Tag Archives: AEWCH

Apocalypse now, then, and later, too. I talk with end of the world author, Mark O’Connell on AEWCH!

7 Apr

 

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AEWCH105TitleCard

Friends,

 

Obviously this is the end of the world. Or one of them, anyway. It’s our end of the world, at least, so let’s talk about it before the next one comes along. I needed an apocalyptic thinker to talk about. No, not Jor-El, rather someone who’s examined our apocalyptic fantasies and desires and has thought them through. So, I asked the thoughtful, funny, and insightful Mark O’Connell, onto AEWCH.

 

Mark is the author of the timely book, Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back and, very much relatedly, of To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death. They’re both books about how people relate to death, featuring Mark’s conversations with them: doomsday preppers and transhumanists. They’re books told in a Jon Ronson-esque tone, but with a little more theory behind them.

Mark lives less than two kilometers away, but we had to find each other remotely. So, sorry about the sound being different. It’s still good. But our lives are mediated by machinery of all sorts now in pronounced ways. Is the singularity near, or did it already happen, and was it extremely normal and somewhat boring? Anyway, this is a great episode, and I’m so happy to share it with you.

Let’s begin to think about this particular End.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why we have fantasies about the end
  • How to keep the sublime and strangeness when we get back from quarantine
  • Is mindfulness preferable? Is it a form of anxiety?
  • The continuity between consciousness, nature, and machines
  • How all apocalypses are not equally apocalyptic
  • Being passive spectators of the pandemic while thinking we’re active participants
  • Why our pandemic anxieties predated the pandemic
  • How and why to organize in quarantine
  • Transhumanists as preppers with money
  • Why doomsday prepping doesn’t work
  • How apocalyptic thinking is embedded in tech culture

SHOW NOTES

• For more of Mark, go to his website, and check out his excellent essay on the relevance of JG Ballard. And here’s a great interview with Mark on Utopian Horizons. Also, I highly recommend reading his books back to back. If you want some help with that, you can get To Be A Machine on Audible.

 

The World Without Us is a fine enough book for facts. The analysis isn’t so great though. Here’s Slavoj Žižek’s critique, in his essay, “Ecology as a New Opium for the Masses“.

 

Screen Shot 2020-04-07 at 2.24.33 PM• Here’s a bit on Freud and the oceanic feeling.

 

• There’s a solo episode about the problem of the concept of nature, AEWCH 82, “Destroy Nature Before It Destroys Us”.

 

• I do love Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. Do watch it.

 

• Read Gordon White‘s heartfelt essay, “A Better World Is No Longer Optional

 

• Here’s “America Is A Sham” by Dan Kois, an essay about how much of American life is bullshit and this pandemic is revealing that.

 

• Here’s my appearance on The Higherside Chats.

 

• I love Peter Bebergal‘s book, Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural, which features the story about the golem and the rabbi.

 

• Now is a great time to listen to AEWCH 67 featuring spiritual teacher and christian esotericist Daniel Joseph. And I still can’t believe that I had Billy Bragg on the show! Here he is on AEWCH 79.

Until next time, friends!
CH

 

The kind of death we want to read about: Conner & crime writer Liz Nugent on the latest AEWCH

31 Mar

L
ISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud • Patreon

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AEWCH104TitleCardFriends,

The last podcast I recorded in person before the worldwide coronavirus pandemic began was still about death. But it’s a sort of death we like to engage with – death in crime and mystery narratives. Interestingly, these sorts of deaths, and our vantage point on them, has become more valuable than ever; because it gives us an opportunity to think about death without the attachment of panic and fear.

And what a great person to talk to about death with: international best-selling crime writer, Liz Nugent!

Liz is the author of four crime novels. I read Lying In Wait, first. It’s a tense and tragic thriller. It evokes Patricia Highsmith and the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, but with a gesture and style all its own. Then I consumed the other three as quickly as I could; I wanted to inhale them, including her latest, Our Little Cruelties.

