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

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreakerAnchor

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 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

64-bit poetry and spells with Stephen Sexton on AEWCH 145!

23 Mar

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.

Stephen’s book about Super Mario World and death, If All The World And Love Were Young is unfortunately not available through bookshop.org yet, but you can get it here. You can get the rest of the books (including Stephen’s first collection, Oils), as well as books related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 145 on bookshop.org.

Friends,

One of my best friends, a poet, once told me that her first word was no. She said that that was a huge part of how she became a poet – that the world wouldn’t stay in place for her without her help. There was something about seeing things differently, about the world opening up for her through a refusal to see it as fixed just by the words that had been handed to her, the explanations, the definitions and lines.

Today’s episode with poet Stephen Sexton, which features his reading of poetry from his book If All the World And Love Were Young about death and Super Mario World – each poem is named after and loosely follows a level in the game – helped me understand just how deeply poetry can go. We also talk about light, and surfaces, and the dead, and the way repetition works. He also reads from his book Oils, and his forthcoming book (out in August!) Cheryl’s Destinies.

We talk about the playing of console games as spells and as a sort of suppressed pornography, about writing an elegy of poems to put grief into a game and turning it into a monument, about the tarot and how to make a time-horse – a bridge between all forms of time – through poetry.

Stephen’s poetry gives you a doorway in, or maybe a green pipe, a portal – to a strange world that is our own world.I know that people who are interested in poetry often sing its praises to the bafflement of those who don’t read it. And I also know that so many people talk about poetry by defending poetry.But it doesn’t need a defense or de-bafflement. It just needs to be heard, read, written, gathered.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Stephen reads his poems, “Gnarly” “Groovy” “The Death of Horses” Donut Ghost House” “My Second Favourite Locked Room Mystery” “Terror”
  • How to look at the world of console games like a natural historian
  • Should we do and Siamese of Super Mario World
  • Playing video games as magic, or video games as stand-in pornography
  • A poem as a curse
  • Indexes as a map of a writers’ unconscious
  • The ghosts in Super Mario World as an approximation of our relationship to the dead
  • Does writing console us? (Also, I like the word “consolation” and console)
  • Creating a monument to the dead out of Super Mario World
  • Ekphrasis
  • Poetry that folds space and time
  • Can Nintendos understand punctuation
  • The significance of 100 year anniversaries

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Stephen, here’s his lovely acceptance speech when he won the Rooney Prize, Irish’s oldest literary prize. And here he is on a video game podcast

• And – why not? – here’s a walkthrough of Super Mario World, which helps give an interesting window on Stephen’s book and poetry, as well as digital landscape.

• “The light by which we see things is only a symbol. At the point of seeing the light, we lose it. Pur loss of the light is what we see as light.” – Massimo Scaligero

• I love that Stephen refers to Mario as a “single person in an overwhelming world.”• Have you read Annie Dillard’s great essay “Seeing” ?

• Remember Game Genie? My favorite digital djinn. Here’s how it worked.

• I had poet Zachary Schomburg on waaaay back on AEWCH 40. It’s still one of my favorite episodes. And be sure to read his essay, “Poetry As Violence” is one of my favorite essays about poems ever. It’s stunning.

• Also, here’s AEWCH 91, probably the most special episode to me; it’s the episode I made with my mentor Lynn Margulis.

• No comment on the below.

• For two examples of ekphrasis, here’s Auden’s beautiful poem, “Musee des Beaux Arts“. And John Burnside’s beautiful poem about Brueghel’s “Hunters in the Snow” is in his book Black Cat Bone, which is a lovely and dark book of poetry all around.

• Stephen’s forthcoming book, Cheryl’s Destinies – which features Yeats in conversation with Billy Corgan – inspired me to listen to Smashing Pumpkins again. Anyway, here’s one of their biggest hits, “Today” from Siamese Dream.• Go here for more on Peter Doig, plus a lot of his paintings.

• I really love the movie Older Than Ireland, so watch the trailer and then watch the movie!

Until next time friends, reach for the star,
CH

Alienation & Alien Nation. Catholicism and UFO researcher Diana Walsh Pasulka on AEWCH 144!

