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

Friday, December 30, 2016

Delegitimation

The content of the Russian-hacked emails was actually remarkably unexplosive. Probably the biggest news was that Hillary Clinton had expressed herself in favor of a hemispheric common market in speeches to Wall Street executives. Otherwise, we learned from them that some people at the Democratic National Committee favored a lifelong Democrat for their party’s nomination over a socialist interloper who had joined the party for his own convenience. We learned that many Democrats, including Chelsea Clinton, disapproved of the ethical shortcomings of some of the people in Bill Clinton’s inner circle. We learned that Hillary Clinton acknowledged differences between her “public and private” positions on some issues. None of this even remotely corroborated Donald Trump’s wild characterizations of the Russian-hacked, Wikileaks-published material.

“These Wikileaks emails confirm what those of us here today have known all along: Hillary Clinton is the vessel for a corrupt global establishment that is raiding our country and surrendering our sovereignty. This criminal government cartel doesn’t recognize borders, but believes in global governance, unlimited immigration, and rule by corporations.” [Trump]

Or:

“The more emails WikiLeaks releases, the more lines between the Clinton Foundation, the secretary of state's office and the Clintons' personal finances—they all get blurred … I mean, at what point—at what point do we say it? Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency.” [Trump]

Without Trump’s own willingness to make false claims and misuse Russian-provided information, the Wikileaks material would have deflated of its own boringness. The Russian-hacked material did damage because, and only because, Russia found a willing accomplice in the person of Donald J. Trump.
Many questions remain about how the Russian spy services did what they did. That includes Putin’s motives for ordering the operation. But on issues from Crimea to Syria to NATO to the breakup of the European Union, Trump’s publicly expressed views align with Putin’s wishes.

Over Trump’s motives for collaborating so full-throatedly with Russian espionage, there hangs a greater and more disturbing mystery—a mystery that Trump seems in no hurry to dispel. And maybe he is wise to leave the mystery in place: as delegitimizing as it is, it’s very possible the truth would be even worse.---David Frum

Call Your Representative and Demand that Obamacare Not be Scrapped

If James Comey, the F.B.I. director, hadn’t tipped the scales in the campaign’s final days with that grotesquely misleading letter, right now an incoming Clinton administration would be celebrating some very good news. Because health reform, President Obama’s signature achievement, is stabilizing after a bumpy year.

This means that the huge gains achieved so far — tens of millions of newly insured Americans and dramatic reductions in the number of people skipping treatment or facing financial hardship because of cost — look as if they’re here to stay.

Or they would be here to stay if the man who squeaked into power thanks to Mr. Comey and Vladimir Putin wasn’t determined to betray his supporters, and snatch away the health care they need.

To appreciate the good news about Obamacare you need to understand where the earlier bad news came from. Premiums on the exchanges, the insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, did indeed rise sharply this year, because insurers were losing money. But this wasn’t because of a surge in overall medical costs, which have risen much more slowly since the act was passed than they did before. It reflected, instead, the mix of people signing up — fewer healthy, low-cost people than expected, more people with chronic health issues.

The question was whether this was a one-time adjustment or the start of a “death spiral,” in which higher premiums would drive healthy Americans out of the market, further worsening the mix, leading to even higher premiums, and so on.

And the answer is that it looks like a one-shot affair. Despite higher premiums, enrollments in the exchanges are running ahead of their levels a year ago; no death spiral here. Meanwhile, analysts are reporting substantial financial improvement for insurers: The premium hikes are doing the job, ending their losses.

In other words, Obamacare hit a bump in the road, but appears to be back on track.

But will it be killed anyway?

In a way, Democrats should hope that Republicans follow through on their promises to repeal health reform. After all, they don’t have a replacement, and never will. They’ve spent seven years promising something very different from yet better than Obamacare, but keep failing to deliver, because they can’t; the logic of broad coverage, especially for those with pre-existing conditions, requires either an Obamacare-like system or single-payer, which Republicans like even less. That won’t change.

