On how recent philosophical work on popular culture differs from 'cultural studies':
Unlike the cultural-studies explorations of popular culture, these new philosophy titles have little interest in decoding the semiotics of the pop narratives. They do not play in the arena of associations and connotations to suggest possible readings of sitcoms or tunes, some "preferential" and some "engaging the margins." In general, these pop-culture philosophers don't "negotiate boundaries" or "problematize discourses." They do something much more refreshing and radical: They give arguments. They use TV, music, and movies to begin a discussion, but very quickly they start to generate premises, draw conclusions, check inductions against evidence, venture deductions, consider counter-instances, and so on.
And on the limitations of pop culture in promoting philosophical understanding:
In the end, I suspect that, despite these excellent new efforts, philosophy will remain intractable and estranged from popular culture. It will remain so not because it is biased or willfully elite, but because it is in an extremely self-reflexive relationship with its own history, and it requires highly disciplined, systematic, abstract conceptualization, a skill that does not come easily to most people.
One can barely make a move within the oldest academic discipline without understanding its past. People who don't know its vast literature feel excluded from the import of any particular philosopher or problem. That kind of exclusion can be remedied by doing the requisite study — by catching up, so to speak, on a body of knowledge.