That book was released just as the pandemic began. And in fact, today (March 31), was set to be her book release party. Since her party was canceled, I hope this serves as a smaller, audio celebration. If you need the company of a page-turned in this moment, you’d be hard pressed to find a better set of novels than Liz’s for that.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • How much we’re supposed to care about death
  • How Liz is about to meet a murderer and see if they have souls or not
  • Dreams of murder and being murdered
  • Jeffrey Dahmer and unhappy childhoods
  • The way we think of bad guys, and who gets away with what
  • Our early thoughts on coronavirus (they hold up okay!)
  • How Liz’s writing is and is not like Patricia Highsmith
  • The tendency to attached tragedy and foreboding to joy and pleasure
  • Career dysmorphia
  • The difficulties of bodies, living and dead
  • What characters are and how we relate to them as writes
  • The uses of shattered narratives
  • Why, when we read novels, we want horrible characters to succeed

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Liz: Read her books! Start with Lying In Wait and move on to Skin Deep, which is interspersed with brilliant stories of Irish island mythology. The best way to get Our Little Cruelties in the US right now is on audiobook (until it’s out in November as a book with the alternate title, Little Cruelties). You can also get Lying In Wait and Unraveling Oliver on audiobook, too! Also, go to Liz’s website. And here’s Liz talking about disabilities on the Rósín Meets… podcast.

• The other mystery writer I’ve had on the show is Sara Gran, who appeared on AEWCH 61. It serves as a good companion to this show; two incredible authors with two completely different approaches to genre.

• I read and appreciated My Friend Dahmer, a graphic novel by one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood friends, Derf Backderf. (The movie is okay too, but the graphic novel is far superior.)

• Who doesn’t love Alice Munroe? My favorite by her, if you need a place to start, is The Love Of A Good Woman.

• Liz mentions The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. I haven’t yet read it, or her debut novel, The Flamethrowers, but I will! They both look great. And I mention From A Low And Quiet Sea, by Donal Ryan, which I have read, and enjoyed very much!

Martha by Rainer Werner Fassbinder is one of the cruelest movies ever made, but it’sMartha also excellent. Watch it. Watch all his movies.

• And read Cal by Bernard MacLaverty, it’s such a wonderful and dark and rich book, even though it’s very short.

• Here’s the intense Nina Simone concert Liz mentioned, which inspired Our Little Cruelties. Wow.

• And here’s AEWCH 86 with the amazing Irish writer, Kevin Barry.

• Okay, I’m being a little unfair about Pay It Forward. If you need a heartening read, read it!

• When I was photographed for the photo below, I thought I was fat and disgusting (seriously!). Body dysmorphia is an intense thing, folks.

• Liz got guidance on
Our Little Cruelties from writer and fashion social editor, Bethany Rutter.

• Watch Anthony Jeselnik’s comedy specials: he refers to them as horror. I think he’s right!

Until next week, friends!
XO
CH

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Conner Habib & Gordon White talking spirits in a pandemic on the latest AEWCH!

24 Mar

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This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company in isolation, please give what you can.

Contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

AEWCH103TitleCard
Friends,
In the absolute rush of the news cycle, you may feel claustrophobic, scared, anxious. And you may be forgetting about Alejandro Jodorowksy’s wise words about magic: “Magic in Thought: EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”

So now is a time for possibility, not limits. To that end, I invited one of the most expansive and perceptive thinkers I know, author, magician, and Rune Soup host, Gordon White, on to the show. Gordon’s voice is essential in this time, not only because he is a systems thinker, but because he is a systems thinker who considers the non-physical dimension. Gordon and I discuss the potential of this moment, as well as its dangers.

We also talk about the spiritual currents in, informing, and causing some of the events in our moment. And we turn our attention to a potent question for our time: What are spirits?

As Gordon puts it in a non-Godfather voice, coronavirus offers an opportunity for a better world, and the difficulties ahead make it the “opportunity one you can’t refuse.”

Let’s take it up, friends. Let’s start here.
Speaking of the non-physical dimension, this episode is the first one I’ve recorded remotely. It made me feel uncomfortable, but I think we pulled it off!

On this episode

  • What the actual fuck is actually is happening here now
  • The importance of the ground beneath your feet and what’s immediately outside your door
  • Why we need to stop fearing death
  • Why the black death is the pandemic comparison we need
  • Choosing desire in this moment
  • The difference between public conversations and social media conversations
  • The connection between medicine and materialism
  • Angels, and “Be not afraid” as your mantra.
  • How the panic was always here, anyway
  • Why we need to create a new, better, world and simultaneously resist evil
  • What spirts are, anyway – breath? Rivers? Consciousness?
  • Whether or not Gordon and I see spirits
  • Human beings as addresses for spirits
  • Getting in touch with the feeling of “holy”
  • Ghost ships near Malaysia
  • Why the spirit world is not behind a veil
  • On the other hand, why there is a spirit that is a veil

SHOW NOTES

• For Gordon’s 2020 astrology video with Austin Coppick, go here. And for my 2020 episode of Rune Soup with Gordon, go here.

