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Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Betweenby Daniel Klein and Thomas Cathcart
Synopses & Reviews
From the authors of the bestselling Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, an uproarious new book on the meaning of death (and life, too).
The new book by the bestselling authors of Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar is a hilarious take on the philosophy, theology, and psychology of mortality and immortality. That is, Death. The authors pry open the coffin lid on this one, looking at the Big D and also its prequel, Life, and its sequel, the Hereafter. Philosophers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Camus, and Sartre have been wrestling with the meaning of death for as long as they have been wrestling with the meaning of life. Fortunately, humorists have been keeping pace with the major thinkers by creating gags about dying. Death's funny that way — it gets everybody's attention.
Death has gotten a bad rap. It's time to take a closer look at what the Deep Thinkers have to say on the subject, and there are no better guides than Cathcart and Klein.
"Did you know that Heidegger's notion of living in the shadow of death has its most profound articulation in a country and western song by Tim McGraw? Or what Law and Order has in common with theologian Paul Tillich's view of eternity?
Such are the nuggets of wisdom found in this smart and lighthearted consideration of the philosophical dimensions of death. Cathcart and Klein (coauthors of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar) take readers on a whirlwind tour of anthropological, philosophical and theological theories of why and how we avoid accepting our own mortality. The authors demonstrate how humor allows us to express our fears about death 'while defusing anxiety.' Succinct accounts of Kierkegaard's notion of embracing angst, Schopenhauer's notion of undying will and Descartes on mind-body dualism are thus all peppered by comic asides (Leibnitz 'maintained that Mind and Matter don't actually get into each others knickers'). This little book is an entertaining and surprisingly informative survey of the 'Big D' and its centrality in human life. (Oct)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Q. Why are there almost as many jokes about death as there are about sex?
A. Because they both scare the pants off us.
Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein first made a name for themselves with the outrageously funny New York Times bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. Now they turn their attention to the Big D and share the timeless wisdom of the great philosophers, theologians, psychotherapists, and wiseguys. From angels to zombies and everything in between, Cathcart and Klein offer a fearless and irreverent history of how we approach death, why we embrace life, and whether there really is a hereafter. As hilarious as it is enlightening, Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates is a must-read for anyone and everyone who ever expects to die.
About the Author
Tom Cathcart (left) and Daniel Klein pursued the usual careers after majoring in philosophy at Harvard. Cathcart has worked with street gangs in Chicago, doctors at Blue Cross Blue Shield, and has dropped out of various divinity schools. Klein has written jokes for various comedians, including Flip Wilson and Lily Tomlin.
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