16 Mar

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreakerAnchor

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.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? To buy Diana’s books, and books related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 144 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

Everyone who listens to this show knows that I’m interested in the intersection of spirituality, politics, and philosophy. Not in some sort of parapolitics or conspiracy way, of course – which I generally find plays out a bit shallow, even when there is truth there – but in the way the aforementioned currents play out in our inner lives, in our spiritual understandings, in our desires and drives, in our ethics and morals and activism.

Of course, this means, more and more, that I find myself contending with technology and the scientistic worldview that accompanies it.

It’s why this episode’s guest – religion and UFO scholar Diana Walsh Pasulka – is a perfect person to talk to on the show. Diana Walsh Pasulka  is the author of American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology, Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture and co-editor (with Simone Natale) of Believing in Bits: Digital Media and the Supernatural . They’re all amazing books.

At the top of this episode, I also spend a bit of time pulling apart something that comes up, and that’s the topic of AI, and how it relates to political economy and UFOs (phew!).

I’m still reeling from this conversation with Diana. She’s warm and thoughtful, and she’s mediating a lot of the intensities of the world that we need mediated. Ethics, morals, spirituality, science, tech, religion, and more.

I’m so excited to share this conversation with you.

(PS: As a bonus, this is coming out just before St. Patrick’s Day and has some St. Patrick’s lore in it! So it’s a sort of holiday episode!)

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why do we not believe the things we don’t believe
  • Stopping ourselves from saying “that was weird” and “that was crazy”
  • The language of art as a way of knowing and learning
  • St. Patrick’s revelation
  • Diana’a UFO initiation process and academia as a site of false initiation
  • Academia’s resistance to supernatural and paranormal phenomena
  • Interacting with the dead in study and research
  • What’s the difference between Purgatory and limbo, and where is Purgatory (hint: Ireland)
  • When did physical evidence become a necessary aspect of making spiritual claims?
  • Are we all in Purgatory/limbo in quarantine?
  • My undergrad Geocities site as evidence of me speaking in tongues
  • When Diana’s social media was destroyed by bots
  • The burden and adventure of seeing what you see in the world

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Diana here’s her first and second appearance on Rune Soup. Here she is on a long (almost 3 hours!) podcast that often has… less interesting guests, the Lex Fridman show (I like Lex himself, no comment on him!). Here’s her CV on her university’s site.

• I talked about creating the new symbolic forms and language in the first episode of 2021, AEWCH 136. And here’s my discussion about metamodernism and theosophy with Jason Josephson Storm on AEWCH 141.

• The review of Diana’s book American Cosmic that was…not exactly positive, but still worthwhile in its critiques was from hermeticist Poke Runyon (who also identified the initiation event in Diana’s life).

• The shaman who said “you’ve graduated into a new danger” to me was Malidoma Some.

• I did a whole series on spirituality, politics, and tech – AEWCH 112 with Peter Berbergal an occult technology, AEWCH 113 with Duncan Laurie on the magical tech of radionics, AEWCH 114 on destroying Silicon Valley, and AEWCH 115 with Joanne McNeill on the inner experience of the internet.

• Here’s the trailer for Host, which, though flawed, is a really enjoyable horror film. Watch it on your laptop, for full effect!

• Here’s Somi Arian’s essay/“open letter” to tech about ethics/morals/free will.

• Steiner’s book, Friedrich Nietzsche: Fighter for Freedom, hasn’t been reprinted in the Collected Works series, but you can read it here.

Until next time friends,

CH

Back to the Future: Philosopher Srećko Horvat returns to AEWCH to talk with me about climate, capitalism, and reincarnation.

2 Mar

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker AnchorPatreon
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.Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Srećko’s latest book is available here. To buy his other books, or books mentioned on/related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 143 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too. (And once After the Apocalypse is available via bookshop.org, I’ll add it to the list!)

Friends,

A few conundrums:How do we deal with the fact that we keep envisioning a destructive future, yet so few of us are acting to stop it?

When we talk about systems that (like capitalism and patriarchy, for example) that are oppressing us, do we mean they’re…like…spiritual forces? Invisible vague laws of social nature? What?And how is being separated from so many people we love affecting our notion of space and relationship?