• Gordon is very interested in Armstrong economics. They’re dirty, but very interesting, and, I think, present profound conclusions and a profound picture.

• Rudolf Steiner’s book, The Mission of the Archangel Michael, the Revelation of the Secrets of Man’s Being is good reading for this moment. You can also find an audio version here.

• Interested in the art of Andrew Wyeth? It’s beautiful.

The Shock Doctrine is a book and term from Naomi Klein.

• Here are the twitter TOS changes, which seem to be backed-off from and have a sort of watery enforcement.

• Here’s a bit on Neville Godard’s First Principle, “Be still and know that I am God.”

• The Žižek quote is, “The function of ideology is not to offer us a point of escape from our reality but to offer us the social reality itself as an escape.”

• Here’s a bit on my dear dead friend Jake.

• The Walter Benjamin quote: ” The same threat hangs over both: that of becoming a tool of the ruling classes. In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it. The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer, he comes as the subduer of Antichrist.”

• Want to hear more about and with Lynn Margulis? Here’s the last conversation recorded before her death. It’s with me, on AEWCH 91.

• The book Gordon mentions that influenced Gary Lachman, is The Master And His Emmissary, by Iain McGilchrist.

• “There exists nothing other than the spiritual world. What we call the sensory world is the evil in the spiritual world, and what we call evil is only a necessary moment in our eternal development.” – Kafka

• “Breathe deep, seek peace.” – Dinotopia

Until next week, friends!
CH
CW

Pornography is an archive of desire. I talk with Dr. Kate Lister (AKA Whores of Yore) about it, and what sex IS, anyway, on AEWCH 102!

10 Mar
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on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

AEWCH102TitleCardAGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 102: KATE LISTER (@WhoresOfYore) or THE ARCHIVE OF DESIRES

Friends,

As this episode goes out, there’s a hysteria about touching one another. Not just kissing, not just holding, not just sex, but even shaking hands, even being within a few feet of somebody. But touch, and the ways we touch, have always been troubled by definitions and rules handed to us by others and the metaphors we’ve inherited.

So it’s time – isn’t it time? – to talk more about the ways we view touch, the ways we view intimacy and sex, and pornography. So I invited the amazing Dr. Kate Lister, a sex historian known for her hugely popular twitter account Whores Of Yore, and now for her excellent book, A Curious History Of Sex . Both the twitter account and the book are grand compendiums of sex in history and theory. Also? Very, very funny.

We talk a lot about the history of sexual imagery, the ways we touch each other, and, in perhaps the most challenging of all questions – What sex is. It’s not as obvious as you think!

This is the second of a pair of episodes that are deep dives into sex and intimacy, the first of which was AEWCH 101, “The Trouble With Consent” featuring Katherine Angel.
And it’s a deep, penetrating, hot episode. Enjoy it in yer ears!


ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way we all experience one aspect of our sexual awakening through pornography + Kate’s first experience and mine (which I compare to John in the Bible)
  • How anti-porn activism is a rehash of childhood misunderstandings of sex
  • How the language we use today can’t contain the way we looked at sex in the past
  • Porn is there because we want it, it’s not merely that we want it because it’s there
  • Taxidermy in old porn shoots?
  • Attempts to control consent by people and institutions in power, and how sex workers take some of that back
  • The way “wokeness” can interfere with seeing sex and power dynamics clearly
  • Pornography as political protest and why those pictures of Trump and Putin making out aren’t JUST homophobia
  • What sex is, anyway?And does desire always collapse into nothingness?
  • How we don’t understand our desires

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Kate, just follow Whores Of Yore on twitter, and also go to her website, which is a huge archive of sexual information, including in-depth historical essays about sex by Kate and others. Also, here’s a good, brief interview with her.

• One of my earliest essays on porn was “By The Time You’ve Seen It’s Too Late” in which I compare seeing porn to The Evil Dead.

• Would you like to learn more about the 28,000 year old stone penis? Of course you would. And here’s a bit on Jill Cook of the British Museum, asserting that we had sex before we understood that it made babies.

• Do fetuses masturbate? Well, probably? Maybe?

• There’s a great book about the invention of pornography called The Secret Museum: Pornography In Modern Culture. It’s by Walter Kendrick, and well worth reading. Another great book on the same subject is The Invention of Pornography, 1500-1800: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity edited by Lynn Hunt (this is the book I mention later that has lots of information about pornography as political protest).

