New (free!) event! ULYSSES FOR THE REST OF US – read James Joyce’s Ulysses with Conner from June to September for free. Hosted by MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland!

3 Jun

Friends,
I’m so excited to share with you the new free event series featuring me guiding you through James Joyce’s Ulysses, hosted by MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland here in Dublin.

SIGN UP HERE 

Here’s the description:

Always wanted to read Ulysses but were too afraid to start? Ulysses may be one of the most famous and influential novels ever published, but how many have actually read it? Ulysses – for the Rest of Us! is a new free public book club at MoLI that will demystify this extraordinary 100 year-old novel, and offer fresh and easy routes into James Joyce’s vast, elaborate and often hilarious masterpiece for every reader. This summer, join your guide –author, activist and podcast host Conner Habib – as he unlocks Ulysses, episode by episode, from Stephen Dedalus’s breakfast in Sandycove through to Molly Bloom’s famous closing monologue.

This is the year that you finish Ulysses!
Starting with an online interview with Conner at 1PM (Dublin time) this Bloomsday, 16 June, Ulysses for the Rest of Us will continue fortnightly on Thursday evenings over Zoom until September. In addition to Conner Habib’s fun and accessible introductions to each episode, book club members will be able to discuss the book whilst having access to a wealth of additional resources and recommended reading lists. Sign up for free now!”

Obviously, it’s a dream to be hosting a Ulysses event in Ireland. But more than that, this is the event for Ulysses in Ireland this year. It’s being promoted by the Irish tourism board, featuring great Irish guests, and on offer to the entire nation.

You can watch the little preview video here, and sign up! It’s free for everyone!
XO
CH

The history, benefits, and dangers of the paranormal, with Terje G. Simonsen

1 Jun

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

Your support for Against Everyone With Conner Habib, as well as all my writing, lectures, activism, and the rest, are what keep me going. If you support my work via patreon, thank you! And if you don’t, please contribute on Patreon today! Thank you so, so much.

Buy Terje’s excellent book and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 152 on bookshop.org. The site sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

I’m so excited to share this episode with Terje G. Simonsen, paranormal/occult scholar and author of the multiple award-winning book A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal: Our Secret Powers Telepathy, Clairvoyance & Precognition.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • “All models are wrong, but some are useful” – George P. Box
  • What is the akashic field and what are our limits in describing it?
  • What does it take to be able to walk through walls?
  • Materiality as an agreement
  • The uses (and misuses) of clairvoyance
  • The military’s limits on understanding psi
  • Revelation after revelation after revelation
  • Using parapsychology to create a better world
  • Anthroposophy in Norway
  • Christian esotericism at odds with magic?
  • That time I did remote viewing
  • The paranormal as a proximity to death

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Terje, here’s his excellent appearance on Skeptiko (PS remember when Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris was on my show? Waaaay back on AEWCH). Here’s Terje summing the book up well in a short video. And here’s an interview with Terje where he discusses David Bohm and the nature of reality.

• My friend who had brain damage is Mira Bartok, author of the bestselling memoir The Memory Palace in which she details the damage a bit.

• If you’d like to learn more about G.I. Gurdjieff, this is a good place to start. And here’s a site on Padre Pio.

• I talk a lot about Daskalos on AEWCH 67 with one of his students, Daniel Joseph. And AEWCH 116 with occultist acupuncturist/veterinarian Are Thoresen remains one of the best episodes of the show.

• I didn’t know much about the healer Matthew Manning before, but I’ll be definitely be investigating!

• Want to learn more about the Servants of the Light and one of their central teachers, Dolores Ashcoft-Nowicki?

• The psychologist who posited the “trance of the everyday” was Erik Erikson.

• Here’s a little on Ulla von Bernus, but you’ll have to translate the page if you don’t speak German. And here’s an article on Milarepa, who, like von Bernus, had a change of heart about practicing black magic.

• The image below is taken from (AEWCH 128 guest) Dan Gretton’s excellent book, I You We Them, Volume 1: Walking Into the World of the Desk Killer, in the show notes of that episode, I refer to these points as “a list of factors is an inverse of spiritual development, a sort of path of black magic.”

