22 January 2011

Brassier’s Concepts and Objects

Filed under: First Lines, Psychology — ktismatics @ 7:00 pm

1. The question ‘What is real?’ stands at the crossroads of metaphysics and epistemology. More exactly, it marks the juncture of metaphysics and epistemology with the seal of conceptual representation.

Ray Brassier’s essay in The Speculative Turn consists of a sequence of numbered paragraphs. I’ve found Brassier’s longer works to be pretty tough sledding, which I attribute as much to the scantiness of my own philosophical background as to the density of the author’s prose. Right from the top, though, I can tell I’m going to agree with much of what Brassier has to say about the real in this essay. Take ¶1. In discussions elsewhere I and others have asked “But how do you know that the real is such-and-such? To ask this question, I’ve been informed, is to confuse ontology with epistemology. I agree that how one knows about things is different from what one knows about them, which in turn is different from what is. Of course the universe exists independently of what I know about it and how I know it. But if I claim to know something about the universe, then I have to talk about the knowing bit too, don’t I? Or, like Brassier says in ¶2:

2. Metaphysics understood as the investigation into what there is intersects with epistemology understood as the enquiry into how we know what there is. This intersection of knowing and being is articulated through a theory of conception that explains how thought gains traction on being.

So I’ll just read along, paragraph by paragraph, jotting down and commenting briefly on some of Brassier’s ideas that I think are right.

3. …Thought is not guaranteed access to being; being is not inherently thinkable. There is no cognitive ingress to the real save through the concept. Yet the real itself is not to be confused with the concepts through which we know it. The fundamental problem of philosophy is to understand how to reconcile these two claims.

Bhaskar’s Realist Theory of Science has been invoked as justification for the premise that the universe must be a certain way in order for it to be intelligible to sapient beings like humans. But I don’t know why that should be the case. I remember reading theoretical physicist David Bohm’s contention that scientists don’t truly understand quantum mechanics and other aspects of the subatomic world. Scientists take the empirical observations and calculate the formulae and invent metaphors for explaining their the results but, Bohm insists, that isn’t really understanding. Suppose there are absolute limits to human understanding, even when enhanced by technologies that haven’t yet been invented. Does this absolute epistemological frontier necessarily chart the edge of what the universe could possibly be like? That seems awfully presumptuous to me. Here again I’m with Brassier.

9. …The claim that ‘everything is real’ is egregiously uninformative…

Is a photograph of a crow as real as the crow depicted in the photograph? Sure, in a way: photo and crow both exist in the world. But isn’t there a relationship between crow photo and photographed crow that needs to be acknowledged and described? Isn’t the crow somehow more real than the photo of it? I think so.

15. Unless reason itself carries out the de-mystification of rationality, irrationalism triumphs by adopting the mantle of a scepticism that allows it to denounce reason as a kind of faith. The result is the post-modern scenario, in which the rationalist imperative to explain phenomena by penetrating to the reality beyond appearances is diagnosed as the symptom of an implicitly theological metaphysical reductionism. The metaphysical injunction to know the noumenal is relinquished by a post-modern ‘irreductionism’ which abjures the epistemological distinction between appearance and reality the better to salvage the reality of every appearance, from sunsets to Santa Claus. It is not enough to evoke a metaphysical distinction between appearance and reality, in the manner for instance of ‘object-oriented philosophies’, since the absence of any reliable cognitive criteria by which to measure and specify the precise extent of the gap between seeming and being or discriminate between the extrinsic and intrinsic properties of objects licenses entirely arbitrary claims about the in-itself.

Just as a crow is more real than the photo of the crow, so is a crow more real than my perception of the crow — or at least it seems that way to me.

18. However, in the absence of any understanding of the relationship between ‘meanings’ and things meant… the claim that nothing is metaphorical is ultimately indistinguishable from the claim that everything is metaphorical. The metaphysical difference between words and things, concepts and objects, vanishes along with the distinction between representation and reality…

Just as a crow is more real than my perception of the crow, so is a crow more real than my saying “That is a crow” — or so it seems to me.

28. …The gap between conceptual identity and non-conceptual difference—between what our concept of the object is and what the object is in itself—is not an ineffable hiatus or mark of irrecuperable alterity; it can be conceptually converted into an identity that is not of the concept even though the concept is of it…

Though the crow is more real than my idea of a crow, my idea of a crow is still related to and contingent on the crow. All ideas about crows are real, in the sense that they exist in people’s heads, and heads are part of the world. But the idea “crows are black birds” isn’t merely different from the idea “crows are fungi that live at the bottom of the sea”: it’s better, truer, more accurate in its description of the thing that the idea is about.

29. …The scientific stance is one in which the reality of the object determines the meaning of its conception, and allows the discrepancy between that reality and the way in which it is conceptually circumscribed to be measured. This should be understood in contrast to the classic correlationist model according to which it is conceptual meaning that determines the ‘reality’ of the object, understood as the relation between representing and represented.

Sure. Most scientific research concerns itself with incrementally closing the measured discrepancy between the object under investigation and the scientific conception of that object.

33. …It is undoubtedly true that we cannot conceive of concept-independent things without conceiving of them; but it by no means follows from this that we cannot conceive of things existing independently of concepts, since there is no logical transitivity from the mind-dependence of concepts to that of conceivable objects. Only someone who is confusing mind-independence with concept-independence would invoke the conceivability of the difference between concept and object in order to assert the mind-dependence of objects.

I’m thinking of crows that fly and nest in trees. Now I’m thinking of crows that live at the bottom of the sea. Both are real ideas. I could imagine the second kind of crow, but that doesn’t mean I’ll find any down there on the ocean floor. But crows flying, crows in trees — they really are there even when I’m not thinking about them. Are there real philosophers who don’t believe this, or they imaginary philosophers?

34. …To claim that Cygnus X-3 exists independently of our minds is not to claim that Cygnus X-3 exists beyond the reach of our minds. Independence is not inaccessibility. The claim that something exists mind-independently does not commit one to the claim that it is conceptually inaccessible.

Also this: The claim that something is conceptually accessible does not commit one to the claim that it is not the real essence of that thing.

36. …Argumentative stringency has never been the litmus test for the success of any philosopheme…


42. …the first humans who pointed to Saturn did not need to know and were doubtless mistaken about what it is: but they did not need to know in order to point to it…

It seems pretty far-fetched that the first humans would have thought about a Saturn before perceiving it: first comes the thing that is, then the knowing that it is. You’ve probably heard the apocryphal story that the American Indians couldn’t see Columbus’s ship because they had no concept for it. That’s always struck me as crap — beginning in infancy, a person’s attention is drawn to the unusual, the unexpected, the unknown thing. Knowledge-about a thing can be wrong of course, but what if I discover that the thing I perceive, or the thing I’ve heard about, is an illusion or a fantasy — that the thing isn’t? Then I learn that knowing-that can also be false.



  1. All this seems more and more unbelievably silly. I don’t know who seems more boring, you or Brassier, ‘Mikhail’ or the ‘doomed pilot’ troll, Nick Land or the rest. This is clearly for those who prefer ‘the real’ to ‘life’, that’s why so many of them make a point of telling me, in particular, that ‘I have a life’. Like I should care, esp. if it’s ‘real’. Me, I prefer an Romantic Image that precludes innocence, but is usually not what is attained by those who decide innocence ought to be treated with ironic disdain: What they get is the seasonal rearrangement of the bigger names in so-called ‘philosophy’, gossip about them ad infinitum, play favourites in the most stupid way: All you have to do is look at what is always ‘hot’ at Mikhail’s to know what assholes all these people are.

    This post sounds like the ‘sad monkey’ as he does occupational therapy after being hospitalized. Brassier so fucking boring he matches Harman and Bryant at it, and probably isn’t even a better lay, just because he hasn’t gotten fat (that’s probably just the French genes.)


    Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 22 January 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  2. This post sounds like the ‘sad monkey’ as he does occupational therapy after being hospitalized.”

    Well there’s one good line in your comment anyway, duR. And it’s even relevant. Which is most real: an actual sad monkey on my shoulder, a dream sad monkey sitting on my dream self’s shoulder, or a metaphoric dream sad monkey sitting my dream self’s imagination, or a waking memory of a metaphoric etc. etc.? But you’ve made it more intriguing: what is each of these sad monkeys doing when I’m not thinking about him? Oh the nerdiness! But what the hell, today I found myself reading Brassier’s paper, I figured I might as well get some mileage out of it by writing a post. You find it boring, fine, but if there’s just one person out there whom I’ve helped…


    Comment by ktismatics — 22 January 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    • }”{but if there’s just one person out there whom I’ve helped…”

      Tha’s mo’ like it, bay-buh…

      By now, I even repudiate Brassier’s tearful talk about Land’s ‘extttddrrawd’n’ry texddtss’, because the lady herself told me that it was ridiculous that I could have ever taken one of them seriously.


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 22 January 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  3. I’ve been missing this side of your blogging and am happy to be helped anytime! That there are objects is itself a concept…


    Comment by sam carr — 23 January 2011 @ 2:52 am

  4. Hi Sam. Maybe you are one of those philosophers who would contend that the object doesn’t exist apart from the concept of the object. Brassier invokes Berkeley as exemplar of this viewpoint. Does the tree really fall in the forest even when no one is looking? Berkeley says no, but that’s because there is always someone looking: God. Objects exist because God thinks them. Objects could have existed before there were humans on the planet because God was already thinking them.

    Brassier distinguishes between Saturn as concept and Saturn the referent for the concept. Some argue that the referent can’t exist apart from the concept; others, that the referent can’t be known apart from the concept. If one claims to know something about Saturn, it’s a claim about the concept’s relationship to its referent. That’s where Brassier begins the essay: the relationship between object and concept. To describe objects conceptually one must also describe concepts conceptually. I think that’s right.

    The Wikipedia entry on quantum mechanics says this:

    Many macroscopic properties of a classical system are a direct consequences of the quantum behavior of its parts. For example, the stability of bulk matter (which consists of atoms and molecules which would quickly collapse under electric forces alone), the rigidity of solids, and the mechanical, thermal, chemical, optical and magnetic properties of matter are all results of the interaction of electric charges under the rules of quantum mechanics.While the seemingly exotic behavior of matter posited by quantum mechanics and relativity theory become more apparent when dealing with extremely fast-moving or extremely tiny particles, the laws of classical Newtonian physics remain accurate in predicting the behavior of large objects—of the order of the size of large molecules and bigger—at velocities much smaller than the velocity of light.

    Is the quantum-based concept of a solid object more accurate than the Newtonian concept? It’s certainly a less intuitively understandable, more complex, more mathematically dependent explanation of what we experience when we see or touch a solid object. Some contend that quantum mechanics is just another socially constructed reality invented by scientists, neither more nor less true in its descriptions of objects than Newtonian or Aristotelian physics. Others contend that, because objects and concepts are so integrally related, that quantum activities at the submolecular level weren’t real until 2oth-century scientists arrived at the quantum concept. Still others contend that a quantum description of objects denies their objecthood — their solidity, rigidity, wholeness, and so on — and replaces it with abstract mathematics. In his essay Brassier rejects all of those viewpoints. Concepts have a normative quality — truth — against which they can be evaluated. Evaluating the truth of a concept — a description of Saturn for example, or of the solidity and permanence of objects — means evaluating the concept relative to its referent. If that wasn’t possible, then the normative standard of true/false imposed on concepts must fall by the wayside. Brassier wants to retain the standard; I do too.


    Comment by ktismatics — 23 January 2011 @ 8:23 am

  5. Eloise can’t we simplify these adumbrations, is this some kind of New Age kablabla? It sounds like that – parallel material realities.


    Comment by parody center — 23 January 2011 @ 9:10 am

  6. I’m giving it my best shot, pc, but my simplification efforts are limited by the dilettantish superficiality of my philosophical understanding and by the intrinsic complexity of reality.

    As I said in my last comment, Brassier doesn’t necessarily reduce objects to mathematical formulae. Similarly, he doesn’t necessarily reduce concepts to non-reality. The reality of concepts invokes the realm of meaning. Even if meaning is the invention of humans and other sentient beings, that doesn’t necessarily mean that meaning is unreal or immaterial. Just as the referent of the concept “Saturn” can be investigated, so too can the referent of the concept “meaning” be investigated. It’s not as though concepts or meanings have to exist in some immaterial realm like Pure Form or the Mind of God. Humans are material beings, so the concepts they come up with, and the realm of meaning in which concepts are embedded, are part of the material world too. Is the reality of concepts/meaning parallel to the reality of objects stripped of concept/meaning? I think that’s taking it too far. “Parallel” implies separate and independent and non-interacting. There is a relationship between the reality of concepts and the reality of objects to which the concepts refer. Exploring that relationship is what Brassier calls for in paragraph 2: “This intersection of knowing and being is articulated through a theory of conception that explains how thought gains traction on being.”


    Comment by ktismatics — 23 January 2011 @ 9:44 am

  7. yeah i should have said MULTIPLE instead of PARALLEL but what this verbiose mess comes down to is something like Kabala, which is a materialistic spin on Christianity


    Comment by parody center — 24 January 2011 @ 7:06 am

  8. I could try to guess the connection you see to Kabbalah, but I’d probably be barking up the wrong metaphysical tree. Is it the esoteric language, the insistence that there’s a deeper reality beneath/behind the appearances, the sense of an enlightened elite who purport to have ascended to higher levels of gnosis than the rest of us?


    Comment by ktismatics — 24 January 2011 @ 8:29 am

  9. http://mystic.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Kabbalah

    One of the key tenets of the Kabbalah (at least within it’s original contexts) is that full Perfection exists only in the Material Realm, and it is the duty of humanity to make that Completion manifest (“Perfection” in the sense of “Fullness” and “Completion” – is the actual primary meanings of the Hebrew word Shalom, with “Peace” being a secondary connotation resulting from a state of Perfection and Completion in the material realm of the sephirah of Kingdom). This is in notable contrast with many other transcendental systems which view the material realm as a purely negative aspect of the spiritual process. In Kabbalah, the sephirah of Kingdom is ultimately the only realm of Perfection, as all of the other sephiroth exist merely to support its existence and enlightenment.