• I talk a lot about the need for conversations about resilience with Sara Maria Griffin on AEWCH 93.

• Here’s a short article on Christine Helliwell talking to Dayak women in Borneo about the different concept of sex and assault.

A conversation between Heather Berg and I about sex work and the wage-labor relationship is here.

I am a whore. Find something else to fight about.” –Nell Gwynn, after two men were fighting after one called her a whore.

• Did you miss Hole drummer Patty Schemel on AEWCH 60? Don’t.

• I talk about the origins of sex on AEWCH 92, which is called…wait for it…The Origins Of Sex!

• And there;s a book about a very different thing with the same title – The Origins Of Sex: A History Of The First Sexual Revolution by Faramerz Dabhoiwala. It’s great.

• I’ve brought up What Is Sex? by Alenka Zupančič many times on the show. If you’re interested in a dense psychoanlytical investigation of sex, check it out. And also I talk about Wilhelm Reich on this bonus episode, and on AEWCH 59 with Reich James Strick.

• Kate mentions Joan Price, and I think her work with desire and aging is worth checking out.

• I wrote an essay on my (homo)sexual awakening waaaay back in 2010 (the essay, not the awakening); it’s called “Looking At Men.”

• A book I love on the sex lives of animals (well THAT’S a way to open a sentence) is Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice To All Creation by Olivia Judson.

• I mention the Katherine Angel episode, but you should really get and read her amazing book, Unmastered.

Until next time, friends, don’t give up on your desires!
CH
NG

You can’t consent to consent. A challenging discussion on the new Against Everyone With Conner Habib, featuring author Katherine Angel!

3 Mar


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HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast • Souncloud

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AEWCH101TITLECARDFriends,

I’ve been writing and giving talks about sex for over a decade now, and I often find it difficult to have truly stimulating conversation about it. I knew that having author and public intellectual Katherine Angel on the show would change that. Katherine is the author of the stunning work of vignettes on sex and fear and domination, Unmastered : A Book On Desire, Most Difficult To Tell, and Daddy Issues, which questions patriarchy by looking squarely at women’s relationships with their fathers. Her book, Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again, will be out next year, and I’ll definitely have her on then too.

Katherine and I go at sex and especially consent at so many different angles, uncovering all the problems in the way we discuss it. As it turns out, there are quite a few problems there, and I am so happy to have had this challenging conversation, and to share it with you.

(PS: sorry about the popping in the sound. Your contribution is going to pay for a few pop filters!)

ON THIS EPISODE
  • How not knowing what we want needs to be a part of sexuality
  • Why psychoanalysis is important for our conversation about consent
  • Why every sexual encounter between two people is actually a threesome with whoever created the framework of consent
  • Why consent is not a good foundation for sexual ethics
  • How nonconsensual labor frameworks (ie needing to have a job) generate harassment and make sex the culprit
  • How we always place the burden of clear expression on women
  • How overemphasizing consent denies us our full humanity
  • Why Katie Roiphie and Laura Kipnis don’t get it
  • Why listening to people is so important whether or not they were utterly violated, and even whether or not we believe or accept that they were.
  • Words and pornography
  • The false assumption that men are having “real” orgasms in porn, whereas the women are having “fake” ones
  • How arousal is protective and the body doesn’t express the truth anymore than the mind.
  • Why we need Freud now more than ever
  • The erotic fantasy of banning pornography
  • Why desires have their own boundaries
SHOW NOTES
• More on Katherine: Katherine teaches at University of London, and her book, Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again will be out next year. Here’s an excerpt from it, “Sex And Self Knowledge: Beyond Consent”. And here’s Katherine speaking about #MeToo at the Freud Museum.

• Katherine mentions Joseph Fischel’s book, Screw Consent: A Better Politics of Sexual Justice , which I am eager to read (and I’m also excited to have Joseph on the show!). Another good book on consent is Consent: Sexual Rights and the Transformation of American Liberalism by Pamela Haag.

• And here’s the Melissa Gira Grant essay on #MeToo – “The Unsexy Truth About Harassment.
• I’ve written about all the themes presented here before in the essay, “A Culture That’s Sick About Sex Will Never Be Able To Stop Harassment And Abuse“.

• A little write up of my talk about consent at Tufts University, moderated by Kareem Khubchandani.

