I have written in a range of formats and on a range of topics beyond academic philosophy. Here’s a brief sampling of some of this work.
I have a lifelong love of the theatre, and have been writing seriously for the stage for a little over a decade. Two of my plays have been produced professionally. The first, The Fly-Bottle, deals with Wittgenstein’s notorious encounter with Karl Popper, and was nominated for the American Theater Critics Association’s New Play Award in 2003. The second, Tom’s a-cold, deals with Sir John Franklin’s disastrous expedition to the Arctic in the mid-nineteenth century. It won Canada’s Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition in 2009.
In addition, I’ve written a number of other short and full-length plays, adaptations, and translations. I have won a number of other awards for this work, including the New Play Award from the Toronto Fringe Festival for a play called Love Songs From Unlikely Places, and the New Play Award from the Oxford Playhouse for a short play called Pork, which I am expanding into a trilogy of shorts, entitled Three Little Pigs. My translation of Chekhov’s The Seagull has been produced professionally in Toronto.
This hands-on experience in creative work obviously influences my thinking about philosophical aesthetics.
I’ve written a number of pieces on odd topics in a variety of places. For The Point, I have written three articles and a short “point”:
“Children and Animals”: I raise the question of why anthropomorphic animals feature so prominently in children’s stories and what that might tell us about our understanding of our animality.
“All Made Up”: A profile of TJ & Dave, a weekly long-form improv show, which offers far more than just laughs.
“Speaking Nonsense”: A short essay on Wittgenstein and jokes.
A punchy defense of the mullet.
A few years ago, I contributed regularly to the History Page for the now-defunct iPad news app, The Daily. The published articles have now disappeared into the mists of cyberspace, but I’ve preserved penultimate drafts of the following pieces:
“Nothing Secedes Like Excess”: a brief history of Talossa, an independent state founded in a Milwaukee teenager’s bedroom.
“Before Pong Came Along”: on the world’s first video game.
“Gael Storm”: on the abortive Fenian raid that was meant to capture Canada and ransom it back to the British in exchange for Irish independence.
“Chop Shop”: on the “disassembly line” that streamlined pig processing in the nineteenth-century and how it revolutionized the automobile industry.
“When Irish Guns Are Firin'”: The story of the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a group of disaffected Irish-American soldiers who defected to the Mexican side of the Mexican-American War.
“Behind the Mask”: How Marvel Comics gave birth to the Silver Age of superheroes.
“Licensing Pooh”: How Winnie-the-Pooh gave birth to the modern licensing industry.
I also co-authored (with Simona Aimar) a piece on education and philosophy in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election for the Times Higher Education Supplement.
I’ve also written a couple of pieces for university publications. I wrote about our use of animal metaphors for McMaster University’s Incite Magazine, and I wrote about the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver for Oxford University’s The Cherwell.