Tag Archives: history

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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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

Rebel Histories & Rebel Podcasts: History On Fire host Daniele Bolelli on AEWCH 52!

18 Dec
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Friends,
I’m so excited to welcome my old friend, historian, martial artist, and fellow podcaster Daniele Bolelli to AEWCH! Daniele and I met years ago when we appeared on the same episode of the Duncan Trussell Family Hour, and we took a continuous shining to each other. Since then, Daniele’s own podcast, History On Fire (each episode of which is a mini history lecture) has skyrocketed and become one of the most popular history podcasts of all time. And he continues to release episodes of his other (awesome), more personal podcast, Drunken Taoist.
Daniele and I talk about what history is, the massive tangle of podcasters and public figures that all lead back to a certain Joe Rogan era of podcasting and how that launched my and Daniele’s and Duncan’s careers, how even the most interesting stories in history can still fall away, how history over-privileges war stories, how differences in consciousness affect how history is told, the problems with identity, how fascism feeds identity and vice versa, why disagreement isn’t valuable, and how our non-religious upbringings affected us.
SHOW NOTES, as always, are free and available to everyone!
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How did love change time and space? My conversation with historian and literary theorist Stephen Kern on the latest Against Everyone with Conner Habib!

25 Sep

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Friends,

If you don’t yet know historian, literary theorist, and interdisciplinary intellectual, Stephen Kern, I’m so excited to introduce you to him.

Stephen teaches at Ohio State University, and his books, including The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918 ,  A Cultural History of Causality: Science, Murder Novels, and Systems of Thought  and The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns, are wide-ranging explorations of history, especially in how it relates to concepts of time and space.

In this episode, we talk about psychology and phenomenology of time, how love has become more authentic and changed the experience of time, the vulgarity and beauty of Joyce and Ulysses, what Christianity has made available and closed off when it comes to intimacy, the struggles of the Victorian era, just how real the concepts of “modernist” and “romantic” and “Victorian” periods are, how pain and time are interconnected, why a reevaluation of time and space needs to be part of labor activism, and more!

I was alarmed to find that there weren’t many podcasts or interviews with Stephen available online (although he is known and respected in literary and historian and other academic communities) so I was determined to bring his work to a broader audience.

For show notes (this time there are LOTS of links to books!), click here.

XO
CH

SK

Science vs Love, Libertarians vs Socialists, Education vs Freedom: Conner speaks with Thaddeus Russell!

17 Feb

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I couldn’t do this show without the generous support of patreon patrons. Please support the show by donating here.

Hello friends!

So excited to welcome postmodern historian and rebel intellectual, Thaddeus Russell! Thaddeus is founder of Renegade University, his new education initiative (which I maaaaay be teaching a course for soon!). He’s the and author of the excellent, rowdy, boozy book, A Renegade History of the United States

We kick off our talk by discussing the failures of education, then move right into the major flaw of the left, the right, and more: the abandonment of pleasure. Then onto Thaddeus’s favorite (or most popular?) subject, postmodern philosophy.

I love this episode!

SHOW NOTES are particularly great for this one. Here you go.

Also: If you like the show, please give it a five star rating on iTunes! High ratings get the show boosted on the iTunes page.

M+T

 

Antifa is coming for you. To hang out at your place, I mean. Conner in conversation with historian, author, and activist Mark Bray!

1 Dec
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Excited to welcome the amazing historian, activist, and author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, Mark Bray to Against Everyone! You’ve probably encountered the anti-fascists “antifa” movement in some way or another since the now-iconic video of neo-Nazi organizer Richard Spencer getting punched in the face on camera. Since then, anti-fascists activists have been completely misrepresented in media and misunderstood by the non-activist public, derided by the right (like when Donald Trump ejaculated the word Antifa! on stage) as well as by liberals. Mark puts the antifa action and organization in the context of history, illuminating how it’s not just a bunch of angry college kids, but a rich and thought-out set of tactics and web of movements throughout history.
IN THIS EPISODE
  • Why people who are against antifascist action often believe in the Myth of Progress: 1:50
  • Why the impossibility of utopia can combat the fantasy of progress: 6:45
  • How to implement one the ground activism while retaining the vision. And why: 12:10
  • The people who whine “THAT’S NOT GOING TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING”: 13:35
  • Is the general engagement with a state traumatic?: 17:00
  • Netflix and chill? Nah, Hitler or chill, bro.: 19:40
  • Recognizing all violences without dismissing differences between them: 21:00
  • The problem with “talk it out with the enemy” is that most people who say it don’t believe it: 23:20
  • The racist kids Conner grew up with, the Nazi organizers who exploited them, and what to do with the various levels of racism and fascism: 26:20
  • The little bird and the forest fire: 31:40
  • “If I can’t stand by the bar and drink while I watch people dance to it, it’s not my revolution.”: 36:00
  • Where’s the line between fascism and other oppressive structures of power?: 37:20
  • Who deserves engagement and who deserves dismissal and derision: Anti-sex worker and anti-porn activists use fascist rhetoric – And why you shouldn’t engage with them: 42:25
  • Why “no platform” is a worthwhile tactic and why it’s so misunderstood: 49:50
  • Charlie Hebdo and why free speech matters, but not the “support our troops” version of free speech: 52:30
  • Can fascism be eliminated?: 1:03:00

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And as always, you can find the show notes for the episode with links to books and resources to go deeper on my patreon.

AF