Wampole examines both the philosophical implications of this metaphor and its political evolution. From the root as home to the root as genealogical origin to the root as the past itself, rootedness has survived in part through its ability to subsume other compelling metaphors, such as the foundation, the source, and the seed. With a focus on this concept’s history in France and Germany, Wampole traces its influence in diverse areas such as the search for the mystical origins of words, land worship, and nationalist rhetoric, including the disturbing portrayal of the Jews as an unrooted, and thus unrighteous, people. Exploring the works of Martin Heidegger, Simone Weil, Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Celan, and many more, Rootedness is a groundbreaking study of a figure of speech that has had wide-reaching—and at times dire—political and social consequences.
The essays in The Other Serious examine the signature phenomena of our moment: the way our lives contradict themselves, how exaggeration and excess seep into our collective subconscious, why gender is becoming more rather than less complicated, and how we interact with the material things that surround us. It is a book about the delicacy and bluntness of American life, about how pop culture sticks its finger deeply into the ethical dilemmas of our time, and how to negotiate between the old and the new, the high and the low, the global and the local, the sacred and the profane. At the heart of these reflections lies a central question: What should you do when you don't know what to do?
Taken together, these essays comprise a guide for the overhaul of "the administrativersity" of contemporary American life, a bureaucratic prison where the brain needn't work anymore. These pieces investigate the writer's own way of thinking—putting forth new ideas, questioning them, and urging the reader to adopt the same spirit of critical reexamination.