As a result, repeal would have devastating effects, with people who voted Trump among the biggest losers. Independent estimates suggest that Republican plans would cause 30 million Americans to lose coverage, with about half the losers coming from the Trump-supporting white working class. At least some of those Trump supporters would probably conclude that they were the victims of a political scam — which they were.

Republican congressional leaders like Paul Ryan nonetheless seem eager to push ahead with repeal. In fact, they seem to be in a great rush, probably because they’re afraid that if they don’t unravel health reform in the very first weeks of the Trump era, rank-and-file members of Congress will start hearing from constituents who really, really don’t want to lose their insurance.

Why do the Republicans hate health reform? Some of the answer is that Obamacare was paid for in part with taxes on the wealthy, who will reap a huge windfall if it’s repealed, even as many middle-income families face tax hikes.

More broadly, Obamacare must die precisely because it’s working, showing that government action really can improve people’s lives — a truth they don’t want anyone to know.

How will Republicans try to contain the political fallout if they go ahead with repeal, and tens of millions lose access to health care? No doubt they’ll try to distract the public — and the all-too-compliant news media — with shiny objects of various kinds.

But surely a central aspect of their damage control will be an attempt to push a false narrative about Obamacare’s past. Health reform, they’ll claim, was always a failure, and it was already collapsing on the eve of the G.O.P. takeover. When the number of uninsured Americans skyrockets on their watch, they’ll claim that it’s not their fault — like everything, it’s the fault of liberal elites.

So let’s refute that narrative in advance. Obamacare has, in fact, been a big success — imperfect, yes, but it has greatly improved (and saved) many lives. And all indications are that this success is sustainable, that the teething problems of health reform weren’t fatal and were well on their way to being solved at the end of 2016.

If, as seems all too likely, a health care debacle is imminent, blame must be placed where it belongs: on Donald Trump and the people who put him over the top.---Paul Krugman

Monday, December 26, 2016

Nice New Journal on Hyperobjects

It's Q15: Hyperobjects! Edited by Meghan Moe Beitiks, lovely pictures, and it'll cost you only $2 for an electronic copy. Little bit of something me in it.

Reviewing the Year

UPDATE: 27 essays! Some of these I had totally forgotten until this morning lol, because I've been so busy.

I realized this was the second most intense year for lectures. I did 27. 2012 was the most intense, with 31. And I published 25 essays; 2015 was the most intense but only just (26). And I finished 2 books, accumulated 350 000 air miles, taught 5 classes (one extra), regular Ph.D students and regular university business. No wonder I've been doing a lot of resting in the last few days.

Actually I have no idea whether 25 is the final essay tally. I've been so busy that today and yesterday I found out that I'd completely forgotten about two of them!

So I'm uploading quite a few versions of recent essays to academia.edu if you're interested.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 18: Nihilism Upgrade (mp3)

Sorry about the sound quality. This was done in the Fine Arts Academy in Munich as part of the Hybrid Ecologies series. Thanks to my wonderful hosts there, especially Susanne Witzgall and Maria Muhle.




Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 17: Perforated Worlds (mp3) (Korean and English)

Simultaneous Korean translation! Wow. This was part of an electronic music festival in Seoul run by Hankil Ryu, called Continuous Verb. It was at MMCA, the contemporary art museum, and it was on October 29.




Talking with Jeff VanderMeer in the LA Review of Books

They excerpted some great parts of a longer interview hosted by the fantastic Andrew Hageman. Jeff was attracted to the hyperobjects, which seems intuitive when you read his amazing prose. The odd thing is how incredibly similar our recent book covers have been.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 16: Avant What? (video)

This is me and Cary Wolfe in dialogue at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, on the occasion of the Avant Museology conference (e-flux). Lively and at one point intense--always getting the no vibes from the Hegelians...Also, there's a fun animation I made.