• Norwegian psychic and healer, Marcello Haugen has a site (which you’ll have to translate if you don’t read Norwegian) and I’m now looking into his work. I love Terje’s lovely story about him and the hare.

• “Fairy bush survives the motorway planners.” I love Ireland.

• Here’s a brief correspondence between Rudolf Steiner and the anarchist writer John Henry Mackay.

Until next time, friends,
C

The most important question:What if all the bad stuff is going away? A new episode of AEWCH featuring Una Mullally AND utopian exercises for you to try.

19 May

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS:
Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on PatreonThank you so, so much.
Buy all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 151 on Bookshop.org. The site sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends –

This episode is a special episode of the Against Everyone with Conner Habib featuring writer, organizer, and artist Una Mullally for many reasons – but it’s special for you the listener because for the first time with the show, I’m extending the episode into some exercises for patrons of the show.

What do I mean? – On this episode Una and I grapple with a question that might seem counterintuitive but nevertheless is at the heart of what’s necessary for us now:

What if all the bad things are going away?

Put differently: Who are we if we are not engaging with the world in terms of struggle and the sense that we will inevitably fail and only confront another monster – but rather with the absolute assuredness that struggle is not what’s happening – Rather, that we are playing a part in the unavoidable and now unfolding process of the bad things going away? How do we play a part in all the bad things going away and the emergence of a utopian process?

So how does this play out for you the listener and how can you get involved in all this?

The episode is up today, obviously, and then by May 24, we’ll be posting a short recording of us offering two exercises that you can do right away to get involved in the utopian process.

Those exercises will go up on my patreon, which you can sign up for here. And also Una’s patreon: patreon.com/UnitedIreland

The recording and the exercises are only available to patreon patrons.

After you’re done engaging in the exercises, you can send me or Una what you experienced by posting in the patreon posts or by using the emails we provide in that post.

In a week or so after that, Una will have a second discussion about your responses via the answers we receive. We’ll be thinking with what you’ve been through, what you’ve experienced, and what you’ve offered. We’ll also be talking about what we experienced when we did the exercises ourselves. That conversation will also only be available to patrons.

If you’re listening to this episode after May 2021, not to worry, the exercises and our discussions will still be up on our respective patreons, and available only to patrons.

Why are Una and I doing this?

We know there’s the potential for a question like “what if all the bad stuff is going away?” to sound preposterous. But nevertheless it’s where we find ourselves. In a world where dystopia overwhelms the narrative, there is but one true countervailing force – utopia. But the thing is, we don’t just want to countervail dystopia, we want to overcome it entirely. That’s why instead of talking about utopia as a state, Una and I talk at length about a utopian process. A new motion of thinking, willing, and feeling that brings about transformative directions in the cultural, political, and economic spheres.

We have both experienced the appearance of this, and I think many of you might be experiencing it too.

So, to recap:

1. Listen to AEWCH 151 (not mandatory, but it might help!)

2. If you haven’t already, sign up for my patreon or Una’s.

3. Look on our patreons for the short recording of us discussing the exercises, posted only for our patreon patrons, by 24th. Follow the instructions given there.

4. Check back shortly after for our conversation and engagement with your responses!

Economics is changing. Culture is changing. Politics is changing. But also, time and space are changing. Consciousness is changing. Let’s get into the current.

Here we go.

CH

ON THIS EPISODE

  • What we were thinking about before, after, and during the pandemic
  • St Patrick and the fairies as a portent of things to come
  • The world as a fractal expression of the inner life
  • Paralysis in the global crisis
  • The role of volcanoes in our lives
  • Black Lives Matter in a tiny town in Ireland
  • The successive lockdowns and their themes
  • Conner’s foxes, Una’s herons
  • Losing who you were, understanding who you are

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Una, listen to the first time she was on the show, back on AEWCH 87. Go to her website, or her column in The Irish Times. And here’s the episode of United Ireland about imagining utopia in Dublin.

• I talked about my first memory – a dream – at a bit more length on AEWCH 90 with Amanda Palmer. And here’s AEWCH 107 with Srećko Horvat where we talk about Mount Tamboura, the volcano which erupted in 1816.

