Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fourth

Righteous. I saw the latest version in Denmark a few weeks ago. Good name too: "This Is Not This Heat."


Friday, June 30, 2017

I Just Submitted This Review of Pink Floyd's Animals to iTunes

After a lifetime of listening to every Floyd album pretty much all the time--they're etched--Animals is the one I can listen to again and again. I mean out of both Syd ones and non-Syd ones, even.

It doesn't hurt that they gigged what turned into "Dogs" and "Sheep" for years before they put them down on vinyl.

For me, Animals is paired with Meddle, which is all about inner space (this one is about social space). Both predate one of the canonical "best" ones (Dark Side and The Wall respectively). Yet both are somehow really amazing, especially in how they show the band as a tight unit that can rock out. "Dogs" is the "Echoes" of this one while "Sheep" is an obvious rhythmical successor to "One of These Days." Both covers feature One Thing and both are greenish. Meddle has dogs and crows and simulated whales.

On Animals we hear Gilmour entering his majestic phase with a widescreen coldness that is also found on his first solo album. Some amazingly strong singing on "Dogs." And that basic arpeggiated seventh chord: fantastic. Likewise on Meddle he's pulling away from Barrett and starts to feel it his way. That parched guitar solo in the middle of "Dogs" where at times it sounds like the guitar is smacking its lips trying to feel some moisture. Which eventually comes in the form of slime (I'll explain in a sec).

And you'd have to go back to live versions of "Embryo" around the time of "Meddle" to find anything like the intensity Waters puts into the pig-harmonica solo in "Pigs."

The musique concrète-like use of recorded sound is done with incredible dexterity, so that it's a whole extra instrumental layer or several. The initial sheep bleats are in tune with the outro of "Pigs."

And possibly this is the best line ever, found in "Sheep": "Wave upon wave of demented avengers marched cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream." I mean, wow.

And I actually love the framing song. It's got that waking up from a dream quality you also find on Meddle, only in this case it's waking up from nightmares, aka the dreams that haunt social space, their phenomenology realized in horrific detail. A shelter from utopias: a utopia within utopia; love it.

But in the end, what remains the most mindblowing on the nth listen is the Rick Wright keyboard work about 2/3 of the way through "Dogs." It's haunting and slightly disgusting and beautiful, unwinding in some sweet spot between nausea and ennui. Melancholic yearning and disgust yet beauty: nice one.

In many ways it's the uncanny double of stuff Wright plays on Wish You Were Here. Rather than wasting away like evaporating mist as on that previous album, the feeling here has more to do with sinking down into the earth, dragged down by the stone, indeed, falling into water, vibrating with intensity. Earth and water: slime. This is an expressionist tune, but in a much more subtle way than anything on The Wall except for "Another Brick in the Wall Part 1," which also features lovely Wright (and/or Wright-like) work.

This part of "Dogs" is central to the overall project. And this is how it goes beyond Meddle, though the basic theme of being in a dream is similar to the strange dream-like (in a bad way) expressionist social space of Animals, in a sort of blurry and less disturbing way. Wright and this section in general really vividly exemplify in scary detail how the animals on Animals live in the uncanny valley between humans and nonhumans, the space of zombies and other abject beings, a kind of mass grave whose invisibility makes the nonhumans (such as the whales and crows on Meddle) look nice and different (so that it's mostly funny in a flat way how the dog howls along to the blues, and whales sound alien; hey maybe the pig-harmonica on "Pigs" is Roger's way of atoning for making the dog do that on "Seamus.") It's good Cooper and evil Cooper. Which is awesome because these are domesticated animals and therefore subject strictly to the uncanny which has to do with home. The full uncanniness of the human "home" and how it becomes the Island of Doctor Moreau aka Nature is exposed on Animals. Yeah. It's an ecological record. Pollution is everywhere, in that ancient Greek sense of miasma, guilt experienced as abject body fluid, moral pollution defining what kinds of beings count in social space.

If you think this tune is all about Gilmour that's not correct. Rick's work is sitting in a Gilmour chord structure for sure. But listen to something like that structure on his solo album from the time and you'll definitely get what I'm saying. It's the Wright slime and the vocoding dogs and humans that make this into something very special.

I know the rest of the band wasn't rating him at the time. Doesn't matter. Just listen to it.