What you can't hear is all the laughing in the audience!



Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 15: Things Just Got Weird (video)

Oh this was so nice. I'm so grateful to Solveig Ovstebo and Karsten Lund for their incredible hosting. What a lovely occasion. And I met an old friend I hadn't seen for ages, David Pantos. The space was really big and fun too, and packed.

The occasion was an exhibition of the work of my new friend Ben Rivers, including the film Urth, which was inspired by my book Dark Ecology.


Timothy Morton: Things Just Got Weird from The Renaissance Society on Vimeo.

Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 14: Use the Force (video)

Now this is cool. Yale archived this architecture conference so well, and this is one of the panels. Along with me you'll hear Keller Easterling and Catherine Ingraham, and there's a really excellent dialogue and q&a afterwards. Loved it. Thank you thank you thank you to Mark Foster Gage for organizing this happy occasion.


Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 13: Nature Isn't Real (video)

This was something I did in a forest in a park in Brussels on September 6 of 2016. It was magical being  in that space. The organizers, Aleppo, had designed the lit pathway to the space so well. Thanks so much to Daniel Blanga-Gubbay.




Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 12: Where Are All the Megacities? (mp3)

This was a lecture I gave in Singapore at the Future Cities conference, Singapore, September 14, 2016. Some engineers might have been upset by how I characterized science (quite accurately), because one of them, a really heavy spokesperson for neoliberalism, had a bit of a go at me the next day. He expressed, in front of several people, concern that my job was funded by taxpayer money. I think in part that was because I told him quite honestly that I hadn't paid attention when he said something about me in his paper. It was one of those moments when you could say something witty and cutting but you just feel so relaxed and happy, nothing is bothering you.

The conference was about urban planning and I think I was there to provide a different perspective than the usual efficiency and “sustainability” talk.

Thanks so much to Stephen Cairns, whose voice you'll hear.


Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 11: Solidarity with Nonhuman People (mp3)

Oh dear this was a real tragedy. The q&a for this lecture at York University in Canada on May 19 was the best best best of the whole year. But as you'll hear, my battery ran out a little way into my lecture. It gives you a good idea of the outline of my book for Verso, however. And you'll hear Marcus Boon, who's awesome, and Sabrina Scott cheering (and she is also awesome).

I've spent months and months reconstructing that q&a in my head in order to write my book...




Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 10: Bugging Marx (mp3)

This is a q&a concerning my paper given at the Cultures of Energy annual seminar at Rice University on April 22, 2016. You'll hear various voices including that of Dominic Boyer, the anthropologist.


Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 9: From Hyperlocal to Hyperobject: Art, Ecology, and OOO (Marfa Dialogues) (mp3)

This was part of the wonderful Marfa Dialogues presented by Ballroom Marfa at the Museum of Fine Art in Houston on March 26, 2016. Thanks so much to the whole Ballroom crew and in particular, Susan Sutton and Laura Copelin. You are so so so good.

You'll also hear Mandy Barker, whose photographs I was really really keen to talk about. I said they looked like the covers of some of the later Cocteau Twins albums (in particular Four Calendar Café), then she told me she'd worked for 4AD!!!

Then we played Rachel Rose's Sitting Feeding Sleeping, one of the most powerful ecological awareness films I've ever seen, ever.








Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 8: When Frogs will Cross the Street You've Designed (mp3)

This was a lecture I gave at a design symposium, Façoner l' Avenir, in Paris, on February 8 2016. I was hosted by the fantastic Anna Bernagozzi.


Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 7: X-Existence

This was the annual history of art lecture at the College of William and Mary and I gave it on January 28 of this year. Thanks to the fantastic Alan Braddock for his kindness before, during and after this. He's been such a helpful influence, and he's one of those people who go beyond the call of duty on a regular basis.

You'll hear something like a part of my book Humankind here. This year I devoted all my lectures another engagements to working through issues having to do with the books I've been working on, one for Verso and the other for Penguin.




