Witches, Fairies, Violence, Ireland: Fiction Writer Kevin Barry on AEWCH 86!

8 Oct

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Friends,

What an honor to talk to one of the greatest living fiction writers, Kevin Barry. And to talk with him not about “how do you get your ideas?” or “what’s your writing practice like”? But instead about witches, healers, fairies, violence,  the radical history of Ireland, and more.

Kevin’s latest novel, The Night Boat To Tangier , was longlisted for the Booker Prize. His novel before that, Beatlbone follows John Lennon on a mystical vision quest to find an island off the Irish coast. It’s a novel so strange and moving that you wouldn’t have to even like The Beatles to be caught up in its weird web.

Also, Kevin reads his absolutely brutal story, “A Cruelty” in his excellent, sinister Christian Bale-esque reading voice.

Apologies – the episode gets cut off just as we start discussing Twin Peaks. But we only spoke for about five more minutes after that. And besides, I’ll have Kevin back on. This is a great conversation and I absolutely want to continue it.

We talk:

  • Kevin’s superstitions
  • Animism and fiction
  • Irish writers and writers of the American South
  • how accents change fiction
  • How we add to the landscape as we walk through it
  • Kevin’s encounters with
  • Writing and dreams
  • The fairies and The Pixies
  • When Kevin was healed by witchcraft before playing video games
  • The non-linearity of time
  • Primal scream therapy in Ireland
  • Evil’s home in art

SHOW NOTES

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Rel@tionships: Writer and digital lit theorist Joanna Walsh on AEWCH 84

24 Sep
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AEWCH84TitleCardFriends,
We have so many inherited metaphors about love, relating, and intimacy, that even the thought of new narratives about them makes us uncomfortable. Well, good. Let’s be uncomfortable. To that end, I spoke with writer and literary & digital theorist Joanna Walsh, whose work explores the contours (and corners and failed uploads)( of love and intimacy, and relationships.
When I read Joanna’s book of stories Vertigo, a few years back, I knew I wanted to talk with her. Joanna’s fiction has an intense and even at times relentless quality of repetition, of observation. It’s the sort of fiction that gives you the sense that you are not just engaged with the efforts of a great writer, but a great thinker too. The conversation is, as usual, wide-ranging, but we stay close to the idea of how we relate to one another and why our old ideas of relating are not enough to describe our experiences.
Talking with Joanna is a dizzying experience because she is so brilliant, so learned, and able to articulate so many profound truths in clear, concise language. I’m honored to have gotten the chance to spend time with her. Three good places to start: her book of short stories, (which she reads from), her novel, Break.up: A Novel In Essays, and her book of pornographic fairy tales Grow A Pair.
We discuss
  • How intimacy is formed
  • How the I is composed by others
  • Tension in fairy tales
  • Why we have sex to masturbate
  • Theorists with bad ethics
  • Experimental writing as a way of relating
  • “Emotional logic problems”
  • Living in tension
  • The emotions women are “supposed” to feel in their assigned roles
  • The occult bodies and technological intervention
  • What the internet gives, what the internet takes away
  • Watching porn in clips instead of a whole movie
  • Who we are in our normal lives (and how that contains our creative and erotic life)
And in addition to the conversation, Joanna also reads her entrancing story, “Vagues”!

 

Breathing in the end of the world – Franco “Bifo” Berardi on Against Everyone With Conner Habib

17 Sep
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Friends,
I’m so happy to share my conversation with the radical philosopher, Franco “Bifo” Berardi.
I think it is not only a good conversation, but a truly productive one. My deepest hope is that it is helpful for you.
Bifo is one of the most important and creative thinkers of our time; I find many of Bifo’s thoughts in line with the occult philosophies of the Western esoteric traditions I’ve spent so long studying, and for me, that is so enlivening. That is to say, when two people or traditions come up with similar conclusions from totally different angles, we must (as Special Agent Dale Cooper says) pay strict attention.
Bifo is the author of many books, including what I view as his two most important books, Breathing: Chaos and Poetry and Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide (which is a much easier read, and deeply informed my own thinking on the issue, which I discussed on AEWCH 11: SHOOT TO LIVE). He was the founder of Radio Alice, a radical broadcast station in Italy, as well as the anti-authoritarian activist group, Autonomia.
The discussion is wide ranging and, I think, extremely potent. It’s a commingling of occult, anarchist, socialist, and artistic ideas.
We discuss:
  • How rhythms dissolve political oppression
  • Capitalism as a dynamic of change, acceleration, and expansion that cannot understand limit
  • Why information and possibilities are not enough; we need the ability (“potency”) to transform them into reality
  • Why solidarity is dead and we are trapped in competition
  • Why poetry, sex, and magic matter now more than ever
  • The failure of communism, and why we need it anyway
  • Moving away from politics and towards therapy
  • How poetry is our doorway towards a new world
  • Why the “post-truth” world is an opportunity
  • Reincarnation: the only narrative that can remake the future
  • The shattering of the critical mind
  • Why (and how) we must accept all conspiracy theories
  • The spectating unconscious (and how it wishes for Trump)
  • Why everyone’s suffering belongs to everyone
  • What Trump’s victory gives to us
  • How sex work erodes work
  • Why no one should ever be paid for their labor

Lots of great SHOW NOTES here.

Until next time,

XO

DG

Let’s destroy nature together! (repost of AEWCH 22)

27 Aug

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AEWCH82

Hello friends!

Re-upping this past episode of AEWCH because I’m starting to reinvestigate these ideas about how environmentalism is flawed at its foundation: nature. Nature is a concept that we must destroy if we ever want to see and engage with our planet.

To express the point, I pull in my pals Patricia Highsmith, Sigmund Freud, Paracelsus, and more.

