Friday, April 8, 2011

Gilligan Unbound

I've accepted the Blogging A to Z Challenge. All month, I'm going to blog about Books from A to Z.

Sometimes everything comes together. Interests converge. Your life becomes encapsulated in one amazing volume.
Gilligan Unbound: Pop Culture in the Age of Globalization
Such it was for me and Gilligan Unbound.

One of my very favorite things to read is non-fiction about movies and TV. My favorites are books analyzing or describing the making-of Star Trek. Three of the very first books I ever purchased, way back in the mid seventies, were The Making of Star Trek, The World of Star Trek and The Trouble With Tribbles. I loved - and still treasure - these volumes. I never really cared for novels based on this or other shows. But I loved reading ABOUT the show - and still do. My shelves are filled with such wonderful works as  Planet of the Apes as American Myth, License to Thrill, and Planet Simpson.

And, so, here is Gilligan Unbound, a volume that brings together Star Trek, Gilligan's Island, The Simpsons and The X-Files. Author Paul Cantor discusses how these particular shows impacted globalization. Oh yeah.

In broad terms --

Gilligan serves as the image of 1960's America - a democratic utopia.

Star Trek shows America spreading out into the world, forcing democracy upon others.

The Simpsons demonstrates America's gradual disillusion with politics.

 The X-Files reflects the increasing cynicism toward government.

It's a brilliant book. It's scholarly and fun and almost makes me feel like I haven't wasted my life by watching TV.

p.s. About the same time I read Gilligan Unbound, I also read the post-modern meta-narrative Gilligan's Wake, a sort of Joycean rethinking of the Gilligan saga. And I also read Gilligan, Maynard and Me. And the Gilligan's Island Handbook. And Here on Gilligan's Island. And...

1 comment:

Tom said...

I like the sound of the book, I may have to check it out. I've never read a non-fiction book analyzing movies and TV but I've just bought some books, including True blood and Philosophy, hoping it will be in a similar vein to Gillian unbound.