Distance to Progress is Now 10 to the Power of 3 Further

This epic bait-and-switch, this betrayal of supporters, certainly offers Democrats a political opportunity. But you know that there will be huge efforts to shift the blame. These will include claims that the collapse of health care is really President Obama’s fault; claims that the failure of alternatives is somehow the fault of recalcitrant Democrats; and an endless series of attempts to distract the public.

Expect more Carrier-style stunts that don’t actually help workers but dominate a news cycle. Expect lots of fulmination against minorities. And it’s worth remembering what authoritarian regimes traditionally do to shift attention from failing policies, namely, find some foreigners to confront. Maybe it will be a trade war with China, maybe something worse.

Opponents need to do all they can to defeat such strategies of distraction. Above all, they shouldn’t let themselves be sucked into cooperation that leaves them sharing part of the blame. The perpetrators of this scam should be forced to own it.---Paul Krugman

No, this isn't galvanizing progress. This is a torrent of cockroaches you have to deal with before you can walk across the kitchen floor to the burning pasta sauce. 

Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 6: Art Objects (mp3)

This was a long seminar I taught at the Glassell school of art here in Houston, when I did the evaluations earlier this year. You can see how we work through some issues that I've been thinking about regarding object-oriented ontology and all kinds of art (but in particular, visual). It's four hours long (!) so there's a lot in there.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 5: And You May Find Yourself Living in an Age of Mass Extinction (mp3)

This was the lecture I gave on January12 at the ICSP, in New York, the first ever place to have air conditioning. Haim Steinbach was there, thank you Haim! 

It was one of several lectures this year where the atmosphere at the end became very quiet  and mind-meldy. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"This was the sexiest crowd I’ve ever seen at a philosophy lecture" (plus a mixtape!)

Wonder what I'd take to a desert island? POSTmatter had me compile a list, then they stream it for you. And you can read a really nice interview me by Dean Kissick, who wrote a really really nice thing about me. That's my favorite line from it: “this was the sexiest crowd I’ve ever seen at a philosophy lecture. A young woman sat in the row in front of me ate an entire cucumber.”

Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 4: Rock Your Body (mp3)

This is the seminar I gave at the wonderful Rock/Body seminar on performance and geology, run by João Florencio at the University Exeter (UK) on September 9, 2016. The participants are listed here.




Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 3: Haunted Houses

I say it myself, but this has a really dope ass interpretation of a wonderful 12" remix of Björk's “Hyperballad.” I gave it at SCI_Arc in March of this year, March 14 to be precise. It was such a good occasion. I love that place and its people. Spent many days there and gave hours and hours of seminar, which was really really educational for me myself, and also another lecture (coming right up). Los Angeles is my favorite Californian town.


Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 2: The Halting Problem

My love poem to SonicActs. This group of lovely people spent three whole years exploring dark ecology in the most physical and often risky way, making all kinds of stunning art in Arctic Russia and Norway, presenting work in Amsterdam and elsewhere, and involving me all over the place.

The talk followed an amazing, intense piece by Jana Winderen, who records underwater sound. Imagine the first movement of a gigantic Mahler symphony, only using live mixed fish and water and boat sounds...I'll never forget how she pushed the bass frequencies during that.

People were crying after my one, me included. The "q&a" was a 40 minute mind meld that just went on and on and on...pure solidarity.