• The Leo Bersani quote is “There is a big secret about sex: most people don’t like it.”

• Katherine gives a shout out to Laurie Brotto and her book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire.

AEWCH 34 about how arousal and desire are not the same thing, and how sex confronts materialism.

• The first time I talked about Wittgenstein’s theories and porn was way back on AEWCH 10 with Dr. Chris Donaghue.

• For more on how children experience violation when they’re sexually assaulted, read Susan Clancy’s profound book, The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children and Its Aftermath.

• Go forth and read Darwin’s Worms by Adam Phillips. I’ve mentioned it many times as a great book. Ancd also? What Is Sex? by Alenka Zupančič.

• I can’t vouch for Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography by Susanna Paasonen yet, but I’m definitely going to read it if Katherine thinks it’s worthwhile. And here’s a link to Amia Srinivasan‘s article, “Does Anyone Have The Right To Sex?

That’s it for now, friends.
Until next time, may you follow your desires!
CH

(How To Write) An Autobiography of Ideas – On AEWCH 100!

27 Feb
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AEWCH100TitleCard

Friends,
Here we are at AEWCH 100, and I’m so grateful. To celebrate, I’ve tried to focus on what the show is really about: ideas and connectivity. With that in mind, I’ve written my own Autobiography of Ideas, which I share here, and I also tell you how you can make your own!

The process is pretty simple:
1. Start listing out ideas that have moved you, and their creators.
One of the best ways of doing this is by thinkers or books or bands or movies. These can have had an emotional impact on you, or changed the way you thought about the world, or deepened your commitment to a cause. Whatever you want – just focus on the ideas and who brought them to you. Since a huge part of my life has been spent with my nose in a book, most what you’ll hear about today are people who have written books, but I didn’t by any means restrict myself, as you’ll see.
2. Then, start putting those in the age ranges you encountered them in.
I think 7 year chunks are good (ie 0-7, 8-14, 15-21, 22-28, etc.).

3. Look at the patterns you can find. Try to articulate what they are, and then look across your entire life. When it’s all grouped together, think about what was happening in that time period, and you can start to see the arrival of themes.

4. Name the chunks of time, if you want. They’re chapters in your Autobiography Of Ideas.

NOTE: The important thing is to lean towards the ideas here, not the events, the events will show up, and if you want, you can think of a different way to layer them in.

There are show notes for this episode, but they appear in the form of a list available to patrons at the $5 level and up. Click here for access to the list or sign up/boost your pledge now!
Thank you for listening. Love to you all. Here’s to 100 more!
CH
JM

Conner Habib & David Graeber talk supernatural politics on Against Everyone With Conner Habib 99!

11 Feb
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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.
AEWCH99TitleCardFriends,

Few people embody the intersections of this show’s interests quite as much as anthropologist, activist, and writer David Graeber. His field work, writing, and activism represent the best of what AEWCH does: turn an eye to spiritual concerns while taking direct and creative political action. David is a professor at the London School of Economics and the author of an almost overwhelming number of books, including, Fragments Of An Anarchist Anthropology, Debt: The First 5000 Years, On Kings (with Marshall Sahlins), and most recently, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory.