• Want to watch the conversation I had with Heather Berg, Kathi Weeks, Cassandra Troyan, and femi babylon about sex work? Here you go!

• The book Una talks about with the scream being enough is Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today by John Holloway. “We start from negation, from dissonance. The dissonance can take many shapes. An inarticulate mumble of discontent, tears of frustration, a scream of rage, a confident roar. An unease, a confusion, a longing, a critical vibration.” You can buy that book via the bookshop.org link above or get it free/online here

• It’s not available in the US, but you can order (and have shipped to the US if that’s where you are) Irish Customs and Rituals: How Our Ancestors Celebrated Life and the Seasons by Marion McGarry here.

• Here’s the dancing handsome guy who totally inspired me. He’s free. I love it.

• Please do sign up for this patreon or Una’s patreon (or both!) to resonate more.

XO
CH

Oh, and here’s the picture Una took of the hawthorn tree and the deer.

EVENT: Join me + AEWCH guests Heather Berg & Kathi Weeks for a live discussion on sex work as anti-work!

7 May

Hi friends,

I’ll be on a panel discussing sex work as anti-work politics as part of Seattle’s Red May festival. I’ll be in discussion with AEWCH guests Kathi Weeks and Heather Berg, as well as femi babylon and Cassandra Troyan!

The info is here, and it’s free to sign up!

Also, check out other Red May events with AEWCH guests like Dean Spade, Franco Bifo Berardi, Michael Hardt, and more!

XO
CH

Talk with the dead. AEWCH 150.

4 May

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.

Buy all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH150 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends, No show notes here. This is the 150th episode. I’m so happy to share it with you.

Enjoy it.
Talk to the dead.
Love, CH

Oh no I’ve said too much/ I haven’t said enough

28 Apr

Friends, what can I say? A few days ago, Against Everyone With Conner Habib got a shout out in the Guardian from one of its listeners: Michael Stipe from R.E.M.

I’m floored by this.

I am really moved and almost overwhelmed by this. This person has had such a huge impact on my life, and has provided such a profound directional force of imagination for me.

More and more, I realize that listeners and supporters of the show represent a very special group of people. You’re listening because you really care about the substance of the show. Not because it’s poppy or familiar or always easy to digest, but because you love meaningful engagement.

Just wanted to share. And to say to you who support the show, thank you for helping make the show possible.

Love.

CH

Desires, dark and light. Carmen Maria Machado on AEWCH 149!

21 Apr

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.
Buy Carmen’s books and the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 149 on Bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

The French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan once said, “there is no other good than the one that can pay the price of the access to desire.”

There’s a lot about this statement, which is, like a lot of what Lacan said, a riddle – but one thing in it – paying the price of access – so our desires are not accessible? So we must lose something, give something to meet them? To see them? To talk about them?

To discuss all of this, I spoke with Carmen Maria Machado, author of the memoir In The Dream House, the collection of strange tales Her Body And Other Parties, and the graphic novel The Low, Low Woods.

I think what’s really interesting to both of us, and this comes up quite a bit – is how desire functions, how it is somehow always ahead of us, appearing and disappearing like a friend or an enemy on the path in a fairy tale. Sometimes it gives something to us that is useful later on. A key, a sacred object, a weapon. Sometimes it gives us a gift that leads us to being stuck. Like the fairy market where someone accepts the gift of an apple from the goblin, eats it, and wakes up 100 years later, if they wake up at all. Sometimes it has a strange shape, it frightens us.

Why should desires be like this? How do they know us, in a way, before we know ourselves?

This is a conversation that finds proximity to creation, to danger, to repetition, to the abuse that Carmen writes about in her memoir In The Dream House,and to the abuse I wrote about in my essay ,”If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love“.

How do we talk about the desire and the horror in abusive relationships while still holding the abuser accountable. How do we make the necessary move of accountability while not reducing the complicatedness of the encounter and the relationship?

Again and again, Carmen and I touch on desires and on storytelling – almost like we’re knocking on wood to allow ourselves to go forward in difficult conversation.