Tim's Holiday Lectures Gift 1: Dark Ecological Chocolate

Everyone likes chocolate?! Anyway here's the first one. They aren't in chronological order...This is the one I gave in June at the SonicActs Dark Ecology Journey (the third one), in Kirkenes in far far north arctic Norway, Finnmark to be precise. Annette Wolfsberger and Arie Altena are the main other speakers. Thanks so much for everyone who attended!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ending False Equivalency

“Did Republican politicians, so big on flag waving and impugning their rivals’ patriotism, reject this foreign aid to their cause? No, they didn’t. In fact, as far as I can tell, no major Republican figure was even willing to criticize Mr. Trump when he directly asked Russia to hack Mrs. Clinton.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It has long been obvious — except, apparently, to the news media — that the modern G.O.P. is a radical institution that is ready to violate democratic norms in the pursuit of power. Why should the norm of not accepting foreign assistance be any different?” ---Paul Krugman

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tell It, Chomsky

You really do need to curtail your beautiful soul syndrome that seeks to establish how impure everyone else is, and check the realism of this. Best phrase from the vid: "The threat of survival to survival," which is exactly what my Verso book is all about.

The Paris conference had the goal of establishing verifiable commitments to do something about the worst problem that humans have ever faced—the likely destruction of the possibility for organized human life. They couldn’t do that. They could only reach a nonverifiable commitment—promises, but not fixed by treaty and a real commitment. And the reason was that the Republican Congress in the United States would not accept binding commitments. So they were left with something much weaker and looser.

The Morocco conference intended to carry this forward by putting teeth in that loose, vague agreement. The conference opened on November 7th, normal way. November 8th, the World Meteorological Organization presented an assessment of the current state of what’s called the Anthropocene, the new geological epoch that is marked by radical human modification, destruction of the environment that sustains life. November 9th, the conference basically ceased. The question that was left was whether it would be possible to carry forward this global effort to deal with the highly critical problem of environmental catastrophe, if the leader of the free world, the richest and most powerful country in history, would pull out completely, as appeared to be the case. That’s the stated goal of the president-elect, who regards climate change as a hoax and whose policy, if he pursues it, is to maximize the use of fossil fuels, end environmental regulations, dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency—established by Richard Nixon, which is a measure of where politics has shifted to the right in the past generation—and, in other ways, accelerate the race to destruction. Well, that was essentially the end of the Marrakech conference. It terminated without any issue. So that might signal the end of the world, even if not quite in the intended sense. --from Democracy Now

Monday, December 5, 2016

I've Heard David Brock for Years and He's Not to Be Messed With

I’m angry at FBI Director Jim Comey. There was a wide consensus among pollsters that on October 26 Hillary Clinton had an electoral majority. While Hillary aimed to turn out the Obama coalition, she had also made impressive inroads with college-educated whites, a cohort Democrats historically lose. And she was running strong with them, up by 12 points, until Comey’s reckless and unprecedented intrusion into the election.

The email story followed a familiar pattern. Hillary’s support dipped whenever the email controversy was in the news. As soon as the story faded from the headlines, people dismissed it, and she recovered.

We built up a strong immune system to the email nothingburger, but, in the end, Hillary was unable to fight off the Comey virus, given all the other pathogens of the cycle. There was simply no time to recover, especially among late-deciding college-educated women. The Comey letter also depressed turnout with the Demoratic base.

In short, the late-stage release of the Comey letter cost Hillary the election. Independent analysts from Nate Silver to Mike Podhorzer of the AFL-CIO have reached the same conclusion.

...

I’m angry at the mainstream media, which framed the election as a choice between two detestable people – one an aspiring banana republican ― and the other, one of the most qualified, dedicated, forward-thinking and honorable candidates ever to seek the office of the presidency. ---"Why I'm Angry"

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Why the US Congress Sucks: Exactly What to Do About It

In 2012, the year after the new lines were drawn, Republican candidates for the Wisconsin Assembly won less than half of the statewide vote — but 60 of the Assembly’s 99 seats. That pattern persisted in 2014, as well as in federal and state races elsewhere around the country. In North Carolina, Democrats got 51 percent of the 2012 vote for the United States House of Representatives, which translated to only four of the state’s 13 congressional seats. The skew was roughly the same in Pennsylvania: Democrats won a little more than a quarter of the House seats, even though they got a majority of the votes cast in congressional races in the state that year. --New York Times

