 pm

Steve Burton: What? _What?_ But I just spotted Creativity alive and well just a moment ago! He’s not in America, but rather in the Land of the Rising Sun a.k.a. Japan. Why do people want to proclaim him dead? Maybe they think America = The Entire Universe, so if he’s not alive in America, then he must be dead. Or perhaps declaring him dead will allow them to get some insurance money.


Tim 07.22.05 at 3:14 pm

If I was king, Metallica would have broken up after their fourth album….

“Where’s your crown, King Nothing?” (King Nothing, off the Load album)

Sorry, Jake, couldn’t resist.


Jake 07.22.05 at 3:30 pm

You got me.


Daniel 07.24.05 at 5:33 pm

It is settled fact that Bob Rock is the problem. The ‘Tall had heard the Cult’s “Electric” album and wanted the guy who produced it (Rick Rubin). Due to various label fuckups, they got “the Cult’s producer”, which is not a rigid designator and at that moment named Bob Rock who had produced the overblown piece of shite (actually I quite liked it) “Sonic Temple”. There is some philosophy in this after all.


Dave 07.25.05 at 10:11 pm

Metallica’s past decade of suckiness is simply God’s way of telling us to listen to Slayer instead.

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