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Last year, after the Pulse nightclub shooting, I was completely overwhelmed. I found myself, like many LGBT people breaking down in the middle of the day, crying, not sure why. There had been mass shootings before, but this one intersected so deeply with my personhood and history that I couldn't quite bear the burden of it in the same way.
I also realized I had no idea why these shootings were happening, and seemed to be happening on a grand scale (with more victims) , more and more. None of the explanations were satisfying: guns, Islam, mental illness, etc. They all seemed so...thin. Too monocausal. So I looked for people who were trying to formulate more complex ideas of what was going on, and to see what happened when their ideas intersected with my outlook.
This episode is the result.
IN THIS EP
- How revolution and and fascism are intertwined…: 2:30
- …and how the presence of Occupy and the death of Steve Jobs were evidence of that: 5:25
- Our political climate is marked by Presence: 10:00
- ISIS as the dark side of political presence: 10:20
- How the Egyptian Osiris/Seth/Isis myth ties into ISIS’s castration complex: 11:05
- How our political and social climate translates into mass shootings: 15:25
- Here’s the breakdown - neoliberalism, the contraction of time and space, and scientistic materialism lead to mass shootings: 19:10
- Mass shooters shoot to live; not people complete in their beliefs, but people who kill to complete their utterly un-complete-able selves: 22:30
- What’s our task right now?: 25:00
Walter Benjamin’s is stated to have said
“every rise of facism bears witness to a failed revolution”
But…well, I wasn’t sure where it was. But Zizek quotes him on it - A little digging revealed that it’s in the journal New German Critique - in the article “Theories of German Fascism: On the Collection of Essays War and Warrior." If you have JSTOR access, you can get it here.
If not, I suggest reading Benjamin’s excellent essays, especially those found in Illuminations, which is readily available.
I love the work of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, even though they’re contentious figures. Here’s a free PDF copy of their book Multitude. And here’s their newest book, Assembly, which I include here because it’s so new that is on my to-read list. (Want to go old school? Read their groundbreaking first book, Empire.)
The essay I wrote on Occupy vs Steve Jobs shortly after his death, “iOccupy,” appeared on Reality Sandwich and then in an anthology, Occupy Consciousness. You can download my essay and the rest of the book for free here. The anthology also features an essay by David Graeber and Doug Rushkoff, among others.
Here’s the Osiris and Isis myth. Wikipedia claims Osiris’s penis was eaten by a fish, but there are other versions of the story. So. That penis is out there.
If you don’t know much about bitcoin, here’s an amazing article in the London Review of Books, “The Satoshi Affair,” by Andrew O’Hagan. It may be a bit outdated at this point, but it's a good primer on bitcoin, and it reads like a spy novel.
“Hope simply means an open moment when you don’t know who is in power, and then the regime falls apart.” - Slavoj Zizez, from a book that’s a great intro to him, Demanding the Impossible.
Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide by Franco 'Bifo' Berardi is an amazing book. Not just for its detailing and theorizing in each chapter about a different mass shooter; but of its use of all that darkness to form an overall political picture of our moment. This is Berardi’s best book. There’s a great interview with Berardi on Vice of all places - but don’t use this as a substitute for the book! Read the book!
A bit of inspiration for this ep was also drawn from Todd McGowan’s stunning book, Enjoying What We Don’t Have: The Political Project of Psychoanalysis.
Thanks for watching and listening, folks!