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thankful for Architects

This was a year in which I cemented (lol) some lovely relationships with some lovely architects, and I'm so honored therefore to be part of Archinect's list of things to be thankful for this year:

Timothy Morton's philosophy

It's insanely frustrating that, in 2016, climate change is still a partisan issue. While the political and scientific discourse trends toward the (justifiably) alarmist or the (depressingly) repressive, Timothy Morton’s philosophy opens up a new angle for considering humans' role on this spaceship Earth. His ideas about human selfhood, and our relationship with nature, are fascinating and provocative, and attest to an existence far richer than the “stranded polar bear on an ice sheet” caricature.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Maybe Noam Chomsky, Noted Anarchist, Can...


"[L]eftists who didn't vote for Clinton to block Trump made a 'bad mistake' "

Identity Politics (not) vs (not) Class Politics (not)

None of those phrases make any sense to me.

I'm just gonna juxtapose some lines here. Observe, first Time magazine from August last year:

After protestors with the “Black Lives Matter” movement took the stage during a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle Saturday to criticize the presidential candidate for not paying enough attention to issues of race, the Sanders campaign came up with a solution: It decided to shout down future protestors with the phrase, “We stand together.”

This is the worst idea in the campaign’s short life. Think about it: It involves hundreds of mostly white people shouting what is essentially “All lives matter” at the black people who dare to attempt to be heard.


Now here's the Verso blog (hooray, I'm publishing Humankind with them):

The election was a referendum on globalization and demographics; it was not a referendum on neo-liberalism: It is critical to appreciate that Trump’s appeal to whites was around their fear of the multiple implications of globalization. This included trade agreements AND migration. Trump focused on the symptoms inherent in neo-liberal globalization, such as job loss, but his was not a critique of neo-liberalism.  He continues to advance deregulation, tax cuts, anti-unionism, etc. He was making no systemic critique at all, but the examples that he pointed to from wreckage resulting from economic and social dislocation, resonated for many whites who felt, for various reasons, that their world was collapsing. ...

The election represented the consolidation of a misogynistic white united front: There are a few issues that need to be "unpacked" here. For all of the talk about the problems with Hillary Clinton-the-candidate and the failure to address matters of economics, too few commentators are addressing the fact that the alliance that Trump built was one that not only permitted but encouraged racism and misogyny. In point of fact, Trump voters were prepared to buy into various unsupported allegations against Clinton that would never have stuck had she not been a woman.  Additionally, Trump’s own baggage, e.g., married and divorced multiple times; allegations of sexual assault, would never have been tolerated had the candidate been a woman (or, for that matter, of color). Trump was given a pass that would only be given to a white man in US society. All one has to do is to think about the various allegations, charges and history surrounding Donald Trump and then ask the question: had the candidate been a woman or of color, what would have happened? The answer is obvious.



Now here's Paul Krugman:

Recently Bernie Sanders offered an answer: Democrats should “go beyond identity politics.” What’s needed, he said, are candidates who understand that working-class incomes are down, who will “stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry.”

But is there any reason to believe that this would work? Let me offer some reasons for doubt.

First, a general point: Any claim that changed policy positions will win elections assumes that the public will hear about those positions. How is that supposed to happen, when most of the news media simply refuse to cover policy substance? Remember, over the course of the 2016 campaign, the three network news shows devoted a total of 35 minutes combined to policy issues — all policy issues. Meanwhile, they devoted 125 minutes to Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

Beyond this, the fact is that Democrats have already been pursuing policies that are much better for the white working class than anything the other party has to offer. Yet this has brought no political reward.

Consider eastern Kentucky, a very white area which has benefited enormously from Obama-era initiatives. Take, in particular, the case of Clay County, which the Times declared a few years ago to be the hardest place in America to live. It’s still very hard, but at least most of its residents now have health insurance: Independent estimates say that the uninsured rate fell from 27 percent in 2013 to 10 percent in 2016. That’s the effect of the Affordable Care Act, which Mrs. Clinton promised to preserve and extend but Mr. Trump promised to kill.