    Comment by parody center — 24 January 2011 @ 9:26 am

    • Mkay. I confess that I know next to nothing about Kabbalah. My sense is that all of these medieval gnostic sects were object-oriented in that their worlds are populated by all manner of discrete beings. On the other hand, these gnostic worlds aren’t ontologically flat: there are many levels, hierarchically arrayed, between material and spiritual realms. And I still get the sense that, while the material world is the place for humans to undertake their spiritual journey, the end of that journey is disembodied, spiritual, ideal. But I’ll cease and desist, pleading ignorance beyond this point.


      Comment by ktismatics — 24 January 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  10. “philosopher?” anyhows, something seems a bit tautological in this debate and my own suspicion is that we are taking ‘objects’ too much for granted. For one thing, there is the time element (evening star-morning star) but it’s more than that. For the sake of being able to think, I have to think in terms of things, separable, identifiable, quantifiable, characterizable, classifiable… and if I start from there, eventually the sense that I make of objects will also end up there. I have no doubt that ‘things’ exist, certainly also quite apart from my own or anyone else’s (even god’s) perception of them! But it is the very designation of ‘thing’ or ‘object’ that raises my suspicions that I’ve already started messing things up.


    Comment by sam carr — 24 January 2011 @ 10:29 am

  11. I agree, Sam, and I think that Brassier does too. Part of Bhaskar’s argument is that, because thinking in terms of separable objects has proven fruitful in understanding the nature of the world, it’s likely that objects really are separate. Like you, I’m not persuaded by that argument. I’d say that humans, either through cultural bias or through the natural operations of our perceptual and cognitive apparatus, find it easy to experience the world in terms of discrete objects. As sapient beings, we need to be aware that we have this object-oriented bias when engaging the world, which means taking seriously your “suspicion that we are taking ‘objects’ too much for granted.” I suspect that this kind of critical self-awareness was a necessary precondition for those scientists who first began considering the possibilities of matter-energy equivalence or quantum mechanics or space-time curvature or eleven-dimensional strings. Still, I believe that Saturn as a discrete object will likely survive this cognitive self-examination… even if the kind of object it turns out to be might not.


    Comment by ktismatics — 24 January 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  12. On the other hand, these gnostic worlds aren’t ontologically flat: there are many levels, hierarchically arrayed, between material and spiritual realms.

    i confess this is deeply confusing because already if you start from the simple premise matter=energy, with which most people would agree, it follows that matter can change form and therefore both the ”material” and the ”spectral” realm are composed of – matter (what else?). shaviro recently sent me a clip from a conversation with latour, who said that he discovered in eastern orthodoxy, as part of his research of ”ecotheology”, a rich tradition in creation (by which all things living and dead are equal as God’s children), only confirming my intuition that the orthodox accent on the corporeality of christ, and the church, makes it possible to conceptualize a very different ”materialistic christianity” which would then make a dialogue possible between the new philosophies, and religion, in a way much more efficient than dr. sinthome envisages.


    Comment by parody center — 25 January 2011 @ 1:29 am

  13. Brassier has mostly negative things to say about Latour, but he agrees that Latour is a Christian thinker, or more specifically a Catholic thinker. Brassier’s main objection is that Latour regards scientific theory or discovery as a work of creation in the world rather than an acquisition of knowledge about the world. For Latour, a scientific concept is a hybrid that emerges from interactions between the thing, the society of scientists, and the mind of the individual scientist. For Latour, the strength of a particular scientific concept has to do not with its truth but with its power within the scientific community, in individual minds, even in the things they describe. By implication there can be no scientific progress toward truer understanding of the world, but rather a succession of ideas that ebb and flow in power. Brassier disagrees.

    So where does Latour’s Catholic gnosticism come in? It’s in this sense of discrete entities merging together to form hybrids. An object, a mind, and a community merge to spawn a scientific concept. Couldn’t a body, a soul, and a God merge to spawn a man, an angel, a god-man? In his essay in The Speculative Turn Latour commends some theorist named Etienne Souriau, who says that there are four modes of being: the phenomenon, the thing, the soul, the fictional. To these Latour would add a fifth mode: God. Latour writes:

    “Yes of course, we lack or miss God, but not because pathetic humans engulfed in the mire of immanence just need to follow believers and finally turn their eyes up to heaven. We miss God in the same way that we miss the phenomenon, miss knowledge, miss the soul, or even miss fiction: because we are incapable of recognizing that each mode of existence possesses its own tonality, a key to open its own speech, and that modernism has jumbled its own discoveries to such an extent that it can’t even manage to make us inherit its treasures. If there is one huge blunder in the way that we have inherited the contrasts discovered in the course of European history, theology is no doubt the place to find it. We have to wait for Whitehead and Souriau finally to begin to work out some new ways of speaking respectfully and politely of God.”

    Again, what’s important to Latour is that the modes of being don’t remain separated: they interact, merge, form hybrids. What results from the merger of Dejan’s thing, his soul, his perceptions, the cartoon characters he creates, and one of the gods he encounters along the way? Some sort of emergent gnostic entity.


    Comment by ktismatics — 25 January 2011 @ 10:16 am

  14. From this AP story:

    An international team of astronomers say they’ve glimpsed the earliest galaxy yet, a smudge of light from nearly 13.2 billion years ago — a time when the cosmos was a far lonelier place. The research hasn’t been confirmed, and some astronomers are skeptical. The new findings are based on an image from the Hubble Space Telescope and are published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature. The scientists calculate the new-found galaxy dates to just 480 million years after the Big Bang…

    Richard Ellis at the California Institute of Technology is troubled because Illingworth’s team originally found three 13.2 billion-year-old galaxies and then withdrew their original study. The authors then came up with an entirely different galaxy, so all that switching “makes it difficult to believe,” he said.

    Illingworth said originally he and colleagues confused what may have been real light from billions of years ago and background “noise” from the process of looking so far away, so they re-did the study. He said they then found the new galaxy and saw that it was more likely to be real than the previous ones. “We made a mistake and luckily we had ways to catch it before we went out and it was formally published,” said Illingworth whose co-authors included astronomers from the Netherlands and Switzerland.

    Ellis and Henry Ferguson of the Space Telescope Science Institute said they were also worried that the Illingworth team only used one of several telescope filters to find this galaxy. They speculated that they might have found an object that’s much nearer. Illingworth acknowledged in his paper that there is a 20 percent chance that the smudge they found is contamination, but “we’re pretty sure it’s a real object.” Ferguson said Illingworth did “a very good job of making that detection convincing.”


    Comment by ktismatics — 27 January 2011 @ 5:09 am

  15. “Evaluating the truth of a concept — a description of Saturn for example, or of the solidity and permanence of objects — means evaluating the concept relative to its referent. If that wasn’t possible, then the normative standard of true/false imposed on concepts must fall by the wayside. Brassier wants to retain the standard; I do too.”

    Yes. I’m beginning to catch on to some of this too, and he’s better read than listened to or watched–for me, at least, because he’s objectively attractive, not someone you ‘find attractive’ because of their ‘other excellences’, and therefore can’t listen to them well, because you’re experiencing slight lust. But naturally, it is here that I began to hear what Brassier’s voice is closer to. He’s already saying some of what you’ve now later become attached to in this post here, in the Nick conference from back in Sep. or so, he’s already insisting upon that standard, but I just noticed it today:


    Brassier’s delivery of these quite strong resistances to Nick’s declarations (because that is more what they are than anything else in their Hitlerian demand that they be listened to as if ‘primal’) comes across as much more muscular when read than when he speaks them, because he is peculiarly modest. Okay, this is a problem of mine to a certain degree, but the ‘body Nazism’ is actually useful coincidentally sometimes, although you can miss a lot that way too. Ever since that conference, I STILL didn’t find Brassier as convincing as the person he was talking about, not because (even if I’m accused of valuing shallowness and superficiality ONLY, which isn’t true, but some of my writing would easily convey that that is more of a ‘bottom line’ than it is, since it’s only the ‘bottom line’ some of the time…)he wasn’t more attractive than the subject (he IS more so objectively) he was discussing (Nick and his repudiation of literally everything you say, in order to hold sway), but because that he was less SEDUCTIVE. Nick is all seduction. And the ‘doomed pilot’ character at Mikhail’s first appeared during the discussion of Nick I really pushed (Mikhail said he didn’t know whether Nick was alive or dead, so I got started there), his first statement was about ‘Nick is alive and well and living in Shanghai…’ it was a very ‘nicklike voice’ and I responded to it regularly (as seduced) for about 4 months). Then the following occurred there:

    I think this one is more recent, but it doesn’t matter that much. It’s still extremely obnoxious, beastly and probably considered normal by its ejaculator:

    “1)doomed pilot
    I’m almost starting to feel sorry for Brassier given the number of failing careers he has resurrected and the peoples who have downright stolen whole swathes of his work. And who would go to Beirut just to escape the London scene? Heck, Latour the daddy, Harman his bitch and the dismissal of Harman in a footnote is normally worthy of praise indeed. Or it would be if he hadn’t let Harman get his leg over in the first place. Harman has inflicted such an ass wreaking Brassier hasn’t been able to sit properly since. But maybe he’s learning. This time the astonishing obscure philosopher he has discovered is at least dead and isn’t likely to be stolen by anyone (though some fuckwits will undoubtedly try).

    For your consideration I’ve found a new cover photo for Harman’s book on Badiou’s chicklet:


    And earlier, in Mikhail’s ‘Harman and Shaviro Break Up’, this is where I finally began to resist with a certain degree of ease (after all, I hadn’t until the last few weeks developed my irrefutable theory, based on Dominic’s) of the Troll which lumps all of them into a single impotent object/subject/machinic product, so that one no longer cares who the ‘person’ is behind the Troll, but one also doesn’t care about the Troll the way he’s used to being cared about, because the Troll overestimates his power, and not everybody is sold on ‘being in love with a Troll’–the Troll won’t come out, so he becomes dead or undead or whatever fucking useless thing the Troll, no matter how long the fuck he’s lasted, actually is. What Dominic didn’t say was that the Troll’s power is much more relative than he must usually have it proved him; of course, any Troll could come up with new versions of psychotic malice that those of us who aren’t trolls (at least those of us who aren’t ‘secret anonymous trolls’, and although I’ve been called a troll, I’ve always at least been an identifiable one) So here I no longer find ‘doomed pilot’ seductive, whoever he is:

    “2) on January 2, 2011 at 8:15 am | Reply doomed pilot
    Here’s a quotation from Circus Philosophicus aka ‘Graham Harman: A New Hope:’

    ‘The reader should pause and fix this image firmly in mind: a giant rotating wheel, carrying thousands of beings in a long arc ascending to the clouds and vanishing into the darkness of the earth. Let it spin dozens of times in your mind before we move on from this beautiful spectacle.’

    When philosophical argumentation fails there’s always guided meditation. In the interests of probity not all the book is this bad. No, I lie, its terrible. However the piss-poor prose prize still goes to 3 times consecutive winner Brassier for ‘Concept and Object’ in The Speculative Turn. Apparently this is a very heavily edited version of the text. In the original there are loads of intervening blank paragraphs where Brassier realises he is displaying the worst excesses of postmodernism and fidgets in his chair.

    on January 2, 2011 at 11:02 am | Reply du Rififi cine-musique
    “In the original there are loads of intervening blank paragraphs where Brassier realises he is displaying the worst excesses of postmodernism and fidgets in his chair.”

    This is pretty ‘piss-poor prose’ itself. At least he knows ‘to fidget’ and he always looks good when he’s doing it, which is more than can be said of you, not to mention you’re pretty one-note with your acid visits.

    on January 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm doomed pilot
    You’re right I’m never going to rise to the heights of unctuous blandishment or vacuous suavity of a Brassier. Although I have just been offered a weekly column on dogging in the Norwich Advertiser.

    Re Kingston professorships they’ve gone to Catherine Malabou and Howard Caygill

    on January 9, 2011 at 7:45 am doomed pilot
    Can I pretend to be the inventor of acid one-note in the same way that Harman claims ‘I AM THE Speculative Realism’?”

    I didn’t reply as usual after the first nor the second either, and never have again, although he’s been writing more than ever the past few days, on this thread ‘Real Egypt’, which has far less interest in Egypt than Harman himself has. If you read Harman’s ‘journal-bleug’, you see that it’s actually a rare case of very normal behaviour, even if he thinks he knows things about the situation that he doesn’t. Frankly, let any one of these EXTREME FANS sit in an airplane for five hours, not knowing where they’re going, and see how they react. He was actually pretty cool about that, and that is not pleasant, just because it’s not as bad as getting beaten the shit out of.

    By today, and looking at some more sites about ‘Fanged Noumena’ last night, I see that the ‘unctuous blandishment’ and ‘vacuous suavity’ of Brassier are not that at all, of course. He’s just ‘well-toned’ and ‘well-tuned’ in his speech, despite the near ‘St. Vitus Dance’ twitching around, which maybe he can’t control. I really know little about him, and probably never will (he doesn’t seem to have much humour, which necessity is perhaps more a failing of mine than of him, but that’s that.) But that’s not the problem: It’s that what he’s saying, in this case about Nick’s texts, does not come across nearly as toughly when he speaks them as when you read the words without looking at him.

    Because the link I first gave here to Brassier’s speech (I think it’s the same he gave at the conference, but it does say ‘we are editing’, when clearly they’ve sometime finished editing.)

    By now, some more people have read these texts, and they’ve said some pertinent things, although Brassier also mentions this ‘lesbianism’ that Nick seems to espouse as ‘being more “real” [for lack of a better word, and who the fuck cares if it pleases these pedants] than masculinity’, but this Wheaton person says it a little more explicitly:

    “As mad as he gets with his rants on “aborting the human race,” God eating his own penis, and the like, he’s still very much an academic. If you rant against Derrida, then Derrida means something to you.”What Land actually writes about Derrida’s deconstruction is “Everything populating the desolate wastes of the unconscious is lesbian: difference sprawled upon zero, multiplicity strewn across positive vulvic space. Masculinity is nothing but a shoddy bunk-hole from death. Socio-historically phallus and castration might be serious enough, but cosmologically they merely distract from zero; staking out a meticulously constructed poverty and organizing its logical displacement.”

