Jul 30, 2019

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastYoutubeSoundcloud  

Like the show? Support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is what keeps it going. 


How exciting to welcome fiction writer, memoirist, and Aesop scholar Carlo Gébler to AEWCH  to discuss  how Aesop's fables present insight into fighting empire, how the powerful tell their stories, and more!

Carlo is a staple here in the Irish literary landscape. The son of famed Irish author Edna O'Brien and famed/infamous Irish author Ernest Gébler, Carlo was named after Karl Marx and has taught writing for years, including in prisons. He's written nearly 30 books for adults and children plus plays in total. His latest book, Aesop's Fables: The Cruelty of the Gods, which is beautifully (and intensely!) illustrated by Gavin Weston, retells 190 (!) of Aesop's tales, adding humor and amplifying the brutality of each one.

But, as you'll hear on the episode, Carlo isn't just retelling these tales for entertainment (though they are extremely entertaining), he sees in them strategies for resistance and hints at how power works. And Carlo reads a few of Aesop's fables, including "The Clever Lamb and the Wolf", "The Frogs Who Demanded A King", "The Flute Playing Wolf and the Dancing Kid", and my favorite, "The Fox and the Farmer".

We discuss

  • who Aesop was, anyway, and why he telling stories about animals
  • Aesop's curse
  • the fragility of the order of things
  • what to do about forgiving people who have done monstrous things
  • why we need to believe what we see
  • why we shouldn't want leaders
  • why revolution doesn't work
  • the difference between mythological art (which is no good) and occult art (which is good)
  • when and why to milkshake yourself


• For more Carlo, do read his brutal and emotional collection of short stories which take place in a Northern  Ireland prison, The Wing Orderly's Tales. Also, check out any one of his voluminous output, he's a great writer and thinker. His two most popular works being the biography of his father, The Projectionist, and his novel of murder and justice, The Dead Eight. And here's the event about Joyce's Dubliners that Carlo did with John Banville and Will Self.

• For an  exploration of changes in art as symptoms of changes in consciousness, read Owen Barfield's profound book, Saving The Appearances.

• The Lacan quote is paraphrased by Zizek in this short essay about Occupy. 

• It's a topic I talked about waaay back on AEWCH 1: The Vision Is Always A Fact (please forgive the sound quality!).

• Denis Johnson's truly great book of essays, Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond  has the story about the amulet. 

Until next time, folks


Become a patron to

Unlock 317 exclusive posts
Listen anywhere
Connect via private message