Mr. Trump received 87 percent of Clay County’s vote.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Demand that Your School or University Make a Statement

Such as: 

During this time of heightened political tension in the public sphere, I'd like to remind all of us that we must adhere to basic protocols of public speech and action. There is a reason why some forms of these (such as the nazi salute) are illegal in Germany, for example. They are too inflaming to be allowed in public space.

If you see or hear something, photograph or record it. The send it to your Head or President's office or, if you're worried about doing that, to me and I'll forward it. Let me know whether yo want your name included or not.  

A very mild version of why this is important goes like this. What concerns me is what concerns me about how England and Japan address bullying in school. The general approach seems to be "we don't have any bullying, because we don't talk about it." Then someone commits suicide and the issue is in the news for a bit. Then they go back to not having any bullying, aka not talking about it. 

Reading: 
Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power
Robert Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect 






Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Postmodern Relativism

"I hadn't heard that tape and I don't know what the context of it would be in," King replied. "So no, I wouldn't say I was either okay with it or not okay with it."--Steve King Offers Bizarre Defense Of Bannon's 'Liberal Dykes' Comment (VIDEO)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Latest Essays

I'm really pleased with and proud of both. Both books are just amazing--you should definitely try to get your hands on them.

“Being Seen,” Afterword, in Ed Panar, Animals that Saw Me (Los Angeles: The Ice Plant, 2016), 73–79.
“Come into the Moonlight,” Foreword, Sabrina Scott, Witchbody (Chicago: Perfectly Acceptable Press, 2016), 5–9.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The New Yorker today:

Between now and January 20, 2017, a transformation will occur: Donald Trump, whom we know today as a deeply flawed candidate, will become President Trump, to whom deference is owed.

No. This is the religious supplement of democracy, which doesn't exist in nearly the same mode in the UK. Nothing is “owed” to a president. Things are “owed” to lords and monarchs.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Election Theft

The Election was Stolen – Here’s How
by Greg Palast

Before a single vote was cast, the election was fixed by GOP and Trump operatives.

Starting in 2013 – just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act – a coterie of Trump operatives, under the direction of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, created a system to purge 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP–controlled states.


The system, called Crosscheck, is detailed in my Rolling Stone report,
The GOP’s Stealth War on Voters,” 8/24/2016.

Crosscheck in action:  
Trump victory margin in Michigan:                         13,107
Michigan Crosscheck purge list:                           449,922

Trump victory margin in Arizona:                           85,257
Arizona Crosscheck purge list:                            270,824

Trump victory margin in North Carolina:               177,008
North Carolina Crosscheck purge list:                   589,393
 
On Tuesday, we saw Crosscheck elect a Republican Senate and as President, Donald Trump.  The electoral putsch was aided by nine other methods of attacking the right to vote of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters, methods detailed in my book and film, including “Caging,” “purging,” blocking legitimate registrations, and wrongly shunting millions to “provisional” ballots that will never be counted.

Trump signaled the use of “Crosscheck” when he claimed the election is “rigged” because “people are voting many, many times.”  His operative Kobach, who also advised Trump on building a wall on the southern border, devised a list of 7.2 million “potential” double voters—1.1 million of which were removed from the voter rolls by Tuesday. The list is loaded overwhelmingly with voters of color and the poor. Here's a sample of the list:


http://www.gregpalast.com/wp-content/uploads/Jackson-Full.jpg

Those accused of criminal double voting include, for example, Donald Alexander Webster Jr. of Ohio who is accused of voting a second time in Virginia as Donald EUGENE Webster SR.

No, not everyone on the list loses their vote.  But this was not the only racially poisonous tactic that accounted for this purloined victory by Trump and GOP candidates.