    And Harry Mulisch, in his novel-meditation ‘Siegfried’ talks about Hitler as ‘zero’ and unique in his hollowness, beyond Stalin and Mao and Nero in certain fundamental ways. But Hitler was unquestionably SEDUCTIVE, and got people to do exactly what he wanted them to do without appearing anywhere near most of them for a quite unreasonably long (however objectively not too long in terms of years) time. You should look at Mulisch’s novels, John, he’s the great Dutch writer who recently died. I’ve read two now, and they’re very skilled; he was constantly considered for the Nobel, but never got it.

    So that the ‘negativity’ that Brassier does emphasize doesn’t really ‘sound’ negative when he talks about it, but it does sound like a ‘real negativity’ when you READ it. And what he says about the lack of interest in phenomenological experience would explain the ridiculous pitfalls I fell into, not even including the trolling period, which was aided and abetted by many ‘troll-followers’, who knows? possibly even including Brassier. I don’t care, I’m not trying to make friends with any of these people, and many of even the professional ones do a lot of trolling, including many who used to tell me they didn’t–then up close, they tell me they did.

    This is somewhat off-topic, but not completely. I can see why Brassier would make sense to you as a philosopher, and he does. But the ‘unctuous blandishment’, if it had been true, would have been taken as an insult by Nick. The ‘insanity’, which is even admitted, is clever precisely because it is admitted and boasted about: That doesn’t make it any less dangerous, it just means the insane person is smarter than a dumb insane person.

    But what’s also cool is that the ‘vacuous suavity’ accusation is not reacted to, it was actually a jealous remark by whoever the ‘doomed pilot’ troll is. What has benefitted me in reading these remarks by Brassier last night is that I never fantasized about him in any serious way the way I was always going on about Nick–but it wasn’t because I found him less attractive, but rather because I found him less SEDUCTIVE–which also, in this case, meant that I found him ‘less intelligent’, because the Nick recklessness I was confusing with an adventurer’s intelligence (and it IS that too, of course, he’s obviously intelligent, but incredibly stupid as well, a peculiar combination). Another site ‘Dark Chemistry’, by earth_wizard says this, re Thirst for Annihilation: “A psychonaut, a pioneer in zombie thought, the first among his kind to have passed over into death fully alive he brings back to us knowledge of those blood zones in the darkest abysses where all light seems like pain and blackness covers the soul like a warm blanket. But there is no soul to be comforted in these deadly zones, only the harsh truth of a cosmic laughter without mercy or reprieve. “When I stare into the eyes of Bataille’s photographic image I connect with his inexistence in a community of the kiln. I smile. … Since I have floated in death the world has desisted from all effort to seduce me into seriousness. I rest in life as a tramp rests in a hedge, mumbling these words…” (TA: 15).

    This little fragment “the first among his kind to have passed over into death fully alive” is simply appalling, but is not that different from the various reactions all of the people who have encountered Nick have experienced, myself included. And the ‘rest in life as a tramp rests in a hedge’ is total bullshit, since he ‘mumbles’ not ‘these words’, but rather tourguides to Expo and pronouncements about Shanghai. That he was capable of a kind of ‘courtly friendliness’ on Hyperstition is due to any number of circumstances. But I mention that because the other communications I’ve obviously had with him aren’t documented legally, as it were. Of course, he probably does feel like a tramp. Why else do all these conventional things after you’ve ‘passed over into death fully alive’ like having children? Surely it can’t have been good for anyone to inherit those genes if you really believed you’d done something like that (admittedly, that’s just the blogger who used those particular words, but they’re no different from the lovely Lesbianism that is supposed to be even more prevalent than it is). I did notice, when I read ‘Meltdown’ what one of these bloggers said about how ‘it left him feeling scared’, although it hadn’t scared me–but it hadn’t because I was familiar with that experience from before with other writers, and there was even residue of it on Hyperstition; when I first looked at that blog when Effay and others were talking about it, I knew something of a great strangeness and contrived-alienness was going on.

    What Brassier did not do in that case, just like the others, was ‘break the spell’ of his actual ‘continued life’, if you call that living, as they say. I think that is because they are all, in fact, a lot closer to Nick than I am, and fortunately (as I perceive it now) will ever be, quite contrary to what I thought. But you may even notice in Brassier’s text something that describes exactly what I’ve been able to do with this mess. There could be threats or what have you, but somehow even in the written version, Brassier doesn’t say anything about the present, so that until I forced it at Mikhail’s, it was as if THAT was the most insulting imaginable thing to say! Really incredible, but extreme cases, whether Christ or Hitler, are obviously necessary, or they wouldn’t exist. But do they prevail? For short and long periods, yes, but ‘eternally’, none seem to have yet convinced quite. Recently added at Robin’s ad for FN are Jake and Dinos Chapman, but even before that Simon Critchley’s own academic blurb “Land had the most brilliantly seductive and meteoric mind, endlessly imaginative and capable of adopting, inhabiting and discarding any philosophical position.” Why does he say HAD? Is that yet just another attempt to ‘please’ someone whose very presence is based on being ‘a not pleased reptile’?

    Another thing I noticed when reading Mulisch’s book on Hitler was that I used to always have in mind that he was a mediocre little landscape painter, and that that somehow ‘mattered’. It didn’t matter at all, and Mulisch even writes ‘he had talent and could draw’. It now occurs to me that Hitler might have indeed had a great DEAL of talent in that area, but that his legacy as a person who valued murder as an end in itself (even beyond the other grandiose ideas like world domination and racial purity, which were silly, in fact) overshadows that. The ‘scorched earth’ policy finally applied even to Germany itself, the final executions (even of dogs) are not even so much horrifying as they are ‘singular’–there will occasionally some kind of freak in every realm. Hitler was grandiose, and he adored the power of murder. Then there are grandiose artists and philosophers and you name it.


    Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 6 February 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  16. It seems that I’ve abandoned the blog, doesn’t it? For the past two months the novel writing has been going very well. The last few days I’ve been reading some more psycholinguistics, prompted by a conversation with my comparative-lit neighbor about what might be called “the grammar of the world” — that the linguistic relationships among subjects, objects, verbs and adjectives are the way they are because they map onto stuff happening in the world. I’ve written a number of posts about this before; nothing new to write now.

    I watched 24 Hour Party People last night, about the post-punk scene in Manchester. It was okay, a fairly clever variant on docucomedy, but not something that had much impact on me. I don’t know this music very well so there were no instinct triggers grabbing my viewership. Not screengrab-worthy for me. I’ve never been to Manchester, but my grandfather Doyle emigrated from there to New Bedford Mass — one mill town to another. He had an English accent, which impressed me as a child.

    I’m about half finished with The Assault by Mulisch. There were two books on Kenzie’s reading list this year that I’d not read: Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is one, The Assault is the other. I liked the Stoppard play very much. The Assault is a very straightforward work about a kid who survives the slaughter of his family in Nazi-controlled Haarlem. What I like in particular is that the narrative focuses on a series of discrete events separated from one another by several years.

    It’s hard for me to get a read on the various commentators’ POVs at Perverse Egalitarianism. Brassier’s piece in Speculative Turn critiques Harman and Latour from what might be termed a “hard realist” perspective. I see no pomo squishiness in his piece.


    Comment by ktismatics — 6 February 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    • This was one of the most crucial quotes in the piece, I had forgotten it if he said it in the actual speech:

      “I once had a conversation with him, which consisted of a disagreement whereby he insisted I kept translating what he took to be pragmatic issues, issues of what he called “machinic practice”, into conceptual issues. He accused me of philosophical conservatism, by insisting on translating what he took to be the pragmatic back into the theoretical. But I want to insist that this is necessary, because this “machinic practicism” that Land insisted on leads to a kind of practical impotence.”

      Whether or not philosophers have different kinds of ‘conversations’ among themselves (they’re so fucking annoying I feel like quoting Babs’s ‘Taw-alk amongst ya-selfves…’), this would still be what all in-person encounters with the subject would entail. That was for me quite personally instructive, although there was little chance we’d ever meet, and I’m always annoyed recently at Jack asking me ‘would you meet him?’ which should have disappeared long ago. A form of that ‘in-person monologue’ would be all that there ever would be, whether it started in childhood or just developed at some not particularly distinguished moment, but definitely has never stopped. This statement also bears repeating (it’s Land’s, of course): “staking out a meticulously constructed poverty and organizing its logical displacement.” This has rarely been matched for sheer loathsomeness condensed into a relatively short clause.

      When, of course, such self-destructive behaviour is always extreme thanatophobia, and little wonder, you know, that by the days I was quite active at Hyperstition, KURZWEIL and 5000-year-long life-spans were THE order of the day and subject of discussion. I even read ‘The Singularity is Near’. Since then, Ray Kurzweil has continued to sell out into movie versions of his things, continue with twice-weekly intense nutritionals, and face the fact that cosmetic surgery has still not taken him past looking like Arpege’s ‘sour-faced cockroach’.

      But you needn’t think that in Brassier I, PATRICK, have found a new ‘philosophy hero’. I imagine he’s just as horrible as most of the philosophers and certainly all the bleugers–but he has provided me, however inadvertently, with very specific information about ‘who one socializes with’ and ‘who one does NOT socialize with’…

      I’ve requested both ‘The Assault’ and ‘The Discovery of Heaven’. The last was an early 90s movie, and the other may also be a movie. The other novel I read was ‘The Procedure’, which got me used to some of Mulisch’s contrivances, and one could easily get turned off by these as they do last (at least in that book) for about a hundred pages, before you can surrender to any kind of enjoyment in the reading process. ‘Siegfried’, about a fictionalized son of Hitler and Eva (that they had adopted by servants), is about half the length, and I thought I’d find it much lesser in quality as well. Instead, I thought it much better, but then the main thing I realized was that–and Mulisch underscores this many times–is that it’s almost impossible to even conceive Hitler, because even all the bad propaganda he’s gotten after the ‘good propaganda’ fell from view, is still propaganda. You ought to read it because it takes what Mulisch calls a ‘philosophical approach’ rather than a psychological one. I thought that would make it boring, but it didn’t. On the other hand, you’ve probably given Hitler a lot more specific thought than I have, so it might not be as eye-opening. Mulisch was writing really well into his last years, dying about 83, I believe, this fall. These works were considerably more powerful than DeLillo’s novels in the 00’s, to take one example (not that they weren’t good, but after ‘Underworld’, he’s never gotten to that level again, although I’m not familiar with the plays; there was one here about 8 or 9 years ago, I believe, I paid little attention), and certainly they’re all better than anything I’ve read of Rushdie.


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 6 February 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  17. When I wrote those linguistic realism posts I was countering the non-realist position of Lacan, for whom language aka the Symbolic Order cuts people off from the Real. Levi was the main Lacanian theorist on the blogs back then, but subsequently he’s changed his views dramatically. Now I’m not sure where language fits into his OOO theory. Probably the phrase “there’s snow on the ground” is regarded as a translation rather than a description of the scene outside my window, and yet this phrase is just as real as the snow and the ground. For OOO the reality of the snow on the ground doesn’t need to be cut off by language or anything else, because the “essence” or “virtual proper being” of snow-on-ground always withdraws from all interactions, including linguistic interactions. For me the question remains the same as it did when talking about Lacan: Suppose two people look out my window at the same time. One of them says “There’s snow on the ground;” the other says “There is no snow on the ground.” What is the relationship between those two statements and the situation on the ground outside my window?


    Comment by ktismatics — 6 February 2011 @ 11:18 pm

    • The combination of our last two posts makes me think I’m with Brassier in some basic way, and you as well, but that you both are a lot more ‘gentlemanly’ about this kind of thing. He frankly seems a touch more explicit than you, not quite as explicit as I am, in that he is saying something that could be construed as ‘you might not be insane, but it looks like I’m forced even at a distance to respond to you as if you were–unlike in years past’, whereas I’m saying ‘well, now that I KNOW you’re insane, I haven’t got much else to say about it’, and you’re even cagier while making your own ‘sane-ist’ (new word) position early on (within this particular escapade/follies) when you reviewed the Bataille book.

      As for statements about ‘there’s snow on the ground’, that’s where the decision about ‘who’s sane and who’s not’ struck me immediately. I don’t know how to care about the one that is inaccurate and what the relationship of one to the other is, whether they are both equally ‘real’, but rather only who needs to be committed or will a full-time nurse do? Clearly, the one who sees snow and says it is not insane if there IS snow (and that’s not practically speaking, arguable). But both statements are ‘real enough for me’ insofar as they are both more related as being statements rather either ‘being-snow’. Neither IS snow…or so we HAVE to agree, unless we really want to see some OOO people not only get retired, but go to jail even (I’m not against it.)

      Brassier seems to be a very gentle and sensitive man, extraordinarily gifted, and probably tried very hard to listen to Nick’s formulations, but in coming up with words like ‘practical’ finally doesn’t care that that is not a very colorful or titillating word (face it, ‘practical’ is not nearly up there with ‘meltdown’). Of course, he could even be his own troll as ‘doomed pilot’, it’s hard to know why both had used ‘unctuous blandishment’ within a 10-day space even if the essay that the hens focussed on in ‘Who is the Target?’ was written well-before. Or the troll could just be one of his friends, it could be Nick, Robin, Reza Negarestani, they’re all thick as thieves, but if Brassier were use a description like ‘vacuous suavity’ for himself, that wouldn’t be all that far off from the way the troll did a kind of ‘playlet’ with me some 2 years ago, which was loaded with explicit eroticism, only to withdraw all of this; and after that, only to re-introduce it over and over until the pattern became too familiar to miss even by someone as overly-cinematized and overly-indulged as I’ve tended to be (which is why I then get called ‘Walking Garbage’, and the rest. I’m supposed to ‘care’ about this, and I suppose I do briefly, but whether I do or not, it’s useless to protest it, the ‘machinic authority’ is there, whoever is behind it, and it is determined to be convincing–this is, of course, something Dejan cooperated with fully during the entire saga, and is something which you can’t explain to those involved in thinking it either ‘seriously’ or as a ‘malicious prank’, because for one reason or another, they are getting some benefit out of it.)