So of course, I’m so happy to have him on the show to discuss, among other things, the supernatural currents that run through and underpin the political realm.
SHOW NOTES
• There’s so much more available from David – introductions to other books, anthologies, he’s edited, and a whole shelf of other books he’s written – so the best way to get a good overview of that is to go to his website. Also, I use some of David’s ideas to discuss the horror film Ready Or Not on the Horror Vanguard podcast, and I think it’s not a bad intro to David’s work.
• Of course, you should check out Marshall Sahlins’s work, and David references his debate with Gananath Obeyesekere.
BM• Grant Morrison’s Bat-Mite appearances are in the amazing Batman arc, The Black Glove which is collected as a graphic novel.
• David’s quote on debt: “Debt is the perversion of a promise, a promise that has been perverted through mathematics and violence. I’m not saying mathematics is bad, but the combination of mathematics and violence is extremely bad. A debt is a promise to give a certain sum of money, in a certain amount of time, under certain conditions. It is a contract that is ultimately enforceable through the threat of force. The problem is that through a genuinely perverse historical alchemy, we’ve come to see such acts of violence as the very essence of morality.”
• One of David’s best known essays is excellently entitled “ON THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF GIANT PUPPETS: broken windows, imaginary jars of urine, and the cosmological role of the police in American culture” and you can read it here.
• “There is a long folk history of this figure, the Badass. He is usually male, and while sometimes earning the quizzical tolerance of women, is almost universally admired by men for two basic virtues: he is Bad, and he is Big. Bad meaning not morally evil, necessarily, more like able to work mischief on a large scale. What is important here is the amplifying of scale, the multiplication of effect.” – Thomas Pynchon, from “Is It O.K. To Be A Luddite?”
Karl Groos was the philosopher and psychologist who David refers to in relation to play, self awareness, and child development, and is the author of The Play Of Man. David explores game and play more deeply in his excellent book, The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy.
• Apparently I misattributed the definition of magic to Dion Fortune! But it’s a common mistake.
• I talk a lot about leaning into subjective ways of speaking, and why it’s important, on AEWCH 93 with Sarah Maria Griffin, and on Rune Soup with Gordon White.
• David is currently at work on a book with David Wengrow, author of What Makes Civilization?: The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West among other books.
• The organization I was Vice President of for two years, The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, is still going, and I’m so proud of my work with them.
• You must have seen The Witch if you’re a fan of this show, right? Right?
• There was a tension (to put it euphemistically) between anarchist Bob Black and Murray Bookchin. You can check it out here.
• I talk about Wilhelm Reich on AEWCH 59 with Reich scholar James Strick.
Was Lenin a nudist? Well, yeah, probably!
• I haven’t yet read David’s “Radical alterity is just another way of saying “reality”: a reply to Eduardo Viveiros de Castro” but I’m going to as soon as I’m done with the show notes.
Heres The Same Old Song by Russell Means. Means’s essay is not actually an essay, for, as he states at the outset, “The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of ‘legitimate’ thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken.” 
VDJ• I was hugely influenced by Vine Deloria Jr.’s work, and his attack (seriously, that’s more the word for it than “critique”) on anthropologists remains salient. (And since I love him, here’s a photo of him.)
• Here’s more info on Malidoma Somé, and you can also check out his great book, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman.
• I talk all about the problems with reducing the witchcraft to political economy, as well as the figure of the dewitcher on AEWCH 98 with Thomas Waters.
• I still like Giordano Bruno, in spite of the, um, persecution we carry out here. And I think he was just talking about the creation of elementals, which I discuss on AEWCH 67 with Daniel Joseph.
• David brings up his interest in Whitheadian concepts of time and space, which are explored, I think, most deeply in Whitehead’s The Concept Of Nature.
Conor McCabe has a great concept of capitalism as an “invasion of the money system” which we talk about on AEWCH 76. (That remains one of my favorite episodes, btw!)

Until next time, friends!
CH

The victims of witchcraft & the witchcraft of victims. Dr. Thomas Waters joins me on the latest episode of AEWCH!

