This isn't your traditional reading material that is usually found in Cafe Libri because of the format it's presented in: a song. Despite that fact, this topic has found a special home in our community because of the lyrics.
The tone of this piece is set from the minor introduction by Phillips that actually has nothing to do with his commentary about Academia: "You know there's a rumor that when Isaac Newton was first asked how it was that he was able to see so much further and more clearly than everybody else he answered by saying that he was standing on the shoulder of giants."
Henry Phillips disagrees with this sentiment by elaborating on how the great scientists, philosophers, writers, and artists were really all freaks. Thus, anyone in Academia are actually "standing on the shoulders of freaks." He goes on to describe the sexual preferences of philosophic giants such as Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates (and that is only the beginning). He tackles Ernest Hemingway's thoughts on life and Salvador Dali's food preferences. There is so much happening with this song that I had to listen to it multiple times to really catch all the nuances. Plus, I was laughing, so it was easy to miss some of the details.
I only had two complaints about the presentation.
Henry Phillips is a bit too quiet with his singing. There were parts of the song that were hard to hear because of the clapping and laughter in the video.
I wanted a list of academic resources where I could look up some of the claims (this is my academic side rearing its ugly head,). Of course some facts are common knowledge, but I was surprised by a few of Phillips' revelations. A part of me wondered if he made these details up.
If I really cared about my second complaint, I could always research the information. Then again, that would take away from the fun of the video. Sometimes it's best to take things at face value rather than over-analyzing something to death.
The song is dark, twisted, ironic, and yet true. If you don't want all that you believed of the greatest classical thinkers in history to be torn asunder in a humorous song, you might avoid this piece. Those of us with a sense of humor and a thirst for knowledge, though, will really enjoy this gentle reminder that no matter how great a thinker someone is, they aren't above the quirks and oddities that define the average person.
Read my longer review (For the Snooty Academic "Expert") by clicking here. This is a dark, twisted, and comedic approach to looking at life's greatest classical thinkers presented in song format. If you are looking for a good laugh or need a break from traditional academia, check out Henry Phillips.