      Brassier is only 3 years younger than Nick, and although this will seem prosaic to all these Louis XIV counselor types, his ‘oblique’, as he contrasts it in talking about Sellars as opposed to the ‘unctuous blandishments’, approach to this probably accounts for why it’s more profound (in that’s informative, as well as probably more, but not all that concerns me) than what the younger proteges see, viz., Robin and Fisher, and I think Reza is also in his 30s.

      Nevertheless, Brassier was definitely taking Nick’s ‘thought’ seriously, impossible as that is to do, as far as he could. I doubt I could have gotten to this point without the things he said at that conference, and that, plus his distancing himself from OOO, does give him a kind of stature–god knows I’m grateful enough not to have had any direct contact. Btw, Reza is one who came into the picture AFTER the move from Warwick as far as I know, but fit into the movements they all took for awhile much better than I did, who was always a jarring note, picking out Nick for all the wrong reasons, forcing him to be traditional no matter what, in short, destroying Hyperstition without thinking that was what I was doing. Brassier was never involved with Hyperstition in name the way k-punk, Robin and Reza were, but he was obviously aware of everything that goes on there, I’m sure thinks I’m a dreadful menace or just idiot–what do I care? Most people in these bleugs have good reason to resent me, and few to see that i might have anything to say beyond what they’ve already heard.

      The only thing new that came up in the last few days is that I probably separated Nick off from the rest for other reasons than what I originally suspected: I thought it was because I thought he was the most ‘original’ and ‘artistic’. Now I think I was, in fact, attracted to his insanity (that’s hardly slanderous, as he talks about it freely himself. But, as I said, the ‘consciously insane person’ is something of a contradiction in terms: That makes them, if anything, all the more dangerous, because in a sense they are saying to you ‘of course I’m not REALLY insane or I couldn’t tell you about it’…this is false, because indeed they can, and that was the hypnosis).

      So that, while you and I seem to be talking about different fields here to some degree, I think the ‘hard realism’ you seem to see in Brassier’s newer probings of the issues of Harman-Bryant/Lacan is also in the piece I linked about Land–not that Robin or Fisher were ever able to immerse themselves to the point of the requisite pain either, but they weren’t nearly articulate enough so that it said anything to me. Of course, Brassier wasn’t trying to tell ME anything, but I could still read it there. His two impingements that we look at here are surely not nearly all, and even his ability to look at Sellars very independently (after all, Sellars is American, and not that highly-reputed) does seem to attest to someone who, after all is said and done, is somehow moving. Of course, it still does sound as though I’m looking to ‘romanticize’ again, and just substitute: I’m sure that’s true to a degree, but as a disclaimer, I’m still sure he’s not as good as the 24yo Puerto Rican I’ve had this year (lol), and he’s not written a poem as good as Dominic’s, or a poem as good as the one I just wrote which now concludes the book (Dominic’s concludes the first chapter, mocked infinitely by the bleugers, and that’s not to mock his poem either, it’s to punctuate the wounded chapter properly). What he DOES do is come across as serious, and the ‘marketing and networking’ doesn’t show so tackily as it does with Harman–in fact, it doesn’t show at all. Ultimately, I think Nick’s charm is that he is an important philosopher out of control, while demanding that you agree he is IN control. This, too, is moving, but there’s only so far you can go with it, as you pointed out a year and a half ago in your review of the Bataille book.


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 7 February 2011 @ 10:47 am

  18. You too probably get the impression, when reading Brassier’s obdurate and lapidary critique of the OOO stylists, that what he really wants to say is something like “these people are either stupid or crazy.” Why was I more explicitly critical of Land’s book? In part it’s my gentlemanly blogging ethos: I’ve had direct exchanges with Levi and Graham but not with Nick Land. Maybe also Land’s more delirious, meth-driven style in that Bataille book invites a more aggressive response than do Harman’s and Bryant’s pragmatic American suavities. Also, I’m more confident writing about empirical findings in cognition, language, etc. than when discussing continental philosophy, so I’ve been more prepared to learn from the masters than to tell them what idiots they are. The other philosophy bloggers have tended either simply to assert that Harman/Bryant are poseurs without explaining why, or else they get wound up in long abstrusities for which I have neither the background nor the patience to read all the way to the end.

    You’ve focused more on the characters and their literary styles. Maybe I’ve been too reluctant to adopt that perspective, although I really don’t care much one way or the other about most of these people as individuals. I don’t think that makes me an object-oriented theorist who sees people as trees walking. Only if I have some personal exchanges with someone do I give much of a damn one way or the other, and so I focus on what they say rather than who they are and how they express themselvs. Their photos and their writing styles don’t lure me all that much, largely because of the self-imposed discipline of opacity exercised by so many of the bloggers around here. At the same time I’m not enchanted by Graham’s personal blog revelations. Maybe I’m just not attracted to the person who writes such things, or maybe it’s because I still sense that his posts still aren’t revealing anything new about who he is. As I said recently, I don’t do much blog-hopping these days anyway, so I’m not being drawn into any other intersubjective spheres of influence that might captivate me.


    Comment by ktismatics — 7 February 2011 @ 5:00 pm

  19. “Their photos and their writing styles don’t lure me all that much, largely because of the self-imposed discipline of opacity exercised by so many of the bloggers around here.”

    The photos wouldn’t necessarily interest most people, but the writing styles would , unless they are all guilty of the ‘self-imposed disciplin of opacity…’ and they may ALL be. Definitely worth considering, in fact I think that may be close to the truth, except it can’t be all of the truth, because even Brassier’s ‘ideas’ are in part, for example, made apparent by his writing style (which, I admit, is not arresting in a ‘pure writing-style way’ the way Nick Land’s is, which is far more individualistic, no matter what insanity and ‘slums of the creative ego’ he proclaims. That’s why he can be quite left alone, given that that’s at least one of his demands anyway–so one just goes on percentages, whatever the scale says is most predominant.) But it’s obviously all the more fortunate that you hadn’t had any contact with Land personally, so that your review did not come across ‘gentlemnanly’ at all. That is exactly what was needed, and it was very helpful to me at the time, even though I discovered it months after you’d written it–when I finally found it, it was like a cold shower. Naturally, I’d be curious to know how deeply some of Nick’s students went into exploring these ideas of ‘beautiful mad-death sensations’, but I not only don’t expect any of them to tell if they had, I also don’t think they even really did; furthermore, I don’t care that much what happened. If anything, I’m still more interested in the current situation, because it’s THERE, no matter how mythological the persona wants to make itself so–in that, I have been successful, and that’s really enough. Most on the net thought it was just fine if he were allowed to be, practically speaking, ‘just as DEAD as he wanted people to think’ in order to create an aura, I was adamant that this was not going to be allowed, and I did make it impossible, the silly academic sissies with their ‘well, we KNEW that’ notwithstanding–I mean, it’s simply unbelievable that the ‘sale’, whether or not commercially, of the collection of works, could be based on selling the ‘death’ of someone who the fuck is not dead the way everybody has to go through it. And even Brassier has to answer to that. He said NOTHING, no more than the others, and for that, he cannot be excuased. Whoever the ‘mikhail’ troll is, at least he wanted it made clear if Nick Land was literally alive or dead, and it’s now clear as day, and I don’t the fuck care what happens to anybody who tries to ‘sell their own death’ while being alive’. That is just piss-pitiful, and both Robin and Brassier should have known better. Maybe they’re just babies too, who knows or cares.

    “At the same time I’m not enchanted by Graham’s personal blog revelations. Maybe I’m just not attracted to the person who writes such things, or maybe it’s because I still sense that his posts still aren’t revealing anything new about who he is.”

    Oh no, I agree, his bleug is perfectly hideous, but at least he was so in-the-skin involved with Egypt that even his posts in Bombay and later in Germany and Poland had an immediacy about them that makes that ‘Real Egypt’ thread look ludicrous, because they lost track of anything but their own fangirl-ism after awhile, demanding that Harman ‘give them’ a ‘real Egypt’, but themselves giving only boring peckings about ‘what Harman himself should tell us about it’. They were, in an almost unbelievably embarassing way, only interested in what Harman’s perspective on Egypt was, and in nothing else. Frankly, some of the ‘machinic desire’ and other aspects of Nick’s own insanity-CCRU philosophy seem to have borne much of the OOO, now that I think of it–in that it all comes from material, ‘thinking material’ or ‘objects’, not ‘concepts’, so we get Brassier as the best philsopher around. Not bad, you know, now that we’ve found it out. I don’t have any trace of jealously about someone in another field, and I do experience some relief that he’s stood up to several different kinds of idiots. My prediction is that he’ll most likely be the one to emerge as the most important now–and I’d imagine Zizek isn’t too pleased with this, because Brassier doesn’t seem very ‘fake’, although I’m fully prepared to be wrong about this, and not to care too much.

    “As I said recently, I don’t do much blog-hopping these days anyway, so I’m not being drawn into any other intersubjective spheres of influence that might captivate me.”

    It’s interesting that you said this, because I have never done that much myself, but have fastened myself to just a few, and that hse given people the impression that I am this bleug-monster commenter, which may be true–point being only that it was still no more than 4-6 bleugs within this sphere (not counting 2 or 3 other sites that don’t communicate with these) that I look at regularly (and still do–I read dominic’s and traxus’s Twitter, even though I communicate little with any of these.)


    Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 7 February 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  20. “Whoever the ‘mikhail’ troll is…”

    Why such disrespectful dismissal? Except for using a pseudonym, I never hid my real opinions either on my blog or in personal interactions. I mean I probably shouldn’t have been so trusting when it came to characters such as the owner of this blog, but I don’t remember offending you, Patrick…


    Comment by Михаил Емельянов — 7 February 2011 @ 10:44 pm

    • No, you didn’t offend me personally, Mikhail, but I did think that was your real name, which is the only time that happened. You see, I just have a long experience with trolls, or pseudonyms, which makes me feel they are operating somehow dishonestly. Perhaps it’s necessary for some of you, but you see, you can call me ‘Patrick’, but I can’t call you anything but a name you’re ‘not’. Btw, I haven’t ever asked John anything about this, so you needn’t worry about that part (if you were.)

      You do have a point that I hadn’t thought of, though: It took me a long time to find out who the Ads Without Products fellow was, whom I alternately thought smart and disgusting. He always did interest me when he trolled me (and he was one of several who did, as I was quite ribald and obscene at Dejan’s), and was dreadfully paranoid that once I found out who he really was, that I would interfere with his job at UCL, which is thoroughly ridiculous: What happened was far WORSE for his ego. He was no longer INTERESTING without his anonymity, and he is the type who was definitely trying (and still is) to produce an ‘auratic persona’. Oh dear, that must hurt!

      In your case, I can’t say that, since when you were referred to as a ‘troll’, I had any idea that you ‘were one’, and it does seem you make some difference in ‘troll’ and ‘pseudonym’, but I also distinctly remember your not really objecting to being called a troll–so I still thought that was your real name. No, I’ve always liked you for the most part, I thought you were a little harsh once some years ago about someone’s accidental death, but we all have our little things we look past in people we find interesting and intelligent.

      The other issue is one that doesn’t concern me too much, meraly because it can’t, my not being in your profession. While there does seem to be real reason to lay on heavy critique of the Harman-Bryants, there must be professional dangers in doing it. But the fact of that is surely well-known to have been useless with the important players, as you note here.

      I can only say that I have gone through the experience of talking to quite a number of people who won’t tell me their names but who do know mine. And you cannot understand why that is not especially wonderful? Well, it isn’t. I guess some of the free-for-alls about Harman I think maybe have gone a bit too far for my taste, but no, in the end, of course, I appreciate you very much in many ways–perhaps the most important for me personally was demanding to know if Nick Land really was alive. It is still a complete mystery why his ‘moving into death while fully alive’ was RESPECTED by his various acolytes, at least to some degree, insofar as they made 100% sure not to update anything beyond 2007. And Nick Land was even publishing things in 2010 (and maybe even now, but I’m completely out of touch, and don’t look at his business blog anymore). They frankly all seemed totally confused except Brassier, and even he was too close to the ‘article’ to be able to break the spell. So I did it. I’m grateful to you for asking that question.

      Beyond that, I don’t quite know what to say. I’m not ‘heavyweight philosopher’ to be able to converse with your group very much, even though the stupidities of Harman and Bryant are by now hard to miss. I’m not asking you to tell me what your name is either. I’m here to tell you that, in your case, it kind of does make sense (because I would see you exactly the same if I did or didn’t know your name, sense you didn’t ‘advertise your anonymity’ the way Michael Sayeau did, and in such an irresponsible, boringly narcissistic manner), and it kind of ‘doesn’t quite’. But don’t take it too seriously–the advent of ‘doomed pilot’ was no accident and was partially intended for me to respond to: It was a familiar voice, whoever did knew I would hear its tone. I’ve decided simply not to respond to that one any further, and haven’t after reading his weird remarks after his calling Brassier’s prose ‘piss-poor’ annoyed me, and I told him so. Whoever he is, he knows the sound that will catch my ear, but at one point it failed, and I’ll just add that while I find myself being more and more impressed with Brassier in a serious sense, it’s not because anything he has said has ‘caught my ear’ in a titillating way, but because of the way he made lucid a clear way of perceiving Nick Land. I now see Land as something that saddens me, but that I have given up on–and that’s what he wants not only me, but everyone else to do. He may have wanted this one last collection of his writings, and nothing further; indeed it was a superb gesture on Mackay’s and Brassier’s part to do this, despite the extreme monster one is dealing with personally, i.e., one who has told us that there probably is no truth at all, but if there is any other than masculine cultivation of poverty and its displacement by death, then it can only be Lesbianism. If you have followed my thinking and wild writing at all, you will probably realize that nothing could have ever succeeded in more fully turning me off than such a doctrine, which is indeed worthy of his Las Vegas reader’s ‘Notes from the Vomitorium’.