Rick's piercing, pitch-bending, minor-key modulating "Dogs" solo is intertwined with the word "stone" that vocodes into the muffled moaning of the primordial slime, while dogs bark in tune as if rippling in a deserted underwater disco on either side of the stereo image, a sardonic human whistle vainly attempting to bring them to heel. It's a siren, it's that human whistle transformed, it's a funk keyboard rotting away in the compost by the railway line. Bingo.

You can easily compare what Wright does there to what Gilmour does in the very strange part of "Echoes," also about 2/3 in. Gilmour is also piercing, and vocal-sounding.

PS: When people who have never been to the UK ask me where I'm from, I say I grew up on the cover of Animals. Which is geographically and psychologically and aesthetically (always loved that building) pretty accurate as it goes. I grew up in a haunting postindustrial landscape where prehistoric ferns grew among tens of railway tracks surmounted by brilliant arc lights where birds nested and sang in the dead of night, because for them it was day. A couple of miles, give or take, from Battersea Power Station. Some of that technologically mediated melancholia can be heard in early drum and bass, where the use of sirens is quite Rick Wright-ish. My fried Heitham and I talk about growing up in this region all the time.

This actually explains a lot about my stance on ecological things.

Automated Sadism

The puzzle — and it is a puzzle, even for those who have long since concluded that something is terribly wrong with the modern G.O.P. — is why the party is pushing this harsh, morally indefensible agenda.

Think about it. Losing health coverage is a nightmare, especially if you’re older, have health problems and/or lack the financial resources to cope if illness strikes. And since Americans with those characteristics are precisely the people this legislation effectively targets, tens of millions would soon find themselves living this nightmare.

...

[T]his story began with a politically convenient lie — the pretense, going all the way back to Ronald Reagan, that social safety net programs just reward lazy people who don’t want to work. And we all know which people in particular were supposed to be on the take.

Now, this was never true, and in an era of rising inequality and declining traditional industries, some of the biggest beneficiaries of these safety net programs are members of the Trump-supporting white working class. But the modern G.O.P. basically consists of career apparatchiks who live in an intellectual bubble, and those Reagan-era stereotypes still dominate their picture of struggling Americans.

Or to put it another way, Republicans start from a sort of baseline of cruelty toward the less fortunate, of hostility toward anything that protects families against catastrophe.

In this sense there’s nothing new about their health plan. What it does — punish the poor and working class, cut taxes on the rich — is what every major G.O.P. policy proposal does. The only difference is that this time it’s all out in the open.--Paul Krugman

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Healthcare Is My Third Rail

"Under Obamacare, the majority leader’s home state, Kentucky, experienced one of the biggest reductions in the rate of uninsured people of any state in the nation."--NYT

The beyond stupid sadism of this only has to do with the momentum behind the effort to destroy Obamacare: "a black man created a law, so thousands of Americans must now die." (About 29 000 per year it has been estimated, once they go back to being screwed by the insurance companies.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

My Letter to John Cornyn (TX senator) on the Republican "health care" bill

Dear Sir,

I'm a Texan who is very concerned about the Republican health care bill that the Senate is about to vote on.

I'm almost tempted to encourage you all to pass it, just so that everyone will always remember that the thing that killed and made bankrupt so many people all over again was done in the summer of 2017 by the Republicans, a summer that will always bear that infamy.

All right then, do it. Pass it. Let thousands of people die, and reap the consequences of being so blinded by hatred of a black man's bill that thousands of actual Americans had to die.

Yours sincerely,
Timothy Morton

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The UK Election

This is much better than the 1997 Labour landslide. Why?

It's not happening inside of Tory space. The Conservatives owned political space since 1979 and were able to vilify and pathologize Labour. No more.

Now they will have to compromise, and been seen to do so, aka "being weak" from the point of view of the rigid right. UKIP will abandon them therefore. Labour will be the moderating voice of reason in Brexit.

The media will have to take Labour seriously and in a different way than simply saying "they're just like Thatcher only better."

The Tories won't be in charge of the symbolic framework at all, for the first time since 1979. People will see them having to listen to and respect Labour. They won't be able to idealize May or whatever, idealize what might have been, because she wasn't defeated massively. They will own all the failures. May and the Tories as currently configured will wither away. Labour broke their serve. The Tories are finished in a much worse way than in 1997. Bye!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

You Can Pre-Order Humankind

If you're in the USA, the UK or elsewhere I think you can do it on Amazon. I haven't looked at other places yet.