4 Feb
LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
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.
AEWCH98TitleCard
Friends,
I’ve been preoccupied with the way we’ve been preventing witchcraft, the occult, and magic from entering into serious philosophical and political (especially leftist political) discourse for a long time. Previously, witchcraft was the subject of ridicule. Now it’s claimed by Marxists, feminists, and others, as proof of their own theorizing. I’m happy that magic and the occult are being brought into discourse, but always in a way that seems to dismiss the phenomenon itself. So I invited Thomas Waters, author of the incredible Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times to talk about all of this. His book is the nail in the coffin of magical revisionism.
Thomas’s book looks at witchcraft from the 1800s to the present day in the UK and its colonies, but most importantly, it does so from a victim’s point of view. In other words, it starts with a serious angle, and stays with it. Along the way, you meet a host of weird and powerful figures, as well as tragedies, atrocities, and absurdities. And our conversation follows a similarly varied path. This is definitely one of my favorite episodes, and it serves as a companion to my conversational, informal episode “The Left Vs Witches.”
Most importantly, I think, we discuss the need for people who can thoughtfully interpret instances of witchcraft and magic in our time. The disappearance of these “dewitcher” figures has left us lost. These dewitchers use witchcraft as a way of seeing, and can teach that way of seeing to us.
I was happy, also, to get Thomas to express how his research into witchcraft changed him, and I’m sure he was happy to get me to talk about challenges to my academic research project.
Oh, and Thomas recites Wordsworth’s “Song For The Spinning Wheel” in the most soothing and mystery-filled voice!
In this episode
  • Witchcraft, belief, and placebo
  • The ways we dismiss witchcraft even as we admit it into “serious” conversation
  • Witchcraft as a first and last resort
  • Why witchcraft is not simply a tool of the disenfranchised but of people in power, too
  • The importance of dewitchers as people who sort through the bullshit & truth, the safety & dangers of witchcraft
  • Witchcraft as a way of reading, as a way of seeing
  • How disbelief in magic is colonialism
  • Why Thomas became interested in witchcraft
SHOW NOTES
• For more on Thomas, visit his page at Imperial College, which features links to articles and other projects. And if the episode wasn’t convincing enough, read this thoughtful review of Cursed Britain in the Times Literary Supplement.
• I mention the fact-filled (though perhaps theoretically unsatisfying) book Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture written and edited by Bader, Mencken, and Baker. It’s definitely worth reading.
• A great and harsh article on the appropriation of witchcraft for feminist revisionism is by Diane Purkis – “Managing Our Darkest Hatreds And Fears: Witchcraft From The Middle Ages To Brett Kavanaugh”
• I talk about capitalism, time, and magic on AEWCH 76 with Conor McCabe.
• Thomas mentions the book Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft by Robin Briggs, and it sounds great.
• Yes, she was linked to a secret police force.
• I highly recommend reading On Kings by David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins.
DF• My favorite (and the most fun!) book on the Satanic Panic in the US is called, appropriately, Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s. It’s filled with photos, drawings, and is a great read-a-bit-a-day book. 
• If you don’t follow Hookland on twitter, I suggest you check them out ASAP. They’re great.
• Thomas writes a lot about Dion Fortune’s book Psychic Self-Defense, but I think the best place to start with Fortune’s work is either The Esoteric Orders and Their Work or The Secrets Of Dr. Taverner (which is fiction but based on Fortune’s own life). Both books are excellent introductory books to the occult.
• I haven’t yet visited the Museum of Witchcraft, and I really really really want to. Anyway, until I get there, maybe you can go and I can live vicariously through you?
AEWCH 46 with paranormal researchers Greg & Dana Newkirk remains one of my favorite episodes of the show.
• And check out The AntiWitchby Jeanne Favret-Saada for a good ethnography of dewitchers. And her first book, which Thomas gives a rave review to, is Deadly Words: Witchcraft in the Bocage.
Running with the Fairies: Towards a Transpersonal Anthropology of Religion by Dennis Gaffin is a compassionate and fun ethnography on the fairy faith in Northern Ireland.
Until next time, witches,
XO
CH

The Greatest Stripper Occult Priestess You’ve Never Heard Of! Diana Young-Peak on AEWCH 97!

21 Jan
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Friends,
I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend, and one of my spiritual teachers and comrades, Diana Young-Peak, a priest of The Church Of The Living Christ, Order Of Melchizedek. This episode was part of my first try at starting a podcast, way back in 2011, which is also when I recorded AEWCH 91 with Lynn Margulis.
The Order is small, dates back to the 19th Century, and is almost completely unknown. And yet, it continues to resonate with power and depth, through Diana’a wisdom and work, as well as the work of her spiritual partner, Robert Young.
Each month, The Order holds services in the Bay Area, around a theme, with a presentation of Diana and Robert’s mediations and contemplations. Then there’s discussion, and then a ritual. It’s a simple and beautiful service. And it’s informed by Diana’s experience of being in contact with a spiritual landscape and spiritual beings.
The Order has an interesting history, but even more enthralling in Diana’s history, as a stripper who was contacted by a spiritual being she felt she had been prepared her whole life to meet, starting with her dreaming/astral projection as a child where she encountered people from the Bible.
Diana has been a wonderful and warm light in my life, and I’m so happy to share her efforts and wisdom with you.
SHOW NOTES
• For information on The Church Of The Living Christ, Order Of Melchizedek, reach out to Diana or Robert, who runs the Order with her
Robert W. Young, O.M.: robwyoung@mindspring.com
Diana G.B. Young-Peak, O.M.: dgbyoung@aol.com
• Here’s the Order’s description:
“Founded in Great Britain in 1939, by Grace Hooper Pettipher, Ph.D., D.D., it continues today to practice a metaphysical understanding of universal unity and transcendent spiritual nature, sharing a philosophy that is beyond the limitations of evolutionary religion.
We are an inclusive congregation honoring the many paths and faiths by which we may travel to the realization of the One.  For us, the great mystery of the Divine is within, accessible through the realization of the Christ, the true self and eternal Being at the heart of Humankind. This Christ self is eternally one with the Creator Parent, beyond gender, a Being both immanent and transcendent, everywhere present within Creation, yet surpassing it, being That from which it arises.
The white-gold blood of spiritual communion fills the chalice of our sacred celebration, and the substance of divine presence is the nourishment we are offered as the bread of life. “
Screen Shot 2020-01-21 at 3.45.58 PM• There’s very little public information available about Grace Hooper Pettipher (pictured here), but she is mentioned briefly in Beyond The Occult by Colin Wilson, via a story about UFO researcher Jacques Vallee. You can also read her book (if you can find it!), Philosophy of Reality.
• If you’re interested in the Saint Germaine Foundation, and their spiritual path of I AM (which is very different than the path laid out by Grace/Diana) here’s their site.
The Esoteric Orders and Their Work by Dion Fortune is a wonderful book, and if you’re interested in the occult landscape, you should read it.
• I talk more about my experience at Occult Emporium on AEWCH 62.
Until next time!
CH
(me just before doing a ritual with the Order)
2012-02-20 08.48.51