      I appreciate the sensitivity in writing this message, but don’t be too hard either. We all have our punishments to suffer in this medium: Mine is that I don’t have my own bleug, but may do after the book is in print in April or May–I’m allowed to write here and there because I’m a good writer, and also tend to enliven things, generate something or other; but I always get punished for it if I don’t know when to split quickly enough. So none of it’s easy. I’ll definitely say that it’s much more of a pleasure for you to have approached me on John’s bleug than to have Dejan screaming all sorts of shit at me the way he alwyas does. Good night, messieurs.


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 8 February 2011 @ 12:08 am

      • but don’t be too hard either.

        I didn’t quite finish that. I meant ‘don’t be too hard on John either, just because he may have disappointed you in some way’. I’ve disappointed him, he’s disappointed me, we eventually forgive some of these things. But, while I really do not see you as a ‘troll’ even though you were being called that (I thought you were fine with it), I have had my share of extremely malicious trolls, and I know who they are; and, of course, even if I ‘asked for it’, I don’t necessarily like it, because I was VICTIM!!!

        Okay, messieurs, that’s it for tonight. After all, tomorrow is NOT another day…


        Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 8 February 2011 @ 12:17 am

  21. I’m sorry if I have mislead you about my pseudonymous identity, I really thought it was quite clear it was a pseudonym.


    Comment by Mikhail Emelianov — 8 February 2011 @ 6:04 am

    • Why should you think it? I just googled to see if there was a ‘mikhail emelianov’ in the same way there is a ‘lenin’, and found only references to PE. Richard Seymour is by now a ‘fully out’ rabid Communist now that he’s got two books published, but as recently as 3 or 4 years ago, he didn’t want his cronies to call him by name on the bleug, and even less his enemies, and he’d make a big deal about it. But THAT is an example of someone using an obvious ‘pseudonym’, if you want to call ‘lenin’ that. So I knew that automatically long before I knew who he was.


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 8 February 2011 @ 10:43 am

      • I should add that, even though you’ve differentiated between ‘troll’ and ‘pseudonym’, there is at least one important way you both use this hiding in a way I don’t find too persuasive. In your polemics of real-name people, as Harman/Bryant, you are no different from Sayeau, telling people they shouldn’t listen to k-punk (no friend of mine, but that’s beside the point) or Laurie Penny. There’s just something about polemicizing that seems to indicate you ought to use your real name, since you’re using theirs. You seem to indicate that your choice to write ‘pseudonymously’ and my choice to write with my real name (or use occasiional joke nicknames, which always identify myself automatically, even to the point of sometimes writing PATRICK right in them) are the same sorts of choices. I doubt they are, but if you have to protect yourself, then what I’ve never understood is why the ones who then know your identity (and whom one has polemicized) don’t then just go ahead and ‘out’ the polemicist. I never could figure out why k-punk didn’t out Sayeau, although I did realize why Arpege became such an arch-defender of Sayeau: She still is furious that k-punk ‘read her beads’ like a son-of-a-bitch as far back as 4 years ago, and although it was a fairly crude polemic, he was not doing it in secret and the basic thrust of it is hardly arguable: She is hateful and is a self-righteous polemicist of literally everybody. She tried to go incognito for awhile, but then that has gone by the by, so my theory is just that people very often want to do a lot of trolling as a means of doing vicious things without having to take responsibility for them. But if I had been k-punk, I certainly wouldn’t have bothered not mentioning Sayeau (could be he thinks he’s as unimportant as it seems he actually is: While anonymous, I thought ‘this guy must be somebody really special, however overweeningly neurotic’. As it turns out, he’s not without gifts, but he is definitely without fame and name). Could be k-punk doesn’t even read Sayeau, doesn’t even know what he thinks of ‘Capitalist Realism’. After all, they’re all vaguely-knit, even if loosely. As Arpege says of the ones she constantly harps on, Nina Power and Owen Hatherley (the latter in particularly idiotic fashion with the usual accusations of ‘racism’ because of use of a term like ‘sinopop’, which Hatherley used to describe the PepsiFree sort of fake-Western pop that Orientals do use to imitate Western pop, and indeed it IS shit… although he’s gotten a bit pompous, I’ll admit)…anyway, Arpege said to me ‘well, they hate YOU more than I hate THEM’, which was amusing. Yes, don’t you think it’s surely that? Fisher and Mackay don’t ‘out’ Sayeau because at least he’s ‘not as bad as Patrick’. Little do they know…if I ‘overestimated’ some of them (and I surely did), then they certainly underestimated me. Let ’em eat cake.


        Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 8 February 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  22. Perverse Egalitarianism remains one of the few blogs that I visit regularly, as you could discern from the Boulder-based hits on Sitemeter, Mikhail, if you felt like it. Regarding so-called trollery, you have repeatedly remarked that your public critiques of Graham and Levi amp up the hit rate on the blog, seemingly regardless of how substantive those critiques might or might not be. Clearly Graham draws readership on the merits of his own ideas and stylistic suavities and blogged personal qualities, regardless of what some of us might think of them. Still, I suspect that he drags the vampires and trolls back on stage so often because he knows that there’s no such thing as bad PR. I probably should have cleaned up the troll references in the comment thread, given my stated commitment to personal civility on this blog. I get sloppy and lazy. Of course everyone gets to run their own blogs their own way.

    I do refrain from expressing at least some of my personal opinions, both publicly and privately. Is this virtue or weakness? It depends. Would I be more willing to open up, to express negative opinions toward others, if I were using a pseudonym? I nearly did so on Perverse Egal, but I couldn’t figure out how to hide my Ktismatics avatar so I gave it up. It’s probably just as well: if I had something to say I could just as easily done it as Ktismatics/John. I’ve written posts renouncing the whole troll/vampire business and supporting pseudonymous blogging. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? I for one find myself weakened by public attacks leveled at me, even if I don’t know the identity of the attacker. I feel as though I’ve gotten better at strengthening myself, at leveraging attacks for my own insight and improvement, sorting out substantive critique from personal meanness and so on. That doesn’t mean that I’m grateful to the attacker and that I want more, please. And if the attacker were to get personal, via emails and phone calls and so on, I’d want to know who I was dealing with — level the playing field as it were.


    Comment by ktismatics — 8 February 2011 @ 6:31 am

  23. In order to “level the playing field” you would want to collect all the necessary information before you make your decision, John. You clearly did not. Thanks to some actual friends that I’ve managed to make while blogging, I was told about exactly the sort of solicitations that they received from you know who, containing outright exaggerations and libel (ends seem to be justifying the means in this particular case). You should have at least asked me if any of that was true before you went ahead and decided to “level the field” – I know you probably think you’re this noble and moral interlocutor with everyone’s interest at heart, but it’s total bullshit and I hope down deep you know it as well.

    I know you’re reading PE, I can see hits from you and I really wished you’d stop and just minded your own business.


    Comment by Михаил Емельянов — 8 February 2011 @ 7:21 am

  24. You were talking with du Rififi and I interrupted. Please carry on if you like.


    Comment by ktismatics — 8 February 2011 @ 8:38 am

    • No thank you. He seemed to ‘have nothing further’, as the attorneys say, and certainly this isn’t the place, if I answered him at length last night–and apparently the only issue worth discussing here anyway was the matter of ‘pseudonym’, etc.

      “I’ve written posts renouncing the whole troll/vampire business and supporting pseudonymous blogging. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? I for one find myself weakened by public attacks leveled at me, even if I don’t know the identity of the attacker. I feel as though I’ve gotten better at strengthening myself, at leveraging attacks for my own insight and improvement, sorting out substantive critique from personal meanness and so on. That doesn’t mean that I’m grateful to the attacker and that I want more, please. And if the attacker were to get personal, via emails and phone calls and so on, I’d want to know who I was dealing with — level the playing field as it were.”

      Yes, I’ve been through most of these sensations, and it’s not untherapeutic–you begin to know what not to disclose (almost anything precious that could be subject to mockery) and although I can still be momentarily ‘weakened’, but if I don’t know the identity of the attacker, I tend not to take it seriously very long (that was actualy always the case, but I was ‘sure’ I knew the identity of the attacker sometimes, when maybe I wasn’t: This doesn’t mean I didn’t know the identity, but just that it’s now all rolled up into my ‘Single Troll’, which I am forever in Dominic’s debt for explaining to me in a way that made sense to my particular case. After that, I’d have to care if the Troll got his secret sadistic pleasure–acc. to Dominic, he doesn’t care whether you ‘know anything’, but then that’s his problem. Of course, he does care, is impotent, and thinks in obviously unreal ways. Ultimately, I think that really is what ties all these pieces in this thread together re: Brassier, who is not afraid of being relatively simple about what is obviously ‘unreality’. That would account for the stupid posts ‘doomed pilot’ wrote about him at PE, unless he himself were by some chance involved in a kind of masochistic self-parody. The manifold convolutions of all this hiding and playing tricks is a matter of finally deciding it’s sickening, boring, or both. If you do strengthen even after weakening, it does seem that the ‘being-bored’ has become the dominant reaction. I know that is the truth in my case, and why the Serb knew there was nothing left to exploit with me: I just saw the whole bleug there as a kind of ‘General Troll’ that included both Dejan (even though that’s his real name), and THE Troll, whoever he/they may be. That I once fancied Nick Land because his writing was titillating does not now seem to me abnormal at all, it is like having an addiction to Tchaikovsky or Wagner–something that catches the ear, esp. a musical ear. The Troll recently insisted upon things that you had proclaimed, viz., that I ‘had been scarred’ by this experience. How would you know that though? Just because it caused some unhappiness. You’re also saying that these attacks caused ‘weakening’ in you, whether or not you knew the identities. What was interesting about this last time was that there was a strong emphasis on ‘SCARRING’ so as to make it deep, but all it did was reveal the identity of someone I had thought had not been involved (although he ‘saw no scars’, rather ‘parodied traxus’, you might say, to put it nicely, and it deserves little more than a mention). But what it was meant to do was precisely what Dejan always meant to do to me on that bleug to, which was to create situations in which I was ‘built up and praised’, only to then be thrown to what was meant to be humiliation. Interestingly, it was not possible to humiliate me, although that didn’t mean the efforts weren’t disagreeable and temporarily hurt. This was, of course, to punish my own cultural elitisms and snobbisms, which I’m sure I did lay on too thick often enough, and I suppose I hurt people this way. Now much is left unsaid, although I can’t say I’ve changed that much. In the end, I did succeed in resisting the two most extremist characters in the bleug experience–Arpege and Land–and found that neither Marxism nor neo-conservatism still interested me, and maybe I just needed to prove it to myself–especially the incredibly arrogant attitude that Marxists have that you couldn’t possibly disagree with them if you had any moral fiber at all. Furthermore, with the new quotes on Nick’s ‘lesbianism in the unconsciousness’, I’ve been amused that a ‘potent Lesbianism’ for today’s feminists is described in an old Land text has been described in such a way that it ought to give technical assistance to Arpege’s idiotic program to promote Lesbianism and Black Supremacy at all costs, because it’s got a lot more pith to it, given that he was quite a willing subject to go into these celebrations of ‘making it with ugliness’; and so she might be able to get people more sexually attracted (which was the subtext in her stupid Agamben rants) to the victims at I.G. Farben (I think that was what she was talking about) than the unconscionable focus on the dick-jacker Nazis, which she seemed to think Agamben and Jodi Dean and Zizek, et alia, you name it, were focussed on. For SEX, yes, and that’s what she couldn’t make clear. Fairness and justice don’t have anything to do with who is sexually attractive in an extreme circumstance, but it is not likely that any of these rather tame people would find the ‘hot Nazis’ misbehaving in front of dying people a la Bataille ‘exciting’ were they in the presence of the actual carnage. Although with Bataille, one never knows: He seemed to like these images, photos; it was as if one ‘must be attracted’ to this kind of hideousness as if a natural law, just like water finding its own level. I disagree, and I think Brassier does too. You obviously do, and your post, as already mentioned, on Land’s Bataille book, was most timely. It still took me a long time and a lot more crazy interaction, but the net result was a sadness that the ‘unreality proponent’ cannot hold sway agaist the ‘reality proponents’. He invokes pity, but you cannot be merciful after a certain point, because the solution he is advocating is not a ‘curative’ or ‘healing’ thing, it is that you join him in what, for lack of a better term, is ‘the reality of unreality’, and this is one of the reasons he was found at dejan’s for several years, because Dejan’s use of Lacan is equally irresponsible and based on ‘reality is pain’ and you get nothing else from me. Once you refuse this, he then ‘has said enough’, as he wrote me after deleting the bleug the last time. It was never possible to pretend that anything profitable was going on there any more, so I just went for the warfare, and in that way the carnage was stopped. Now where YOU and Mikhail and the others do it is perhaps more complicated, because you do have to get very overt if you want a situation to really change instead of continuation in its own dissipating, degenerative way. You may all be doing that, in your ways. But tricks are definitely played by those, like Arpege, for example, to make it seem like ‘this is just the net’ so don’t take it seriously, but that’s always just to ward off criticism of themselves (‘my bleug is too small’ , but I can criticize ‘the guardian’ because that’s read by many and affects PEOPLE, but ‘don’t get personal with me and leave me ALONE!’ and ‘you just want to get Sayeau fired’, and this, esp. ridiculous when she admits that ‘leninino’ and Nina Power have both gotten people fired for things they’ve written. Why not me? Well, indeed. But I don’t want to deprive him of this job he claims to hate, and not because of that–I just don’t have that sort of pettiness. If he overtly came at me the way the Troll at Dejan either DID or CLAIMED TO (he later denied this, said ‘it was a joke’), then I took action, wrote the wife, that had no effect, so I worked the business bleug for 4-5 months until he was wound down and knew he’d never get anywhere again. He would just be left with the hope that he might ‘touch a nerve’, etc., as dominic said in the troll paragraph.