Look at the nice blurb (that's what the description is in fact called; an endorsement is in fact traditionally a puff!):

A radical call for solidarity between humans and non-humans

What is it that makes humans human? As science and technology challenge the boundaries between life and non-life, between organic and inorganic, this ancient question is more timely than ever. Acclaimed Object-Oriented philosopher Timothy Morton invites us to consider this philosophical issue as eminently political. It is in our relationship with non-humans that we decided the fate of our humanity. Becoming human, claims Morton, actually means creating a network of kindness and solidarity with non-human beings, in the name of a broader understanding of reality that both includes and overcomes the notion of species. Negotiating the politics of humanity is the first and crucial step to reclaim the upper scales of ecological coexistence, not to let Monsanto and cryogenically suspended billionaires to define them and own them.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Powerful Practical Righteousness

My lovely old bandmate Mike's lovely older brother laying down some righteousness against Trump on Democracy Now:


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Speaking in a Forest in Brussels Last Year (video)

The lovely imaginative group that put this together fantastically lit the path into the forest in the park.


Speaking at the Miracle Marathon Last Year (video)

...at the Serpentine in London, right after Genesis P-Orridge, whose psychedelic visuals are here by dint of special effects.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Japanese Ecology without Nature

That's right: it's coming later in 2018 and it'll appear with Ibunsha Publishing.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Yesterday

Derniers instants d'une lecture de tarot de Blake, au Palais de Tokyo pendant Notte Lusoria. #theta360 #theta360fr - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Come to Notte Lusoria Tonight and I'll Read Tarot for You

At the Palais de Tokyo. 5pm to midnight. In the basement of dreams. Alex Cecchetti's Notte Lusoria.

Piano, whales, glass harmonica, choir, tarot readings, a bar where a centaur will hear your love stories as payment for cocktails, and ever so much more.




Sunday, February 19, 2017

12 Year Old Kids Exposed to Fascist Disinhibition and What I'm Doing about It

Dear Ms. ***, 

Thank you for your apology. 

As for the explanation, you know what? No. This isn’t about free speech. 

This is about fascist violence invading social space. 

This is about a disinhibited atmosphere in the country at large. At *** School boys now think it’s okay to yell “Male supremacy!” and “White power!” in front of my daughter. 

“Free speech” isn’t speech at all if it’s being used without listening, attention or care. 

Or perhaps I should demand that I do a PowerPoint in your class insisting that ***'s dad is a ********* (insert suitable very bad words here). Free speech, right? 

This is the same atmosphere that since November 9 2016 (the election of Donald Trump) has caused quiet, introverted kids at my job (Rice U) to wear swastikas, daub them on statues, and deface a piece of the Berlin Wall with “Trump 2016” and “aloha” (aka “good riddance Obama”). 

*** 

I’m going to start by reporting this incident and that involving her best friend, *** (see below) to my friends at the Houston Chronicle, Houstonia Magazine and Huffington Post. 

Then when the New Yorker phones me up for a scheduled interview on Thursday, I’m going to report it to them too. 

I will not stop until you, Principal *** and the school at large have joined me in doing everything in our power to end this outpouring of obscenity in social space. 

Yours sincerely,
Timothy Morton





On Feb 19, 2017, at 10:19 AM, ***  wrote:

I apologize to you and most especially to your daughter. 
As I think you know, parents coming to lecture is encouraged in our *** class with community building in mind.
We had a presentation from an attorney who chose to speak on free speech. Mr. *** reviewed the concept in context of several examples. He made it very clear that hate speech is never legal or acceptable in school or any institutional setting. 
I was surprised when students clapped and thought it was due to politeness, definitely not prompted by me.
Thank you.

_____

(February 18)

Thank you for brining to my attention.  Let me meet with Ms. *** and get all the details.  I will follow-up with you.  Please provide a number you can be reached at.

***
_____

(February 17)

Thank you ***. How did it go? 

I'm afraid I have something else to report. 

It's about Miss ***'s *** class. 

Today there was a PowerPoint by ***' dad. 

It said that the KKK and the Nazi party are exercising their freedom of speech by using swastikas etc. 

It also said that the women's marches, by excluding pro life women, "are tearing our country apart." (His actual words in quotation marks.)

They were all made to clap at the end. 

What are we going to do about this?

I'm considering reporting it to the Houston Chronicle. 

With best wishes,
Tim

____
 (January 30)

We will follow-up.