This episode is becoming part of a larger project called Occult Philosophy Now!, a book and a set of courses and lectures coming your way in 2020. There’s a new intro to the episode, and I hope we see it with new eyes.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Why “nature” is a poorly defined but totally accepted concept.
  • Why our main environmental narratives – going green/sustainability, neo-primitivism, deep ecology – depend on the flawed concept of nature.
  • “Nature is the word we use for the feeling we have of separation with other aspects of the world.”
  • “The concept of nature is the external exhibition of the death drive.”
  • Who are we if we’re imaging mass death to “save the planet?”
  • Have you ever fought just to feel?
  • Erasing the lines between the living and the dead.
  • The world is consciousness states, not objects.
  • Putting ourselves at the center of the world is the only way to encounter it, much less “save” it.

Lots to investigate more deeply in the SHOW NOTES

Is God powerful? Is He lonely? I talk theology & loneliness with Padraig Ó Tuama on AEWCH 81!

20 Aug

 

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Friends,
We talk so much about the occult on this show – about angels and esoteric philosophies, about magic and materialism – but I don’t get a chance to talk about God often. Which is why I invited writer, theologian, and peace maker Padraig Ó Tuama onto the show.
Padraig is the author of several books, including In the Shelter: Finding Welcome In The Here And Now and Sorry For Your Troubles . He also served as the leader of Ireland’s peace and reconciliation committee, the Corrymeela Community, for seven years, which resulted in the book Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community.
That time, and his huge body of experience dealing with deep divisions and aggressive oppositions, serves as the foundation of much of our talk, which circles around conflicts and how God, power, and powerlessness mediates them.
This is an episode unlike any other, and I’m so happy to share it with you.
We talk:
  • Whether or not we should pray to God or ourselves
  • The good and boring versions of Superman
  • Seeking, wielding, and letting go of power
  • The economy of victimhood
  • How to resolve conflict with fascists (potential and otherwise)
  • Keeping an eye on who’s exploiting every conflict
  • Brexit and the British Border (Padraig’s better name for the “Irish Border)
  • Taking an interest in what people value in every situation, and the erosion of that interest
  • Loneliness and confidence
And Padraig also reads his beautiful poem “Day of the Dead”.
STKR

Does the left care about spirituality? Listen to me and Michael Brooks try to come up with an answer on the latest AEWCH!

13 Aug

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 80: MICHAEL BROOKS or THE SPIRITUAL VALUES OF THE LEFT

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AEWCH80TitleCard

Friends,

The day after Jeffrey Epstein “killed himself,” I sat down to talk* with leftist media figure Michael Brooks in a building in Belfast named after one of Epstein’s co-conspirators. Coincidence?

I’m happy to think this meeting was fated, actually; since I appeared on Michael’s great politics show – The Michael Brooks Show –  to talk about new age politics (as of this post, you have to be a patron to listen to it, but he will be unlocking it soon, I think!), we’ve been wanting to talk more. We’re both interested in the left and spirituality, we both have an interest in Marianne Williamson’s place on the stage, we both support Bernie Sanders with strong reservations, and we’ve both been formed by our time living in Western Massachusetts.  As you can hear, we ended way too abruptly and wanted to go on and on, but Michael was about to take a tour of Belfast, so you’ll have to wait for the next installment of our conversation, which I’m sure is coming sometime soon!

Before you think this is only a bromance show, I should tell you we, of course, go deep into the topics at hand. Including:

  • How spirituality shows us what messes we are
  • The attempt of the left to banish spirituality
  • Why attacking Marianne Williamson ends up being an attack on many working class people
  • The left’s failure  to distinguish between sincerely held beliefs and
  • How new atheism is connected to alt-right-ism.
  • Is universal healthcare a spiritual question?
  • Capitalism as a symptom of materialism
  • Socialism as a creator of mental space
  • economics, rights, and culture (and how each tries to dominate the other)

(* dear sound-oriented people sorry about Michael’s mic being a little blown out, I kept turning his up thinking I was turning mine up. Doh!)

XO
CH

A socialism of the heart: Billy Bragg on Against Everyone With Conner Habib!

6 Aug
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Friends,
What an amazing conversation with music legend, political rock star, and one of my heroes, Billy Bragg.
Billy really needs no introduction, but in case you’ve missed his decades-spanning career in music, I’ve made a long spotify playlist of some of my favorite Billy Bragg songs for you here. Billy’s music has always held a special place in my heart and my activism, and his new book, The Three Dimensions of Freedom which focuses on his thoughtful versions of liberty, equality, and accountability, has only amplified my admiration for him. It’s a great book that you can read in a couple hours, and will enliven your sense of history and motivate you. Go get it.
We talk about
  • why the language of Marxism no longer works, and why we need a language of compassion
  • how to tend to individualism ethically, and how to have agency
  • how the alt-right and atheist bros and Brexit all arise from a sense of meaninglessness
  • how Billy’s model relates to the traditional tripartite motto of Liberty! Equality! Fraternity! and why he replaced “fraternity” with “accountability”
  • how holding some asshole accountable on twitter relates to accountability for political leaders
  • why Morrissey is a dick (not in the episode, but at Billy’s shows, he’s been calling Boris Johnson “Borrissey”)
  • the problem with “freedom of speech”
  • why concerns about no-platforming are ridiculous
  • why Flat Earthers have a point (not really, but sort of!)
  • gay slaps in the face (listen for Billy’s gasp, it’s great)
  • shifting fields of culture and what is acceptable and unacceptable
  • how one of his albums was deeply personal for me and wove into a time of abuse
BBPromo
(Also, isn’t Billy a total Daddy now?)
XO
CH