What do we sacrifice to know our desires?
What are the prices of following our desires
Of not giving way to them?
Of not giving ground to them?

If all that sounds dark and complex, well, it is. but this is also such a warm and friendly episode. With lots of laughter and curiosity and affinity. 

I’m so happy to share this episode with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way desire  knows itself before you know what it is
  • Why is the fox from Robin Hood so hot
  • Evading the temptation of metaphor when we read
  • The response to the subconscious is determines the genre of writing
  • Horror as spiritual narrative
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s mission of mercy
  • Sexuality as a genre
  • The imagination of the abusive partner after you’ve left them
  • The missing language of understanding for the person who has been abused
  • Why we need to talk about resilience 
  • The importance of meta-devices and melodrama
  • The Law & Order SVU-niverse

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Carmen go to her website (which has a badass picture of her in a chair). Here’s an interview with Carmen that goes horrifically wrong on Electric Lit. Here’s Carmen talking about haunted houses and horror movies on the American Hysteria podcast. And if you’d like to read one of her stories, here’s the early version one we reference the most, “The Husband Stitch“.

• My essay from 2010 “Looking at Men” describes the clouded shower glass incident.

• McArthur Award-winning writer Kelly Link comes up a lot on this episode. Have you listened to AEWCH 44 with Kelly, Jordy Rosenberg, and me? It’s awesome. Also, here’s Kelly’s essay about the “silent partner.

• Here’s an interview with the great Argentine writer, César Aira.

• It looks like Grant Morrison’s Seaguy is not available on bookshop.org, so here it is from that, uh, other place. 

• If you haven’t read Susan Sontag’s essay, “Against Interpretation,” read it, friends. And if you have read it, read it again. Same goes for H.P. Lovecraft’s essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature“.

• And the Lovecraft quote is, ““The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

• Here’s my essay “If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love” about the boyfriend who beat me up, which is mentioned at the end of Carmen’s memoir (and through which Carmen and I first communicated).

• I love author Sara Maria Griffin’s appearance on AEWCH 93. It remains one of my very favorite episodes.

• I have not yet read Jeannie Vanasco’s Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was A Girl but I definitely will now. I also (forgive me, Father!) have not yet seen Fleabag. I will, I will, I will!

• Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movie The Bitter Tears of Petra Van Kantis one of the best films ever made. And also watch Lars Von Trier’s Dogville for another sort of disorientation.

Until next time friends, follow your desires!
XO
CH

The metamorphosis of reality. I talk with anthropologist Stuart McLean on AEWCH 148!

13 Apr

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

HI! Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.

The book we talk about most on this episode, Fictionalizing Anthropology, is currently out of stock at my favorite indie book distributor, Bookshop.org, but you can get it relatively quickly from Amazon by clicking here. Buy Stuart’s other amazing books and the books mentioned on and related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 148 via bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

The other day, world-renowned physicist Michio Kaku tweeted “For 2,000 years, philosophers and scientists have searched for a paradigm, a theme, an equation to describe the entire universe. This week, The God Equation goes on sale, describing the greatest quest in the history of science. Have we finally found the theory of everything?”

I think even posing this sort of question reveals – if I’m going to be nice about it – a profound misguidedness.

Everything?

When we talk about reality, we are, of course talking about the world of objects, of planets, of material and motion. Maybe of time, of the microscopic and macroscopic. But we know that isn’t everything. What about the theory of everything that includes myth, stories, fiction, thoughts, feelings, the imagined world, the spiritual intensities of our lives, narratives, characters these – are all part of the picture of realityI suppose you could say, even though Michio didn’t put a space between “every” and “thing” that he Is truly just referring to “things” – the measurable and quantifiable. But that also takes a lot for granted, including the myths of quantity and measure.

Will such a theory tell us about hungry grass – cursed spots in Ireland where to trod on them means to be struck with eternal and deep hunger? Will it tell us about spirits? About the huldulfolk and elves who wander out of snowstorms and into vision in Iceland? Will it tell us about centaurs and how they would be imagined in the first place?

Even if you hold that these are just stories, will it tell us about stories? And will it tell you about why you consider some things to be “stories” and other things as “real?” What gets included in “everything” what gets excluded?

