“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris


Friday, June 21, 2024

Lovely Spirit Spiritual Songs by Lovely Beings

 This Library of Congress post is incredible. You can hear them singing. 

"I’d like to honor two prodigious collectors of African American spirituals, Becky Elzy and Aberta Bradford. These two African American women, who were born into slavery in Louisiana, remembered over one hundred spirituals and shared them with people who had the institutional means to preserve them. The result is a published book in the Library’s general collections containing 120 songs, a microfilm shared by the American Folklife Center and the Library’s Music Division containing at least 6 unpublished songs, and 3 sound discs in the AFC archive containing 10 recordings of Elzy and Bradford’s singing"

Lovely Review of the New Book

 By Frank Mills, on his wonderful website

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Yeah I Have a Substack and I Said a Thing about a Post of Zizek's

 

I almost liked this a lot. But, come on—feeling sorry for what white people did and do, there’s no harm in it. A little bit (or a lot, even) of guilt and shame never hurt anyone. Just because it might spark a superego spiral is no reason not to go there. And looking stupid while you squirm well, that just comes with the territory. You can’t do this part beautifully. It’s called actual real conscience. Also, I’m not sure the “père” (of whatever kind) is implicitly pire-in-waiting. Even if it is, it’s being nice and irritating and oedipal for now, and that’s good enough for me, as a survivor of a pire of a father like you wouldn’t believe.

- Timothy Morton

Read on Substack

It's Juneteenth. It's Also My Birthday

 


Some Hell Interviews and Launches I'd Love You to See and Hear (links)

There are now loads of interviews and other events about Hell, which I would love you to listen to, so I'm aggregating all the links here. 

The one I just did for Future Fossils is a humdinger: two and a half hours of recording! Look out for the podcast. 

The one for KUHF's Houston Matters with Craig Cohen was so great. 

The dialogue I did at the Norwich launch is out and it was very moving and deep. 

I'm going to be on Sirius XM next Monday. 

Tomorrow I'll be doing the Deconstructionists podcast and next week it's Exvangelical with Blake Chastain. 

Miranda Melcher's New Books podcast was so great. 

My discussion with Paul Miller at the Yale Center for Sacred Music was very enjoyable. 

Andrew Keen's Keen On podcast was very compact and succinct. 

Hell: A User's Guide, the New York launch with Paul Miller was so awesome. 

Spotlights with Sam Mickey was wonderful. 

And The Traveler in the Evening with Andy Wilson was also wonderful. 

Eventually the launch at Washington University will be out on video. 

Talking of Andy Wilson, the Blake Society event was amazing. 

"Paradise," from the launch t Syracuse, was the original and really spontaneous. 

There are some interviews that I've recorded that haven't yet appeared: one with David Dault (Things Not Seen) and one with the Satanic Temple. 

"Dark Green Gods" was a seminar for a UK class on ecology and contemplation. 

The London launch is coming on video! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

This Is Wonderful and Really Important

 

Norwich Launch Photos

 

The Book Hive



The Octagon Chapel

Maurice, Joe Hedinger and Henry Layte






Joe Hedinger

Joe and Ruth 


At the London Launch

The Old Church (1563)

 


It was such an extraordinary contrast with the Norwich one. Complementary. Norwich: an eighteenth-century Unitarian church. London: the one remaining Elizabethan church in London (1563, on land noted in the Domesday Book in 1086. Norwich: pale greens. London: pinks and magenta light. Norwich: octagonal space, almost in the round, with a balcony. London: a stage with chairs surrounding the stage. 

These physical differences were matched by what we talked about. I say we because for me, thinking is a team sport, and now that I've met my cousin Lee, a bespoke suit maker, I understand the concept of decorum afresh. Decorum, a classical rhetorical concept, doesn't have to mean "fitting" language in some cookie-cutter way: language has to fit cliches, established by authority, so that dawn is always the rosy fingers of Aurora and so on... 

Decorum is TAILORING. It's doing what Harman talks about in Guerilla Metaphysics: going with the flow (or against) of the thing, following its directives. It's along the same lines as Heidegger's wonderful remark about rhetoric  as listening. 

Lee and I do the same job, that's patently clear. Lee does it with cloth; I do it with phrases. 

Audience size was the same in both cases: one hundred and twenty. But the vibe was different. I would put it this way, in terms of a radius from my personal life, my friendships, my family. Norwich had a greater radius--my life was in there, but the edge of the circle was to do with the political and literary and theological content of the new project(s). London's radius was narrower, which wasn't to say that it didn't include a lot of the book. 

But in London I had cousins, friends I hadn't seen in thirty plus years, friends I hadn't seen in ten plus years, so many wonderful people. My stepdad Maurice's friend Beverley came, a poet whose podcast I recommend most highly. 

Maurice was the continuity between both. How many times do you think I've been with my biological father to an event? Let alone out of town? Let alone to two in a  row? He did show up to one of my lectures, just one, but he didn't tell me he'd be there and I didn't see him afterwards. He did show up to a concert of my music in college, and he did show up to some of me and my brother's gigs. But trust me, it was different. 

 My childhood exemplifies Lacan's phrase "le père ou le pire": the father, or something much worse. It's a real stretch for Zizek to say that this phrase (originally ".... ou le pire") means that the "father" / oedipal authority is something that in the end needs replacing because it's intrinsically bad. I would have given ANYTHING to have a normal, slightly irritating, totally reliable and loving dad. And where do anti-Oedipal solutions go apart from into incest? Really? I'm not talking about an individual. You can imaging a commune whose authority is irritating and loving and consistent. Or you can imagine Jonestown. 

It's been an overwhelmingly wonderful week. 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Saturday, June 8, 2024

"How Deep Is Your Love" essay in a lovely new philosophy book

 ...edited by Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir, Elemental-Embodied Thinking for a New Era

Essay by Treena Balds and me! 





Houston Public Radio Interview!

 It was great to do this. Craig is very good at his job and had created a thoughtful and open atmosphere in his revamped studio. He asked incredible questions about the book. 

UK This Week!

 It'll be the first time I've been back to the country of my birth in FIVE years. 2019 was the last time. We were performing TIME TIME TIME in London to an audience of 800, that place was packed. The election had just happened and people were looking for reasons to think-feel beyond the horrors. There was a colossal standing ovation. People were crying. 

Now I'm going back to launch Hell and to be with my long lost stepfather--those two things are not really in order. I designed the trip to visit with Maurice, then people started talking with me about launching Hell, so Maurice and I will be traveling to Norwich and Stoke Newington too. I'll be signing books and inserting bookplates (they're really nice!) and talking and dialoguing with some wonderful people. For all kinds of reasons it's going to be very emotional. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Bad Faith documentary on Christian nationalism looks great

 “The current day assault on democracy did not begin with Trumpism. It did not begin with the Tea Party. It did not begin with the Moral Majority. It did not even begin in this century. The current day assault on democracy began with the White Supremacy Movement in the 1960s as part of a shrewd, calculated, and well executed plan that became cloaked as a religious movement. Today, those white supremacists and their heirs are known as Christian Nationalists. Bad Faith is their story.”

Discount at Columbia Store

 Use code CUP20 and you'll get a nice discount on my new book Hell: In Search of a Christian Ecology, when you buy it straight from the publisher! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024