Why do nuns become human traffickers? AEWCH 96: On the atrocities of the Catholic church with journalist Caelainn Hogan.

14 Jan

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 96: CAELAINN HOGAN or

THE CHURCH AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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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.

Friends,

It was inevitable that, living in Ireland, I’d have to confront the power and atrocities of the Catholic church. Not because I don’t have a feeling of respect for the church (though I was raised without religion), and not because I’m an atheist (obviously!), but because the pain and suffering the church and its influence have caused Irish people is immeasurable. But I didn’t know where to start, until I came across the work  of journalist Caelainn Hogan, who has written a stunning and profoundly moving book on the mother-and-baby homes in Ireland, which imprisoned women who were pregnant outside of marriage, and took their children away from them. Often, the children died of malnourishment or illness or mistreatment, and were subsequently thrown into mass graves, never to be identified. Many of those who survived are still searching for their families. Caelainn’s book, Republic Of Shame: Stories from Ireland’s Institutions for ‘Fallen Women’, is a book of both sorrow and accountability, as well as a piercing analysis of great power.

This is a haunting episode, as well as one that moves in and out of biopolitics, state control, patriarchy, and religious vision. I’m so happy to share it with you.

On this episode:

  • What are the mother-and-baby homes, how are they different from the Magdalene laundries, and how did they arise
  • When did nuns lose their way and how does that echo the tensions women have with each other generally?
  • What do we do about human trafficking if we don’t want to support a punitive and carceral system?
  • Do we amplify or exploit the suffering of the world by writing about it?
  • Why writing and telling stories isn’t always cathartic.
  • How abuse shatters and reshapes reality.
  • How legal transparency and overcoming shame are linked.
  • How fascism and neoliberalism prop each other up.
  • Why nobody owns a cause.

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Caelainn, visit her website, which has links to her writing, including her excellent essays on direct provision in Ireland, as well as love and everyday life in sickness and in health in war-torn Syria.

• I, like many people, confused the mother-and-baby homes for the Magdalene laundries, which you may have heard of first from Joni Mitchell.

• There are conservation efforts to preserve the Irish workhouses, and to not let them fall out of Irish history.

• My episode with Mona Eltahway, muslim feminist activist and writer, AEWCH 50, is now nearly-infamous, so check it out if you haven’t already.

Calvary• Here’s AEWCH 87 guest Una Mullaly linking the mother–and-baby homes to the abortion laws (now modified) in Ireland.

Calavary is, I think, a great movie about some of the tangles we discuss in this episode. It doesn’t address any of them directly, but it shows one side of the religious tensions in Ireland.

• I wrote about shame and how to fight it — as well as Amber Hollibaugh and Edward Carpenter — here.

Here’s the Sally Rooney interview by Eleanor Wachtel on one of my favorite podcasts, Writers and Company.

• The Walter Bejamin line is “The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer, he comes as the subduer of Antichrist.”

• Caelainn’s chilling warning, “the church thinks in centuries rather than in our current time,” will  stay with me.

• Here’s the Eliza Griswold essay, “The New Front Line of the Anti-Abortion Movement” that Caelainn mentioned.

• A great book that examines the conjunction of neoliberalism and fascism is Srećko Horvat‘s Poetry from the Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement Is Our Civilisation’s Last Chance. I urge you all to read it.

Until next time friends,
CH

MABH