***

_____

(January 30)

Dear Ms. ***, 

I'm deeply concerned about hate speech against ***, the daughter of a Muslim. Many things have happened to her recently, but perhaps the worst happened today, where students said "she should be killed before she bombs the school," 

This is absolutely unacceptable as I'm sure you know. 

The disinhibiting effect of the current president's speech has resulted in students at my job (Rice U), who are normally very shy and introverted, doing things such as wearing swastikas in the library. 

I understand from my daughter, who is *** best friend, that students have drawn swastikas on the dividers of students who attend classes that *** attends. 

When stuff happens at my school I tell the president to make a statement--he usually doesn't do it, for whatever reason--but I just couldn't hear what I have been hearing without writing to you to share. 

Yours sincerely, 
Timothy Morton

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Another Incident

I'm afraid I have something else to report. 

It's about Ms. ****'s Model UN class. 

Today there was a PowerPoint by ****' dad. 
It said that the KKK and the Nazi party are exercising their freedom of speech by using swastikas etc. 

It also said that the women's marches, by excluding pro life women, "are tearing our country apart." (His actual words in quotation marks.)

They were all made to clap at the end. 

What are we going to do about this?

I'm considering reporting it to the Houston Chronicle. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

You're So Gonna Hate This

The only problems are

--It's correct.
--Are you ready to diss the vast majority of African Americans, southern women in particular, who voted for Clinton?
--If you voted for (I can't write it) out of spite or actually believing him, are you happy now?

“Donald Trump, ever ready to pounce on the gullible and disenchanted, chimed in to confirm the pet fear of the far left, convincing many on the fence that the primary was rigged. Supported by legions of Putin operatives, Trump trolls infiltrated online groups to pick up the hammer to do further damage to Hillary Clinton — all the while propping up Bernie Sanders, the weaker candidate. It was classic ratfucking, a reliable scheme employed by the GOP since the Nixon era.

[By the way, my friend Danae, a massage therapist who voted for Sanders, knows several Sanders supporters who ended up voting for Trump.]

...

“Not only did he never invest the time and money to woo non-white southern voters, he shrugged them off as too ill-informed to be worth the effort — his supporters continue the ugly lie that only racist whites voted for Hillary in the South, discount the majority of votes she did have: women of color.”--Sasha Stone

Monday, January 30, 2017

Letter to the Principal

Dear Ms. Adams, 

I'm deeply concerned about hate speech against Amelie Panai, the daughter of a Muslim. Many things have happened to her recently, but perhaps the worst happened today, where students said "she should be killed before she bombs the school," 

This is absolutely unacceptable as I'm sure you know. 

The disinhibiting effect of the current president's speech has resulted in students at my job (Rice U), who are normally very shy and introverted, doing things such as wearing swastikas in the library. 

I understand from my daughter, who is Amelie's best friend, that students have drawn swastikas on the dividers of students who attend classes that Amelie attends. 

When stuff happens at my school I tell the president to make a statement--he usually doesn't do it, for whatever reason--but I just couldn't hear what I have been hearing without writing to you to share. 

Yours sincerely, 
Timothy Morton

You Happy Now?

At my daughter's middle school, 12 year old children are drawing swastikas on the dividers of kids in classes where her best friend is, who is the daughter of a Muslim from Indonesia.

Those of you who voted for him out of spite or out of actually naively believing he was talking and therefore was going act like Sanders: you happy now? Yeah? Happy now?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Go Naomi

“Our task is to find … the common thread that connects our movements. That means, first and foremost, dropping this nonsense of pitting class against so-called identity politics and economic justice”  --Naomi Klein

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

On Derek Parfit

This is a very nice piece about the lately departed anti-utilitarian utilitarian.

Monday, January 16, 2017

And On the Subject of Humankind

It turns out (thank Ingrid!) that Tristan Garcia, French OO philosopher and novelist and etc., is putting a book together about solidarity between humans and nonhumans too, addressing Marxism! So this topic is in the air. I really hope one day we can talk about it in public together.

Such a good job, because the books that are currently out there are disturbingly teleological, anthropocentric and even transhumanist (which might be the most insulting adjective I use in the academy lol).

Lecture in Dresden Next Week

On January 28th in the morning, at a theater and performance conference! I'll be detailing a theory of action I've been working out for my book for Verso, Humankind.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Evaporation

The fantasy support of an entire geopolitical and geophysical entity, in a deep sense going back to Puritan ideas of Adamic languages and Providence, has completely evaporated. 