To answer these questions, and in what I hope becomes an annual tradition, I invited philosopher, author, and activist Srećko Horvat back on the show. You might remember out first conversation, about a year ago, was on AEWCH 107, just at the start of the global crisis in 2020. Well, obviously, things haven’t resolved themselves since then, and it’s because we haven’t taken steps bold and miraculous enough.Srećko is not a class reductionist nor an identity politics thinker, but instead, (like Michael Hardt on AEWCH 120) Srećko brings together strands of ,any different aspects of being human – philosophy, art, music, poetry, activism, economics, politics, and more – and tries to survey our current, future, and past predicaments. His new book After The Apocalypse brings his multi-layered perspective to the apocalypse, which, Srećko reminds us, has already happened:

People huddled in tents in their houses in freezing Texas evenings. Empty streets. Lines for groceries at Tesco, where the food is all wrapped in plastic. Borders closed. The threat of disease at every turn. Riots against murder by the authorities. This is what it feels like to be in an apocalypse.

So what about after? Can there be an after?

The answer is yes, but it will take a liberation of time and space and a reinvention of the political, economic, and cultural realms.So… let’s get to it.

PS: After the Apocalypse has a playlist, which I’ve replicated as much as I could on spotify. Here’s the playlist for the book.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • What we mean when we talk about capitalism doing things
  • The destruction and seizing of time
  • Why reincarnation matters
  • How to deal with knowing an end is approaching but still needing to live in the now
  • Does “climate change” help us take action? And how are climate change and failed communism related?
  • Why science can’t save us (and in fact can do a lot of harm)
  • The return of the power of the state, and the public health utopia
  • Silence as a commons
  • The need for mutual aid
  • What the world should have, but refused to learn, from the HIV crisis
  • How to liberate “problematic” thinkers
  • The importance of working with the dead
  • How do we use the tools we have without reinforcing the terrible structures the tools come from

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Srećko, here’s his lecture, “The Virus Mythologies,” where he breaks down the signs and signifiers And for a quick summary of his other work, you can read Subversion!. Here’s Srećko in conversation with Brian Eno about his book, Poetry From The Future. And here’s Srećko more recently (in January 2021) discussing the tangle of issues we’re in with his collaborator, Alfie Brown.

• I wrote about Wittgenstein’s quote – “When we think of the world’s future, we always mean the destination it will reach if it keeps going in the direction we can see it going in now; it does not occur to us that its path is not a straight line but a curve, constantly changing direction.” – and how it relates to the current crisis for The Irish Times.

• I talk with economics researcher and author Conor McCabe on AEWCH 76 about the entangled relationship between money and time (it’s one of my favorite episodes!). And I talked all about the way the vision of the Earth changed when we landed on the Moon waaaay back on AEWCH 5.

• Some of Günther Anders’s work is available online in translation here.

• Here’s a story on the the Tallaght wetlands. I can’t find the information on the murder investigation there, but I did read it shortly after the wetlands were destroyed. If you find an essay on it, send it along!

• I haven’t yet seen The Midnight Sky, but, okay, Clooney and sci fi. And here’s the trailer for the other movie Srećko mentioned, Space Sweepers.

• Here’s Walter Benjamin’s Theses On A Philosophy Of History. It’s, for me, one of the most influential theoretical works. From the essay: “The only writer of history with the gift of setting alight the sparks of hope in the past, is the one who is convinced of this: that not even the dead will be safe from the enemy, if he is victorious.”

• Bill Gates’s crazy plan to block the Sun is underway. Steiner’s warning (from 1913, I believe) is a bit complex if you don’t know the anthroposophical lexicon, but: “…the Ahrimanic beings strive to ensoul the living limestone with a kind of astral rain… If the Ahrimanic beings could realize their hopes the whole of humanity would gradually be dissolved into the earth…”

• I still can’t believe I got to speak with Fugazi/Minor Threat frontman and Dischord Records founder Ian MacKaye on AEWCH 119. Really.

• Oh, Snapcase, the hardcore dreamboats. Here’s probably their most famous song, “Caboose,” and here’s their spotify page.

• A short, smart, (and still somewhat objectionable) response to philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s take on the pandemic in the Irish Times.

• Here’s a little on the Human Interference Task Force.

Until next time (get it?)
XO
CH