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 8 February 2011 @ 11:21 am

      • I think the only time I suggested possible “scarring” had to do with a childhood experience of yours that you mentioned on the blogs. That your Troll would so recently recite a remark I made long ago testifies to a closer reading and a longer memory than I’d have expected from a lurker. It sounds as though you’ve come through the blog escapades stronger than ever, besides which you’ve made some literary use of the exchanges, so chapeau.


        Comment by ktismatics — 8 February 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  25. Merci, monsieur! Could you fill me in on that, though? I feel ridiculous that I don’t know the incident in question that I obviously wrote about; was it by any chance the one about the barber who kept throwing my head around? Although there were others, including as a teen-ager following my teacher’s directives to the letter in a perf. of Tchaikovsky, and with DISASTROUS results. I never ever felt both so chivalrous and so stupid. If I wrote something else, though, I’d like to know what that was.


    Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 8 February 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    • long ago testifies to a closer reading and a longer memory than I’d have expected from a lurker

      and they DO have these when they get seriously on somebody’s case. I have to say I have this characteristic in common with them to a great degree, but I tend to have something of a photographic memory (not quite, but a good one) which I always thought came from memorizing music.


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 8 February 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    • Those two incidents sound intriguing, but it had to do with your uncle taking liberties with your preteen self.


      Comment by ktismatics — 8 February 2011 @ 1:00 pm

      • Oh my god, you don’t mean my uncle, so godawful Baptist and full of shit, that I saw fucking his unbearable wife on Sunday afternoon, I guess in order ‘to sin’…that definitely SCARRED me, as it was by far the first and worst porno I’ve ever seen, but I wasn’t fondled myself and they didn’t even know I saw. But their little 2-year-old boy was hopping around the bed while they were at it. I may also have written that my SISTER actually was molested, albeit not severely or ‘all the way’, but one of my mother’s first cousins, who would be like an uncle. The actual uncles never touched me, although they all made me feel like shit for not wanting to be a football star like brothers (one of THEM got a little cloyingly intimate with me once, not too much but I disliked it, after he’d been fucking his wife while I took a shower, to show what a stud he was–looking back on that, I find that one funny, because his wife is SO disliked among the whole family, that even my mother, who could at least pretend to like everybody, could not hide her intense distaste…it was (and continues to be when I dish her with my sisters) hilarious, and she tried to make nice-nice with my mother by giving her this hideous ring with birthstones for each of her 5 children! When my mother died, I kept this ring, and my sister ‘What do you want with THAT worthless thing?’ She can be quite funny. And the OTHER sister lives right across from the ‘original porn star uncle and hideous cowlike aunt’, in a state of permanent shock–not only referring to ‘that WOMAN!’ but also horrified at their 42-year-old creepy son who is socially retarded and freaks us all out. I also had an alcoholic uncle, but only my father and brothers and I liked him; the women folk all thought he was just ‘awww-foool’….


        Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 8 February 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  26. Eloise, I am deliberately not praising Kenzie’s paintings because I feel that your harsh dismissal of Mikhail safely ”forgets” to mention that your dismissal of the objectoshisists used to be equally harsh in that time they didn’t link up to your blawg. It is only when you saw even the slighest chance of academic endorsement, that you started to act as their wooden lawyer – and for fuck’s sakes, TO MIKHAIL, of all people. This is a disgraceful set of comments.


    Comment by parody center — 9 February 2011 @ 10:48 am

    • john, these just went up, and this is what I meant. Please don’t complain about ‘laziness’ in this case. He has no right to write such things about me here, but I knew he couldn’t allow me to have even a SINGLE discussiion with you without the usual pushing and shoving. The one below DITTO. Not that it’s my right to ‘police your bleug’, but as you well know, I even like ‘mikhail’, and don’t think badly of him, insofar as he reveals himself. Frankly, I even said so very explicitly to him yesterday. I mainly don’t go to PE to write anymore, because thge ‘doomed pilot’ troll was clearly ‘born’ when I discussed the conference with Andrews and Mikhail and others. I don’t know why Mikhail is so bitter, but Dejan has no point at all, as he’ll just change with the wind on anything.


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 9 February 2011 @ 11:00 am

      • Already dealt with the one directed at you just as you were posting this comment. I’ll go back to the one directed at me directly.


        Comment by ktismatics — 9 February 2011 @ 11:02 am

    • I’m not sure I get your drift, pc. In this post I endorse Brassier’s realism on most points, which implicitly critiques the OOO POV on those same points. How do you see me advocating OOO anywhere in this post? Or critiquing Mikhail’s critique of OOO?


      Comment by ktismatics — 9 February 2011 @ 11:06 am

      • Yes, and I don’t oppose the basic critique Mikhail has of ooo either, just by now, the endless threads of OOO gossip, esp. the Egypt one (which continues), really do sound like ‘green-eyed demon’.


        Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 9 February 2011 @ 11:08 am

      • I agree that “gossiping” could be a little too much at times, but it’s all based on the publically available information – we have the right to “gossip” about OOO figures as much as if we “gossiped” about recent movies or public events. I.e. whatever these figures choose to share publically is fair game, no one forced them to share it. Internet’s (and life’s, for that matter) default condition is anonymity and privacy (I don’t know people’s names unless they share them and I don’t force their views out of them), anyone who chooses to share any information in public makes a conscious decision to “out” him/herself and be either agreed or disagreed with – that’s my basic premise. Nothing I’ve ever said or written about anything (on blog or otherwise) was illegal, perverse, offensive or insane. People in high places (like universities) are pushing the boundaries of “free speech” these days precisely with the strategy of “free speech is okay unless it offends someone” where “offends” is given the widest possible meaning – the old totalitarian repression is gone, now it’s mostly the censorship of civility and I’ve expressed myself on the matter on multiple occasions.

        Finally, I’ve always enjoyed my exchanges with you, Patrick, under whatever pseudonym you chose to appear on PE – for what it’s worth…


        Comment by Mikhail — 9 February 2011 @ 11:56 am

      • Eloise I couldn’t give a flying feather what you’re critiquing or not, the point is you became TOLERANT towards the object-oriented psychosis at that moment when you realized you could score God knows what narcissistic points (what a sorry reward for such debasement), being a part of their blawgrolls. Before that you loved pissing in the parody toilet together with the rest of us, and I miss those times. Then came a ”sobering up” and ”coming to your senses” phase, which included taking the parody center off your blawgroll, and getting all prissy and suave about my alleged gambling with your e-mails, and all those stories about ”civility” and censoring foul language out of the pristine whiteness of the Clysmalysis. It’s not FUN anymore, and this moralizing against Mikhail Grozny, who is one of the more entertaining blawgers out there, is just appalling.

        As for Madeleine’s Unified Troll theory, it’s dead on arrival for the very act of her ABUSING THE MATERIAL FROM THE BLAWGS to write a book, is an act of Trolling par excellance, as well as being grey vampirish; her plans for the book remain anonymous, and she mercilessly abuses other people’s thoughts for her own obscure ends, most of which are quite probably sexual in nature. Besides that she’s also a Party Pooper, like you, all she managed to do is force me to shut down my blawg.


        Comment by parody center — 9 February 2011 @ 5:40 pm

      • I just took a peek at Larval Subjects and no, I am still not blogrolled there, nor at Perverse Egalitarianism for that matter. You may recall that I also deleted doctorzamalek’s blog for similar reasons to yours. You might be right, though, that I’m not as fun a bloggist as once I was, but I sense that this is endemic. This afternoon, for example, I’ve been trying to come up with a stimulating new post but so far I’m coming up empty. I’m currently looking through the “books of the year” selections from a December Times Literary Supplement which my neighbor passed on to me, hoping to find something that I’d like to read soon, but so far no. I could post screengrabs from television series I’ve sampled over the past several months, which have included Six Feet Under (pretty amusing melodrama), Mad Men (should be called Dead Men), Breaking Bad (my favorite), and True Blood (campy and kind of funny), but of course none of these is as classy as The Wire or The Sopranos so I’d be exposing my gaucheness.


        Comment by ktismatics — 9 February 2011 @ 6:48 pm

      • Why are you even blogging about these things, John? You admit yourself that you know shit about philosophy and OOO is all philosophy…


        Comment by Михаил Емельянов — 9 February 2011 @ 10:58 pm

      • Because it interests me, some days more than others — the same reason I write posts about anything else.


        Comment by ktismatics — 10 February 2011 @ 6:23 am

  27. Just to mention that it may have even been Dejan that went on about the ‘scarring’ in those recent Troll posts, because that time the Troll said ‘how skilled Dejan’s analysis was’. This is simply inexcusable, although if they think I’m ‘scarred’ or ‘battered’, that’s by the by and of no importance now. I had finally covered all territory once I even said that ‘doomed pilot’ might even be Brassier parodying himself, although I doubt it. It sounds like one of his friends doing ‘in-jokes’ about him, Robin I suppose. btw, just correction for the book collection: Fisher, yes, a protege, but it is Mackay and Brassier who edited all those texts, Fisher would have never been able to work with either of them on this volume (I imagine you didn’t notice this because Mackay was scheduled for the conference, but ‘got an understudy’ instead. Even that would have been sort of interesting, the editing process, because they must be quite friendly, and Brassier has had events with Mackay at Falmouth even; I believe a year or two ago, it was just a discussion of Darwin between them. Brassier the bigger name by a long shot, though, as a philosopher, but Mackay’s journal has been successful. Ultimately, they’re ALL interested in sci-fi more than I care to be.)


    Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 9 February 2011 @ 11:06 am

    • Eloise don’t give me that cognitive-behavioral bullshit about technical details – are you on dr. SInthome’s blawg, or not, on how many blawgrolls are you, and what are the statistics. Once you get on Fossey’s blawgroll, you’re ONE OF THEM as far as I am concerned. They’re all busy with some quasi-paganistic revival of vulgar materialism via Kablabla, out of which only THEY will profit, not Egyptian demonstrators – all of ’em, with the honorable exception of my hero and cyberpunk icon Shaviro, who is just a cyberGoddess.


      Comment by parody center — 10 February 2011 @ 11:39 am

      • So it was actually YOU, Dejan, who was ‘rejected by Nick Land’, not only by me? I don’t see why John lets you write here at all, and in fact, you never stop bothering me.

        John, I hope you’ll delete that filth about the ‘Madeleine’, as that is what it’s all about, not the ‘missus labia’, etc., which doesn’t matter. If he wants to write this shit, he should write on his own bleug, so as I said yesterday, this one is an overt attack, meant to cause overt damage just by continued repetition–he thinks he’s found my Achilles Heel in Nick Land, but it’s really just that he is overtly trying to express his hatred. I can’t write another remark as long as that stays. I’ll be out for awhile, but even with difficulties, there was possible some kind of discussion between you and me and Mikhail. He is here writing to me as if it were his own bleug, where ‘anything goes’, but what is unbearable is not what he says, but rather that he is allowed to follow and stalk me anywhere, so that I am not allowed to write at all. And that’s going to be the net result. Not that today is any worse than yesterday. As I’ve said several times, there has not been ONE discussion I’ve been allowed to have here without this vile creature’s swinish attacks, and OTHER people, like Dominic, and even traxus, have stopped her. You did yesterday, and I hope will today.

        It’s my own ‘rejection’ a la high school of him that he’s talking about anyway.


        Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 10 February 2011 @ 11:50 am

    • I see that the Cultural Parody Center appears on Dr. Sinthome’s blogroll. That means you’re ONE OF THEM too, no? And you’re on Shaviro’s blogroll too, but I’m not, and if Shaviro isn’t ONE OF THEM I don’t know who is.


      Comment by ktismatics — 10 February 2011 @ 11:46 am

      • Thanks, I see it happened just as yesterday. It’s very unnerving to have someone crawling up your ass every few seconds. I’ll be out for a few hours. Talk to you later.



        Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 10 February 2011 @ 11:53 am

  28. Mikhail–thanks, yes, I’ve always enjoyed them, but it is necessary that I insist the difference between my kind of pseudonyms (the ones I use) and yours (that you use, and some others, and maybe some other varieties and hybrids). Mine are always identifiable as ‘Patrick’, as I’ve said. Yours aren’t; I don’t know ‘who you are’, except that you are a professor somewhere in Arizona or Colorado and go to HD broadcasts of the Met sometimes. As ‘Mikhail’ (if you don’t use any other pseudonyms as well), I see you as close as possible to a single entity as I can without knowing the real name. While Dominic claims to have done little or no trolling, I still only value (consciously anyway) the exchanges I have with him under his real name (he’s a likable rascal, so I don’t necessarily believe him, but has enough talent to offset some of the probably naughtiness). You’re perhaps unique for me in this ‘pseudonym’ business, because it always seemed I was talking to the same person. But ‘pseudonym’ isn’t the same thing as ‘trolling’, as I agreed yesterday; The Trolls at CPC wanted to make sure I ‘imagined their identity’, but never would say they were in email, etc. In email to me, you never told me you weren’t writing as ‘Mikhail’, but just somehow assumed I would know. It doesn’t matter, that part, though, as long as I’m talking to ‘Mikhail’, I’m fine that it’s a specific person that I’m reasonably sure of his identity.

    Yes, you have the right to talk about whatever OOO gossip you want to, I just got tired of some of it–how serious is that? I don’t have to like the posts here, there or anywhere else, and for some years people have been stoning the first chapter of my new book as garbage. Since that’s all any of the bleugers have seen, it only added to the challenge of the rest of the book, and even caused some of the structure to form in certain ways as a result of the storm around it. They have the right to scream and yell at me, but yes, we do tend to favour the ones who do less of it, sure.