I talk about all this and more with anthropologist and writer Stuart McLean, author, of Fictionalizing Anthropology: Encounters and Fabulations at the Edges of the Human as well as The Event and Its Terrors: Ireland, Famine, and Modernity . We talk about the need to ask fundamental questions about creativity – the creativity of the world itself, of the cosmos – and how symbiosis and metamorphosis become key principles in that. We discuss how, when we start asking questions of what’s real and what’s not real, and how we’d know the difference between the two, anyway, strange things start to happen. And we talk about anthropology’s role and opportunity in all of that.I am still reeling from this conversation – we jump right in and don’t let up for the whole episode.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The importance of combination and metamorphosis
  • The role of aberrant movement and emergence in creation
  • Can anything be “new?”
  • How we create the world by continuously adding to it
  • Magic as seizing the formative force of the cosmos
  • The two way street of cultural conflict and why seeing how the colonizer changes through their own oppression is vital
  • Do words evoke presences or are they powerful on their own
  • How narratives of national trauma assist the nation state
  • How do we walk away from scientistic ways completely
  • How to think about extinction if we don’t accept that death is the end
  • The time I saw a skeleton walking down the street

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Stuart, here’s his website. Here’s his essay, “Stories and Cosmogonies: Imagining Creativity Beyond “Nature” and “Culture” which we discuss on the show. Here’s his University of Minnesota faculty page. Here’s his short essay on the “bog people” discovered in Ireland and Scotland.

• For a view of combination and metamorphosis from a biological perspective, check out the amazing book Chimeras and Consciousness: Evolution of the Sensory Self co-edited by my mentor Lynn Margulis, whose last recorded conversation appears on AEWCH 91.

• For more on the Donald Williamson discovery/scandal, read the amazing book, The Mystery of Metamorphosis: A Scientific Detective Story by Frank Ryan.

• Here are some of Anarqáq’s drawings for Knud Rasmussen:

• I talk with Thomas Waters about witchcraft and ethics and academia on AEWCH 98.

Cold Iron: Aspects of the Occupational Lore of Irish Fishermen by Bairbre Ní Fhloinn is such an incredible book. It’s a little hard to get in the states from book distributors, so I’ve included here a link to the publisher’s page.

• Stories of “hungry grass” have been collected by Irish Folklore Commission, here’s one of them.• Here’s an article on the road that was rerouted to accommodate a fairy bush in Ireland.

• I talk about the de-spiritualized nature of the un-mystery school of academia with • Here’s more on the performance artist Stuart mentions on the episode and in his writing, Kwok Mang Ho, or “The Frog King.”

• I think the song “Someone Has To Die” by the Maritime, with its jangling Friends-theme-song vibe captures the stuff Stuart was saying about extinction creating possibility quite well.

• I talk about how genuine in-community love can be a tool of hating the other on the first episode of the year, AEWCH 136.

• Stuart’s great question: “How to align an experimental understanding of knowledge production and an experimental writing practice with a no less experimental ontology of world making? What kind of anthropology would that be? What kind of world would that be?

Until next time, friends, create!
CH

Talking about my old job with Dr. Heather Berg (author of Porn Work: Sex, Work, and Late Capitalism) on AEWCH 147!

6 Apr

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.

Buy Heather’s amazing book and the books mentioned on and related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 147 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback

Friends,

Obviously pornography has been a profound and important part of my life, as a viewer, a performer, and an activist for sex workers’ rights, particularly the rights and quality of life of porn performers.

Seeing it from that many angles, and considering each carefully, I derived so much value from pornography – but I notice, of course, that many (most?) people can’t access that value. One of the main obfuscating forces is that porn always turns into an “issue” to take sides on, and generally what side is taken depends exclusively on how someone is thinking about the content of what’s on the screen and their feelings about it.

Rarely is porn viewed as commonwealth of value and interest in its own right. This especially affects the lives of performers who are considered a special class of workers not subject to the rights that others have who are stigmatized in culture and relationships, whose perspectives as laborers are devalued, whose voices are silenced, and whose autonomy and sovereignty are met with state violence, state regulation, and ideological oppression.

