Burke and Kant on…Glee!
Burke, an extreme Conservative, believed in the importance of tradition. He felt that we should rely on already established structures and institutions when making decisions, and always look to history. Reason, Burke felt, was something accumulated over time, and such reason trumps that of an individual. Kant, on the other hand, believed that, while we should obey authority, it is always ok to argue. He was a champion of individual reason and would contest Burke’s idea that we must look to historical accumulation. What, you might ask, does this have to do with Glee? Well….
Glee, FOX’s hit show is all about challenging existing social structures in a high school setting. The show tackles important issues such as gay rights, relationships and bullying by establishing the Glee Club as the “losers” who try to break the vicious cycle of high school stereotyping.
The members of the Glee club are essentially trying to start over from scratch and create completely new ideals as to what is “cool” in high school. They think that by winning multiple regional and national Glee club competitions, they can finally stop being considered the bottom on the social totem pole. Burke would most certainly not be a fan of Glee. High school stereotypes, he could argue, have been in existence for a long time and it is not worth trying to change them. While the kids of the Glee club are considered “losers,” it is something they have come to expect and should make their peace with this previously established classification. It is only causing them more harm to try and be progressive by shaking things up. The reasoning as to what is “cool” and “uncool” in high school has already been decided…football players are cool, Glee club members are not. Burke and the Glee clubs biggest enemy, Sue Sylvester, would most certainly be good friends.
Kant, however, would definitely be a candidate for Gleek status. With his motto, “argue but obey”, Kant would say that it is fine for the Glee club members to challenge existing stereotypes, as long as they are doing it in a manner that does not cause serious uproar. Each student at the school is entitled to reason in the way that they think is right, and should question these long standing stereotypical structures. Kant is a lot like the Glee club’s director, Mr. Schuster, who encourages the Glee club members to be proud of their talents and accomplishments.
While both Burke and Kant agree that order and structure are always important, they disagree on the way to go about maintaining it. The kids in the Glee club attempt to establish themselves as “cool” in their own way, just as Burke and Kant look at the reason and tradition in their own ways. Who knows, maybe if Burke and Kant sat down to watch Glee together, Kant could convince Burke to become a Gleek….