Not the thing itself, but ideas about the thing.

Mr. Ken writes (about M*A*S*H):

"How many television series have books and scholarly papers written about them? Although I must admit, I’ve read these and they’re a joke. They talk about the brilliant symbolism, our deeper philosophical and empirical meanings, the clever use of the Anti-Christ, affectionate homage’s to classic literature – none of that is true. We were just looking to come up with a joke so we could go to lunch or a story beat for Radar so he’d leave us alone."
But I was raised by my father (an English ABD) that authors, in some sense, do not know what their works are about. (Is that called the intentional fallacy? It's too late to look it up.) Or, to put it another way, it's mostly a joke that gets you to lunch, but it also happens that it's a clever use of Anti-Christ. I wouldn't necessarily privilege one over the other -- except that when you're in the room and you hear the crinkle of the arriving lunch bags, well, there is no deeper meaning to a writer.

I might also add that this is one of the irritating things about pitching -- they want to know what your show is about. I describe it as having to pitch your show and the American Studies paper about the show.

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