When I was scheduled to meet this episode’s guest, Dr. Heather Berg, for the first time, way back in 2014, I was cynical, I suppose. (But maybe cynical is too harsh a word – maybe justifiably skeptical is better.) She’d set up an interview with me for her academic research. At the time, I’d been poked and prodded by academics, journalists, and others many times in invasive ways. It’s something that happens to all sex workers who have any sort of visible and public voice – the academics come to study you. And often it’s with a substantial amount of arrogance, they forget that sex workers’ lives validate the existence of academic research, not that academic research validates sex workers lives.

But Heather was different – it’s not just that she wasn’t annoying, it’s that she was interesting, provocative in the best sense of the word, she was warm, and she also listened. My friends in porn and I talked to each other about her – “hey, she’s kind of getting it right, she’s listening to us.” It was a completely different feeling.That interview eventually became part of her new book, Porn Work: Sex, Labor, and Late Capitalism – which is the best book on porn ever written by someone who isn’t a porn performer. And I’m not just stating that because I’m quoted in it!

Heather took us at our word and used it to map out what we can learn about fighting capitalism, abolishing work, and ending the brutal wage labor relationship from porn performers and how they navigate all of that.

This episode was special for me it felt like a homecoming, finding each other after 2014; Heather and I following up on the interview. That said, as a result of that interview we became close friends after, and collaborators: We co-authored the article “The Problem With Sex Work Is Work” and you may remember Heather from her appearance (with performer Sovereign Syre) on AEWCH 69.We continue to collaborate: Heather and I are doing an event with Kathi Weeks, among others, as part of Red May, a celebration of radical art and thought. I’ll post the actual details when they’re available, but keep an eye out for it!

But also reading her book was a reminder of the work I lived in then, the performers, the work, the comrades I’d made, as well as what was at stake and remains at stake for sex workers, and for all of us when sex workers are subjected to state violence and drowned out by ideologues

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why is porn work so often left out of sex work politics and activism?
  • The tangle of libertarianism, anarchism, and socialism in sex worker politics
  • The Marxist problem with pleasure
  • You don’t have to be miserable to be an activist
  • Managers can shutup, thx
  • Why disassociation is a skill, and even one that supports Marxism
  • Is porn racist?
  • Can Marxism give us the answers to cultural questions about sex?
  • How I shot a scene by talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • That part where I make Heather cry
  • The value of the Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis in looking at labor
  • Is there such a thing as a “privileged” sex worker?
  • Why decriminalization of sex work is not enough
  • Why we need to let go of the “last resort thesis” of sex work

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Heather, here’s her website. And here’s she and I talking on Snoop Dog’s network (yes, really!) about sex, work, and politics.

• For my other episodes on porn, here’s AEWCH 124 with performer Ty Mitchell, AEWCH 88 with performer (and my one-time scene partner) Johnny Hazzard, the aforementioned AEWCH 69 with Heather and Sovereign Syre, and AEWCH 38 with performer Missy Martinez.

• Heather mentions the work of Mireille Miller-Young and Ariane Cruz as feminists doing good work on representation in porn that elides the fantasy of the white viewer. (I’ve linked to their books in the booklist!)

Herschel Savage is a classic straight porn performer, and he’s also kind of a great guy and features heavily in Heather’s book.

• I wrote about Chris Hedges and all the phony anti-sex worker leftists and feminists in my essay, “If You’re Against Sex Work, You’re A Bigot

• Here’s that time I was on Chapo Trap House talking about sex work.

Jon Ronson‘s audible series, The Butterfly Effect, is a great effort to depict porn and porn performer’s lives.

• Here’s Bob Black’s excellent essay, “The Abolition of Work” which was a formative influence on younger me. I mention this in my anti-work solo episode, AEWCH 85.

• I talked about some of the challenges facing porn earlier in the year on Doug Rushkoff’s podcast, Team Human.

• You’ll need JSTOR access for these, but here’s Joel Robbins’s essay “Beyond the Suffering Subject” and Heather’s essay, “Left of #MeToo.”