The well, shucks, I guess I found myself sitting atop a gigantic lake of oil idea.

The dignified marble Sam the American Eagle and the lumpen gold plated all you can eat fantasy are revealed (as I argued in my book on spice) to be not just related but the same thing, just as Bill Bailey deconstructs The Edge's majestic wilderness guitar into “She'll be Coming Round the Mountain.” And revealed to the users of the different modes and versions of such concepts themselves. 

The lumpen fantasy has evaporated, the official version has evaporated. Not even the lumpen enjoyment means anything at all. 

By the time you realize you're in a game, you have already lost

The fantasy tablecloth has been whisked out. Sure all the “resources,” the waves of golden corn etc, are still in place--but the reason for them has gone. 

The ecology without nature part of me (like, all of it) is--come on in the water's lovely--really glad this is happening. Despite the local horrors and tragedies and the specifics of the particular actors who got magnetized to read lines that didn't have to be perfectly scripted. And despite whatever intentions the scriptwriters had, conscious or not.  

America has been turned on a shoestring into a gigantic piece of conceptual art. It can no longer think, in any mode at all, in any part of itself, that it coincides with reality. 

Discuss. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to figure out what and whom I'm talking about, which is evidence of the brilliance of the big picture as written by some historian 200 years from now. Some historian of the decadent twilight of post-Cold War USA stuff. (It was amazing arriving in the US in the 90s--more on that soon maybe).

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Masculinity

In the days to come, there were more declarations of acid satisfaction among the Russian élite. Dmitri Kiselyov, the host of “News of the Week,” a popular current-affairs show on state-controlled television, gloated over Trump’s victory and Barack Obama’s inability to prevent it. Obama, he said, was a “eunuch.” Trump was an “alpha male”—and one who showed mercy to his vanquished rival. “Trump could have put the blonde in prison, as he’d threatened in the televised debates,” Kiselyov said on his show. “On the other hand, it’s nothing new. Trump has left blond women satisfied all his life.” Kiselyov further praised Trump because the concepts of democracy and human rights “are not in his lexicon.” In India, Turkey, Europe, and now the United States, he declared, “the liberal idea is in ruins.”--The New Yorker

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"Knowing" Your Right vs Being Helpful

“A recent Urban Institute study estimated that 956,000 people in Pennsylvania and one million each in Georgia and North Carolina could lose coverage under a repeal done through a reconciliation bill. Most of them are among the very population Mr. Trump said he was running to give a voice to — nationally, 56 percent of those who would lose coverage are white, and 80 percent of adults who would lose insurance have less than a college degree.”---New York Times

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I Like This Line from This Essay I'm Proof-Reading

“In commodity fetishism, spoons and chickens don’t have agency: they become the hardware platform for capitalist software.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Is There Anybody Out There

“The overall lack of coverage about the specifics of Trump’s replacement plan represents a fundamental problem in media’s treatment of health care policy and must quickly change now that Trump is the president-elect. A recent study from the Urban Institute showed that 24 million people will lose health care coverage by 2021 if Congress repeals the ACA. Trump’s nominee for secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, is a known foe of the law’s birth control mandate, a regulation that has dramatically reduced out-of-pocket health care costs for women and massively expanded contraceptive coverage. Repeal could also roll back the gains made in reducing the budget deficit, extending the life of Medicare, and lowering health care costs that resulted from the implementation of the ACA.

“While no concrete plan for a replacement currently exists -- due to Republican infighting -- repealing Obamacare remains a top priority for the incoming Trump administration. Journalists must start asking questions about what a replacement plan will look like, how it will affect millions of Americans who gained coverage under the ACA, and what its true goals are. Every interview or panel segment about health care must begin with the question, “What is Trump’s replacement plan?” and include aggressive follow-ups about how it would function in order to hold the Trump administration accountable and educate the American public on the future of health care in the United States.”---Media Matters for America

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Julie Tremblay Talks about Realist Magic

Wow, look at those artworks too.

So Many Essays Are Now on academia.edu

...I've uploaded a bunch, so if you want to download things or whatever, please go ahead. Several of them are from very hard to get art books as well as the usual journals and stuff.

Wow This So just Made My Day

“What incredible riches you have been putting on the web over the last few days- thank you! All stimulating and intriguing papers, which I will send on to my 90 year old father who greatly enjoys your work; I'm sure it keeps him young and his mind nimble (he much enjoyed and appreciated Realist Magic).”