    “Internet’s (and life’s, for that matter) default condition is anonymity and privacy”

    That’s your opinion, not mine. Anonymity and privacy are not the same thing. But it’s not worth belabouring. If someone is actively harassing me too much, I may interfere with their identity and ‘privacy’ quite as much as they interfere with mine. An ‘anonymous’ is quite free to interfere with ‘privacy’ in ways he, in fact, doesn’t even feel necessary to acknowledge, much less go as far as some anonymouses have gone with me. Do what you want–I haven’t thought you did anything illegal, etc., and don’t care that much what may or may not be ‘offensive’, but I can remark on it just as you can write the ‘ooo gossip’. But I don’t consider the ‘default position’ to be the ‘anonymous’, because the ‘anonymous’ for one thing, definitely feels free to invade the ‘known person’s’ privacy, and often does. In my case, it used to make me try to find out ‘who is the anonymous’, even though I more or less knew who he/they were, even if there was some pinch-hitting. I got some of it wrong, and one managed to get closer than I wanted, now that I look back on it. I was lucky in that case, but it won’t happen again. And that was someone I knew by name, and met in person. But ‘privacy’ is much more easily interfered with by an ‘anonymous’ than by a known, who knows the consequences this may entail. The most severe case I had involved someone who was so certain he could have it both ways that he ended up having to ‘default’ to MY MERCY. And he did, whether he knows it or not. But that’s neither here nor there, it doesn’t always matter equally: Dejan, for example, never hides his identity either, unless it’s unbeknownst to me, even he uses a ‘pseudonym’ like ‘parody center’, etc., but not in all cases is always using one’s name going to be a recommendation for one, e.g., Harman and many others. Don’t worry about it.

    (I don’t know people’s names unless they share them and I don’t force their views out of them), anyone who chooses to share any information in public makes a conscious decision to “out” him/herself and be either agreed or disagreed with – that’s my basic premise.


    Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 9 February 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    • “I don’t know people’s names unless they share them and I don’t force their views out of them), anyone who chooses to share any information in public makes a conscious decision to “out” him/herself and be either agreed or disagreed with – that’s my basic premise.”

      I see I left that piece hanging. My emphasis is the abuse that many ‘anonymous posters’ are able to execute purely because of their anonymous status. You cannot disagree with this, just because it does not apply to you (as far as I know.) If you want to think ‘anonymity’ is the basic ‘default position’ on the internet and even in real life, that’s your business too, but I don’t think it applies to people who have been talking to each other for several years, esp. when one knows who the other is and the reverse is not the case. Since you want to make a point of appreciating our conversations just as I have, it doesn’t matter in your case; but in the other case, as with Mr. Sayeau, it did matter, and he had even gained a certain amount of ‘aura’ as a result of his anonymity overtly (in the sense of even talking about it as such, including in anonymous emails at one point) being exercised to ‘have power within the dialogue’ (or whatever you’d want to call something that defiled). For whatever reason, I decided to find out who he was (I suppose I could research you too, if I cared to bug you that way–I don’t, because you don’t seem to be trying to create a mythology of yourself, and that had begun to really bore me, not that I hadn’t often been quite rough with him). I did find out, but the result wasn’t serious for either of us, I just don’t care to write on his bleug, and he surely is glad of that as well. So, he and I agreed on something. But he was right in that one case: He seemed to have a more ‘magical persona’ as long as he was unknown to me, and there have been a number of others like that; it was interesting how several of them lost their ‘magical auras’ after they became known, but not nearly all, and even those who retained them weren’t necessarily more interesting than those who I definitely do know the names of.

      Enough about this, there are an infinite number of variations on these things, including accusations of hacking, and then even getting the perp mixed up with that (not me, someone else), and so forth and so on. People troll anonymously when they get ‘offended’ too, of course, as they did with me at CPC. Big deal. So we all went through it, and here we are, as Ethel Merman would say, concluding ‘next day on your dressing room they’ve hung a star, let’s GO on with the show..’


      Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 9 February 2011 @ 1:44 pm

      • “Enough about this”

        Agreed. I’ve thought long and hard about these issues over the years and my position changed significantly (becoming more conservative and along the lines that you are explicating here) – I don’t disagree. Hell, many people harrass others under their real names! Being an asshole and being anonymous are not causally connected in my view – anonymity does not create assholishness, it only gives it a channel…


        Comment by Mikhail — 9 February 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    • I did distinguish between anonymity and privacy with an “and” [“Internet’s default condition is anonymity and privacy”] – so they aren’t the same. If I anonymously invaded the privacy of your house or sent you unsolicited harrassing/threatening emails out of the blue, then of course it’s wrong and in many cases illegal! My point was that once you post publically (afterall, blogs allow for semi-private posting with “subscription only” access and so on), it’s public information and if I comment on it, publically as well (remember, that’s the “definition” of the troll = attacking in public and with an audience), it’s fair game. You can judge me for my taste and my choice of topics to cover – that’s fair and even if I might not like it, I’m ready to live with it, it’s part of expressing your views in public.

      Otherwise, I don’t understand what you mean by “privacy” and “anonymity” – plus this conversation is SO human-oriented that I feel uncomfortable.


      Comment by Mikhail — 9 February 2011 @ 1:47 pm

      • “Being an asshole and being anonymous are not causally connected in my view – anonymity does not create assholishness, it only gives it a channel…”

        Yes, assholes, like saints, are known and unknown (I’ve always wondered if Martha Graham had never heard the term ‘unknown saints’, as it’s too attractive to have gone unchoreographed–and yet both sorts are celebrated on All Saints’ Day. Maybe a little like the greater urbanity of priests to most monks.)

        Of course, anonymity does not create assholism, but it definitely offers certain forms of it that cannot be done, at least to any length, without it. For example, my hypnosis by the trolls at CPC was purely because I thought it was important to find out their identity once I thought the writing was ingenious and clever; it probably has to do with the fact that I surpassed the writing quality myself (at least in my judgment, I ended with thinking I was the more skilled) that I developed the Theory of the One Troll, who could be a collective or an individual, c’est-a-dire, whereas once the Troll had really mattered (and looking back at that, it seems as though I went through a totally delusional, insane period, but just as easily it can be seen as a learning period: There are those of us who continue to learn even as we get much older, and are not as set in our ways as others, certainly most people my age are much ‘more set in their ways’ than I am, at least in some ways, I suppose I’m rigid in others). But a ‘pseudonym’ must be for practical understandable reasons usually; trolling under fake names is very often just for mischief. There is no question of this, and ‘my Troll’ even admitted in late 2009,’yes, I started the mischief a year ago almost exactly today’.


        Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 9 February 2011 @ 2:19 pm

      • “My point was that once you post publically (afterall, blogs allow for semi-private posting with “subscription only” access and so on), it’s public information and if I comment on it, publically as well (remember, that’s the “definition” of the troll = attacking in public and with an audience), it’s fair game. ”

        In a pedantic sense, yes, and legally, yes. But it’s more complicated than that, I’m relieved enough to have defeated my troll by realizing the ‘undeathness’ and impotence of the troll (he imagines he has powers, and maybe does get some purely monadic masturbation in the brain, for all I know, but I don’t consider that to be important if he can’t SUSTAIN it, which mine couldn’t. Once you’ve been through the kind of online trip I’ve been through, you don’t worry too much about the details, and it does end up as proof of one the main themes of my book, which I wasn’t expecting. But the internet is hypnotic even when you’re determined it won’t be, until then all of a sudden it’s not all that much. There’s more to be said, but not right now.


        Comment by du Rififi cine-musique — 9 February 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  29. Christ. The claustrophobia was bad enough when I discovered Simon Critchley of ‘Fanged Noumena Blurb’ fame’s classroom location, office address, and hangout directly across the street. Now I could ‘tour’ the Collapse editor and others in their day-long symposium of Negarestani’s ‘Cyclonopedia’, which is very popular among the youngsters. He started Hyperstition with kpunk and Nick and Robin used to be part of it, then there was just Nick and some neocon talk with Steven Dearsley and northanger’s gematria. Even Dominic read ‘Cyclonopedia’, but I haven’t ever gotten quite interested. My cardinal sin was separating Nick’s writing off from the rest, after all it went against his philosophy of Hitlerian Communism, although it came rather naturally for me to do it, recognizing quality.

    Jesus, no telling, they’ll probably try to get in my fucking building, since I am inhibited by the obnoxious donation. After all (and do NOT mention what I purchased at the end of my walk last night, I’m in no mood for any more remarks about ‘EuroTrash Parks in Beijing’, although I’ll just say that nobody but the most civic-minded balletomane–of which there are several Lesbians on the board–wishes to see the National Ballet of China, who are bound to be gymnastic, and Urbanatomicians would say this is quite sufficient), as well this was pricey, and I also needed some Vermouth and Marsala today, so I will reserve judgment of my various nemeses by not attending even out of the keenest semi-curiosity; can’t be as good as the Garment District Flower Stores.


    Reza and I tried to be nice to each other, but I’ve told the stories enough time. He did have his fiancee bring me some nice cassettes of Persian Classical Music, although none of the CD’s work. Strange all around.

    Just looked at the schedule, that’s the same day Jack and I go either of two places, which I’ve mentioned often. I think we’ll do the uptown that day, as we could easily be found down here by some slacker from the symposium on a break. Lord, this is geographically interesting: Will surely be Robin’s first trip to the U.S., and he can go ’round being proper. Maybe traxus can fly up and join his crowd, that would be just fine, wouldn’t it.

    My trollery has taken the form of an ad for the book that was nearly wiped off the face of the earth by these people (more than I knew), I thought this was just the time to start. Let ’em know who knows the goddam neigh-ba-hood…


    Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 10 February 2011 @ 12:04 am

    • Probably his first visit to NYC, I should say. I recall he’s been to Las Vegas and San Francisco, which was an odd thing, esp. since I think it was his first plane flight, and that means no stop even after the ocean.

      Just discovered this by accidentally finding the link to Reza’s bleug ‘Eliminative Culinarism’, which goes along with the next issue of Collapse, also by Reza, called ‘Culinary Materialism’. I suppose the thing would be to describe my book as the Original Troll said of it ‘as an execrable piece of shit about Messiaen Redbreast-Bird-Piece Opera (those don’t exist) and Coffee-Shop Veal Cookery (the sort with the not-quite-melted cheddar and call it parme-zhan.) Jesus, not enough energy to be angry at them anymore, esp. since found some pics of Brassier and Mackay at the Darwin conference that were none too flight-worthy. But you know, John, this IS interesting, esp. the ‘culinary’ part. I intend avoiding these people, of course. They wouldn’t know how to behave under the extraordinary new changes, and I can’t help them. The geographical horror is quite titillating though.

      Well, they won’t ever be able to find the pizza place uptown, so we’ll do that that day, even thought that’s not the right alternation for it, and Jack tends to always want to come to our bar here. Well, we’ll make an exception, I’ve no intention of pretending I want to see these people any more than they do me. Whew! I love the way they’re fitting in so perfectly with my love of infrastructure, though. Why, I even remember when they dug up all of 6th Avenue out the door and fixed the rusted shit. ‘All roads clearly do now lead to Manhattan’, it looks like…oh dear, so sorry, that should infuriate all Shanghai. Well, I’m not that happy about it either. Too bad. I’m sure they’re all basically nice chaps, I just don’t want to meet a bunch of basically academic theorists, and there are some other familiar names on there too. I’m certainly glad I found this out. I DO like having the upper hand when it comes to the metropolitan logistics.


      Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 10 February 2011 @ 12:22 am

  30. Oh you should at least consider attending. “A brief history of geotrauma” sounds obscurely intriguing. $10 donation is requested, which I presume means that you could choose not to donate yet still be granted access. You could decide whether or not to reveal yourself to the entertainers as the show goes on. I’ve attempted to read Rega’s stuff from time to time but found it nearly impenetrable — it’s hard for me even to imagine what sort of expertise is required.


    Comment by ktismatics — 10 February 2011 @ 6:40 am

    • I see that I wrote last night ‘the geographical horror is quite titillating, though’, not even noticing Mackay’s term ‘a brief history of geotrauma’. No, I don’t want to hear it, see them, anything, even if they didn’t enforce the $10 donation (they would.) What’s interesting is the parallel ‘geo-horrors’ in either camp (mine or Mackay’s, I’m going to stop referring to him by his first name any more, just as I’ll refer only to the other by his first name ‘Nick’, in hopes that people mix him up with the new up-and-comer that Fisher is always now referring to), and the parallel ‘culinary emphasis’ in either camp. To go there would be to let myself get ‘screwed’, as the Troll once differentiated from ‘fucked’, and on my own ‘geo-territory’. What’s more ‘leper creativity’ is not anything I am amused to be a part of; let these people live like this, this sort of thing goes along with ‘decay culture’, and Reza and Nick both found this precious or something, acc. to Northanger.

      Mainly, the minute you expose yourself to it, you are either with them or against them, as Bush said of the terrorists. These people are all comfortable talking about this kind of thing, while condemning everything I’ve cared about, so naturally the feeling becomes mutual. They are as sure that they are ‘cutting-edge’ with their talk of necrophilia and impotence as the Marxists are that they can call someone a ‘seriously bad person’ if they said something in a biggish journal that they themselves (a mere small bleuger like Arpege) merely said on ‘an obscure bleug’ where ‘you can kvetch with me, but we don’t hurt any-buddy, you know’.

      Too much has gone down though. I thought there could be some reconciliation a couple of years ago, but there can’t be, so I’ll just be cognizant of these TOURISTAS–although there are some ‘Native New Schoolers’ there, Mackenzie Wark, for example, who used to sometimes write at Jodi’s. What can I say? They should have trusted me? Maybe they shouldn’t, you know. After all, they certainly didn’t, and maybe they were right. I’m really not interested in this ‘lines of flight’, if that’s what they are. But it does seem to work like clockwork by now: And my ‘all roads lead to New York’ is less pride of New Yorkism than that I really have met bleugers, etc., because of living in this central place. But the sly one was the last, he ought to attend and bring a nice Arpegian faux-superiority to the proceedings (although he couldn’t insert that, she’s made clear that she’s not a lovecraftian, oh no she’s not, that’s ‘a demographic’ and SHE is not in it–oh well, he can go to the psychiatrist, at some point in most of our lives, somebody tells us to…he was always a slightly ‘off-note’ at Hyperstition, and it’s very noticeable when ‘doomed pilot’ disappears from PE–he’s clever, but by now 100% unwanted).