Hacking/Hustling does great stuff and holds great events for all issues surrounding but also new visions of sex workers’ lives and struggles.

Until next time, friends, here’s me as a huge stereotype.
XO
CH

Make your dream so big that you stop identifying with your struggle. I talk with rapper Vic Mensa on AEWCH 146.

30 Mar

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Buy the books mentioned on and related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 146 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback.

Friends,

Why do we get stuck in revolution?
Around the revolutions in France of 1968 – university students were staging occupations, resisting capitalism, resisting consumerism, resisting shitty art. And their resistance led to general strikes that began to threaten people and institions in power. I don’t have the space to go into detail about those revolutions here, but I want to hone in on one comment on them.

When the university students approached psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan to see what he thought, his answer frustrated them. He said, “as revolutionaries, you aspire to new masters.”

What did he mean? Lacan was addressing the way that we become so stuck in the struggle that we identify with it.

It’s a huge challenge to the thought that if we just change social conditions change, everything will be great. That just isn’t so; because we end up cleaving to our struggles and identifying with them, simply changing the social and material conditions doesn’t work.

So what’s the way out? There are a lot of components, but music, poetry, magic, art, sex, conversation, gardening, forgiveness, knowing our neighbors, etc etc. – those are a start. They allow us to create new rhythms in our lives.

I decided to talk about all of this with rapper and activist Vic Mensa – I’m sure a lot of you know Vic already, from his own music as well as his collaborations with Kanye and Chance the Rapper among many others. He’s also the co-founder of the mutual aid organization Save Money, Save Life and their Street Medics program.

We talk about how to disidentify with the enemy and our struggle against that enemy, about meditation, talking with the dead, about music as a restorative space, about the power sexuality in hip hop, and more.

Here’s a spotify playlist of my favorite songs by Vic Mensa (and his two bands) to get you started or to get you in deeper.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Mutual aid, since no one is coming to save us
  • The fear and failure of revolution 
  • Why someone can be so advanced in one political arena but so stunted in another
  • The importance of identifying with a dream instead of fighting an enemy
  • Dying before you die
  • The time Vic snuck into Stonehenge
  • How music generates emotion
  • Vic’s trip to Palestine
  • The gift of 2020
  • Calling on the dead to make art
  • Writing, fear, and style
  • The writers that compel us to write
  • Irish traditional music and rap and punk and Rage Against The Machine
  • Homophobia in hip hop and punk and the standards we hold
  • The power and threat of sexuality in rap music
  • Dr. Sebi, alternative therapies, and their dangers

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Vic, here he is talking about mental health and wellness with Rachel Hislop. Here he is having a good, extended conversation with Reza Aslan. Here’s the video for his song “FR33DOM” and here’s a performance of the same song, but at the tail end of a performance of “Shelter” with Wyclef Jean and Peter CottonTale.

• Here’s my friend Caitlin Doughty talking about the Covid deaths at her funeral home and the moment she realized no one was coming to help.

• After talking with Vic, I thought for one second, who needs Lacan when you’ve got The Last Poets? Here’s their song, “N_ggers Are Scared Of Revolution” 

• Want to check out the occultist acupuncturist veterinarian episode? It’s AEWCH 116 with Are Thoressen.

• Here’s my little essay about my encounter with Aleister Crowley’s chair.

• Abby Martin was my first ever AEWCH guest (back when the show was a web series!), and she’s still out there every day, doing amazing work. Here’s her documentary on Gaza, Gaza Fights For Freedom.

• Learn more about Julius Jones, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in Oklahoma when he was 19 years old. He’s still there, and in solitary confinement for most the day, victimized by a racist “criminal justice” system.

• Listened to Body Count’s “Cop Killer” a bunch of times during the 2020 protests.

• Here’s the video for “3 Years Sober” which, um, made a lot of people mad.

• I talked about the “desk killers” with Dan Gretton on AEWCH 128.

• Vic was hanging out with Michael K. Williams who is just… the best. Off of that, I mentioned Alex Vitale, who  I talked with about ending policing waaaay back on AEWCH 29. 

• Here’s the most balanced overview on Dr. Sebi I could find.

Until next time, friends,
XO