      But that was less obvious. What was obvious was when I met R’s fiancee at a restaurant here in 2006 and she was so delirious with Hyperstitionism that I don’t take chances like that again, if I think they really are chances (with the ‘sly one’, I didn’t know it, and was in great distress anyway, was looking for any relief, even lies would do obviously, that’s what I was getting, that’s certain). By far the most interesting thing she said, as she planned to go to live in Iran and ‘wear the veil’ as well, was that ‘Nick Land was at the center of what most interested her in this situation’ (which sounds perilously close to ‘the situation’ in ‘The Shining’, when Mr. Grady says something about someone ‘trying to intrude in this situation’ to Jack), and that was really the only interesting thing she said, since it didn’t make much sense to be giving the plaudits to Nick when she was going to marry Reza (whom she met in Dubai or some place after exchanging only emails). Who knows? Maybe Nick’s high-priestism was what ‘brought these two together’ and they would be loyal subjects. Not un-reminiscent of the troll recently speaking (first favorably, then damningly) of the photo traxus took of me in my kitchen ‘you are in capable hands’, which meant either he was free to speak in traxus’s voice, had directed him to photograph me, or was, in fact, traxus.

      I am sick of all this rot. Yes, we’re using his photo and giving him a citation for it unless he protests; but he’s not getting a single free copy (you will, of course, but otherwise, only Dominic, who may get some extra ones if he wants to take part in the promotiion process, given that he’s one of the artists involved–and my final poem makes some echoing references to his own poem, which makes his participation a little fuller, which it needs.) Not that I trust a single one of anybody at this point, one just goes on, but that kind of extreme-occult talk just sounds like ‘recreational hocus-pocus’ to me.

      Also, even if there were great efforts at ‘cold politesse’ in person, this always amounts to very little if you’re not functioning well as conversationalists on the internet–and my association with traxus had been totally dependent on my respect for Her Ladyship Arpege, which is now fully defunct (she ran out of trinkets of the sort that used to momentarily charm me, so I DO hope she is happy now that she has no distraction whatever from her ‘all working class all the time’ program, and this is what traxus is also stuck with. They’re in CAPABLE HANDS now, and they’re going to stay that way.)


      Comment by Illegal Dances of New York City — 10 February 2011 @ 11:19 am

  31. What I wanted to report is that upon reflecting on the Black Swan, I went back and looked at that last bit of the film where at the moment of Nina’s transformation, it alternately feels like she has indeed transmogrified into a black swan, and that she hasn’t. The camera switches back and forth from an image of the transformed Nina, to the image of a still-human Nina, but in the background, you see her shadow as a swan.

    I feel that it would be an error to interpret this in the Lacanian key, in the following sense: if Nina were merely split, then we would see Nina, and her reflection in a fractured mirror. However what we see on the publicity posters is Nina looking at (what seems like) a mirror image of herself, turning away from herself in the manner of Magritte’s ”Narcissist”. On the surface of things, this looks like ”splitting”, and the film certainly uses the codes of psychoanalytic dramatism, to attract market appeal. But when you look more closely, it looks more like there is a third Nina, standing before the Nina we see in the frame, whose reflection the Nina-turning her back-to-Nina is. In this way, it becomes impossible to determine whether we’re dealing with a reflection, or reality. Reflection=reality=reflection=reality.

    Which paradoxically, brings us back to psychoanalysis: as both Freud and Lacan argued, a man is judged by his deeds, not his words. So Nina has to INCARNATE a potentiality, not exactly ”within herself”, but rather in between those two planes – the so-called ”reality” and the so-called ”reflection” – which she can only do by taking the leap into the impossible. She thus has to give birth to emptiness and in this way steal the gift of God, the creation ex nihilo.

    This space ”in between” is mapped out by the perpetually mobile camera, floating around events and objects, and by no coincidence the most thrilling aspect of the film is its mobility, its ANIMATEDNESS. The camera seems to trespass that spectral realm out of which the Black Swan emerges, in all of his vicious glory.


    Comment by parody center — 11 February 2011 @ 9:20 am

  32. http://kronos.org.pl/index.php?23151,896

    Did you see this at Und fur Sich, or whatever it’s called? It’s more intelligent in terms of its fastidiousness than it is at all profound, which seems to be its intention. He cuts away a lot of superfluities, ties up loose ends, comes up with oddments about Marx, says interesting things about stupid bleug philosophy (while doing a minimum of it, but naturally, this is to me one of the impressive parts.). His talk of ‘narrative’ is more interesting as ‘possible gesture’ than it is persuasive, as he just doesn’t know. And christ, the involvement with ‘noise music’ speaks volumes to me: He’s got his own brand of half-wittedness; in fact, all those Urbanomic ‘peoples’ (couldn’t resist that neo-racist term, although it doesn’t quite mean anything), have, no less than the hard-marxists, had to conjoin either philosophy or ideology to art, and you even then find a Dominic Twitter musing about Brassier’s interview with this person, and one of the them is ” I think this is a loaded way of describing a neutral non-equivalence: it implies that the sword of truth always hacks away at narrative.” That’s a good summing up of what Brassier says, but he seems to take it more seriously than I do. It’s just banal, B’s voice is ready to be heard, people aren’t going to listen to Land ‘sensational ill-health old essays full of self-eaten organs or what-have-you- anymore, and they’re bored out of their skulls with the OOO’s, and they’re unbelievable silliness (including the people who do keep watching their every move as if they were Louis XIV). This talk about the ‘narrative’ is the least convincing part of the interview, and frankly ‘allows for art’ (as B. claims) only the sense he conceives it, not as I do. It’s little different from nature vs. artifice (or even ‘gardened and arranged nature’, for the best example),
    and then this: “I think that it is possible to understand the meaninglessness of existence,”

    But why could the ‘meaningless of existence’ be comprehensible in any important way. He talks of ‘psychologically satisfying’, as if the sacrifice of that satisfaction would not only be understood as necessary but already established and ‘just one of those things we have to put behind us as sentimental’, etc., which it isn’t, notwithstanding his later disclaimers about incomplete progress. But the ‘meaninglessness’ can’t be ‘understood’ because the ‘understanding apparatus’ is within the ‘overarching and ‘terrible-beauty meaningless’ (to quote that bore Jonathan Franzen) . So let ‘im try, who cares.

    ” and that this capacity to understand meaning as a egional or bounded phenomenon marks a fundamental progress in cognition.”

    As though anybody really cares, if that’s all it is. And yet all these philosophers act as though they can do without the ‘psychologically satisfying narrative’. Yes, they can! And I’m not going to worry about their suffering, since they thoroughly enjoy it.

    His colleague Mackay also has all these commissioned musical ‘events’, I believe he calls them, as part of his various Urbanomic projects. In a post about one of them, he states ‘music is more than just music’, which he should edit out even after a year of its appearance, as it is a stupid remark…if it weren’t a ‘useful fiction’ and even ‘life-enhancing’. It leads directly to ‘philosophy of much more than JUST philosophy’. But philosophers have an arrogance that is well beyond that of artists (or maybe it’s just of a different order of arrogance), and they would never think the exact same statement could be made of both philosophy and music (they’d want a hierarchy implicitly inserted.) Neither Mackay nor Brassier knows anything substantial about music, that’s clear, but minor.

    After reading the interview three times, he does speak in very ponderous ‘top philosopher tones’, and I would have to say it sounds if he’s earned that right more than the others, despite the appalling disorganization of some of it and the silliness of the ‘perniciousness of ‘God talk’. What I like is that he cites Epicurus, who is profound as ever, and those who haven’t read him still don’t know how simply he lived, and associate him with carousing, etc. I don’t think I’ve read more than quotes of Democritus, and can’t remember it. That some of it doesn’t ‘sound right to me’ doesn’t matter; while I may have read a fair amount of the stuff, I’m an outsider, and at this point, I am less interested in these people than ever, and quite surprised to find myself struck by this. Yes, as I wrote you privately, surely he is the best. He’s just maybe ‘not quite great’. Yes, he’s not, but he’s sort of endearing in his tireless search for something that seems both true and not totally cancerous. But Nietzsche’s ‘love of the false’ has a lot to it, and we all lie, and with sometimes excellent and productive results that even have virtuous benefits.

    The leper people will be here, but I’m even less interested in seeing the ‘proper Englishman’ and any of the others than I was before.

    I met this brilliant chef the other day who was otherwise so fatuous even I knew that I wasn’t anything that some of the online beasts make me out to be: we discussed how we weren’t interested in watching the Oscars (I didn’t watch them, except on the NYTimes Lede Blog Updates), since the Libyan wars are so much more interesting. And he says ‘yeah and they’re FUN’. I tried to cover this up by saying ‘well, this man is so crazy that it really if far more theatrical than Egypt or Tunisia, but so many have been massacred’. Well, I don’t personally care about individuals I don’t have contact with, the way all the wonderful Marxist surely do (they care more about them than their own friends and families–that’s why they don’t have any), but the idea of massacres being ‘fun’ was to me quite extraordinary in its vapidity and callousness. We had some business to attend to that didnt’ come to fruition as a result of this. Perhaps I should advise him to buy the Collapse productions on ‘culinarism’, Reza’s blog ‘Eliminative Culinarism’ and the like, although I doubt any of them can cook. This guy goes further than I do with cuisine: Cakes and pies from scratch, but Christian and jack and I stop short of wanting to fool with spun sugar decorations. That’s this guy’s supreme ambition, and ‘beating France in the International Pastry competition’. Maybe he’s forming his mind to most be receptive to most quickly cultivating spun sugar decoratives for weddings. There are all kinds of jerks.


    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 8 March 2011 @ 1:56 pm

    • Oh yes, I forgot that, about 5 months ago, someone wrote at CPC this delicious poem, summarizing the whole battles between me and Urbanomicananotomy, using the moniker ‘J.K. Rowling’. It was the usual troll, but wrote an intro that said that it was for a ‘children’s book that will discuss the misuse of the internet by speculative realist philosophers. For extra irony, I am having C Pellet do the drawings’. I’m fairly astonished that then Brassier, in much more sober mode, talks about the ‘online orgy’ and ‘how the internet can’t be used’ for certain things, etc., of these very specifically termed ‘speculative realist philosophers’, appeared. We were lifting it and using it anyway, but I have to remember to excise the ‘J.K. Rowling’, because that is big $$$$$$$$$$, and we don’t need a lawsuit. We’ll just use the usual Desiree and lafayetc, since the writer did not come forward, and we’ll go to press by mid- or late-April.


      Comment by idnyc — 8 March 2011 @ 2:32 pm

  33. I think it’s a very good interview: strong, cogent, responsive to the interviewer’s questions, engaging. The bit about the orgy of stupidity strikes some of the bloggers as reflecting an ultra-serious and curmudgeonly mind. I thought it showed a good comedic flair while at the same time stating definitively his opinion. Given my scrupulous standards of blogging civility I’d have had to decide whether to allow the remark had it appeared as a comment. I’d have let it pass, since it chides not the stupidity of the people but the stupidity of the ideas they’re promulgating. Amusingly, Brassier is the guy who coined the term “speculative realist” in the first place. I certainly take no offense at his denigration of philosophical blog debating, inasmuch as in all such matters I occupy the place of the dilettante flaneur. With respect to narratives, it’s certainly possible to combine fiction and nonfiction in entertaining and enlightening ways without thereby claiming that Popeye is just as real as Muammar Gaddafi.


    Comment by ktismatics — 8 March 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    • “since it chides not the stupidity of the people but the stupidity of the ideas they’re promulgating. Amusingly, Brassier is the guy who coined the term “speculative realist” in the first place.”

      I don’t know, in fact it makes as little sense as some of his other ‘Brassier Agonistes’ convulsions, when you combine the two. In fact, he probably should have gone and called names quietly, given that he’d invented the term himself. Not that it matters–I just looked at Mikhail’s, and see that I hadn’t noticed that they’ve been talking about this for some 3 days now, and I had irksome tasks which didn’t allow me to follow the ‘online orgy of stupidity’ and her tributaries. the Dark Chemistry bleug manages to make sure Brassier gets his ‘just deserts’ (ball-busting, of course) quite as much as the others, and to scold him for ‘intemperateness’ (which is all anyone seems to want to do these days.)

      The title “I am a nihilist because I still believe in truth” is very drama-queen, like some up-and-coming BHL, but with darker, more serious tones.

      Yes, I’m fine with being a dillettante in certain areas, too, and it would behoove them to realize that they are also dillettantes in countless fields, that not everyone thinks philosophy is the ‘fundamental thing’ one does/is (even if they don’t know it.)

      There was a hilarious notation of the ‘Tragedy of Damian Veal’ mentioned. Just the memory of that moment made me want to go to the monastery and wash Amfortas’s Wound myself, as a kind of Holy Sacrifice to the Perniciousness of God Talk. Since I couldn’t make it, I just shed a few tears for the sad fate of the ‘despicable Sphaleotus’. One thing definitely clear: Academic infighting is the SAME no matter what the field. The stuff I read on these OOO/SR bleuger-peuples is not one whit different from when my old gf. Diane, was constantly involved in almost nothing else but that with her fellow art historians, many of whom I met, and only one of whom I’ve continued to be friendly with. They were as petty as possible, and likely to intend remaining so.


      Comment by idnyc — 8 March 2011 @ 4:36 pm

      • I had to google Amfortas’ Wound. It was self-inflicted apparently — “injured by his own holy spear, and the wound will not heal.” Apparently Jung mythologically interpreted Amfortas Wound as the damage one does to oneself by developing one of the “cognitive functions” — thinking, feeling, sensing, intuiting — at the expense of the other three. As a result, one finds oneself split between the civilized self and the barbaric self. One longs to heal the cleft, to unite the two selves, to be anointed by the balm of “the transcendent function.” This sounds yet again like The Black Swan movie, which really could have been better than it was. On a related note, I recently watched Kenneth Branagh’s 4-hour Hamlet and found it stunning, magnificent, inspiring. Almost without exception the acting was brilliant.


        Comment by ktismatics — 8 March 2011 @ 5:22 pm

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