For example, in the swing state of North Carolina, it was reported that 6,700 Black folk lost their registrations because their registrations had been challenged by a group called Voter Integrity Project (VIP). VIP sent letters to households in Black communities “do not forward.”  If the voter had moved within the same building, or somehow did not get their mail (e.g. if their name was not on a mail box), they were challenged as “ghost” voters.  GOP voting officials happily complied with VIP with instant cancellation of registrations.

The 6,700 identified in two counties were returned to the rolls through a lawsuit.  However, there was not one mention in the press that VIP was also behind Crosscheck in North Carolina; nor that its leader, Col. Jay Delancy, whom I’ve tracked for years has previously used this vote thievery, known as “caging,” for years.  Doubtless the caging game was wider and deeper than reported.  And by the way, caging, as my Rolling Stone co-author, attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., tells me, is “a felony, it’s illegal, and punishable by high fines and even jail time.”

There is still much investigation to do.  For example, there are millions of “provisional” ballots, “spoiled” (invalidated) ballots and ballots rejected from the approximately 30 million mailed in.  Unlike reporting in Britain, US media does not report the ballots that are rejected and tossed out—because, after all, as Joe Biden says, “Our elections are the envy of the world.”  Only in Kazakhstan, Joe.

While there is a great deal of work to do, much documentation still to analyze, we’ll have to pry it from partisan voting chiefs who stamp the scrub lists, Crosscheck lists and ballot records, “confidential.”

But, the evidence already in our hands makes me sadly confident in saying, Jim Crow, not the voters, elected Mr. Trump.

 

What about those exit polls?
Exit polls are the standard by which the US State Department measures the honesty of foreign elections.  Exit polling is, historically, deadly accurate. The bane of pre-election polling is that pollsters must adjust for the likelihood of a person voting.  Exit polls solve the problem.

But three times in US history, pollsters have had to publicly flagellate themselves for their “errors.”  In 2000, exit polls gave Al Gore the win in Florida; in 2004, exit polls gave Kerry the win in Ohio, and now, in swing states, exit polls gave the presidency to Hillary Clinton.

So how could these multi-million-dollar Ph.d-directed statisticians with decades of experience get exit polls so wrong?

Answer:  they didn’t.  The polls in Florida in 2000 were accurate.  That’s because exit pollsters can only ask, “How did you vote?”  What they don’t ask, and can’t, is, “Was your vote counted.”

In 2000, in Florida, GOP Secretary of State Katherine Harris officially rejected 181,173 ballots, as “spoiled” because their chads were hung and other nonsense excuses.  Those ballots overwhelmingly were marked for Al Gore.  The exit polls included those 181,173 people who thought they had voted – but their vote didn’t count.  In other words, the exit polls accurately reflected whom the voters chose, not what Katherine Harris chose.

In 2004, a similar number of votes were invalidated (including an enormous pile of “provisional” ballots) by Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.  Again, the polls reflected that Kerry was the choice of 51% of the voters.  But the exit polls were “wrong” because they didn’t reflect the ballots invalidated by Blackwell.

Notably, two weeks after the 2004 US election, the US State Department refused the recognize the Ukraine election results because the official polls contradicted the exit polls.

And here we go again. 2016: Hillary wins among those queried as they exit the polling station—yet Trump is declared winner in GOP-controlled swings states. And, once again, the expert pollsters are forced to apologize—when they should be screaming, “Fraud!  Here’s the evidence the vote was fixed!”

Now there’s a new trope to explain away the exit polls that gave Clinton the win.  Supposedly, Trump voters were ashamed to say they voted for Trump.  Really?  ON WHAT PLANET?  For Democracy Now! and Rolling Stone I was out in several swing states.  In Ohio, yes, a Black voter may have been reluctant to state support for Trump. But a white voter in the exurbs of Dayton, where the Trump signs grew on lawns like weeds, and the pews of the evangelical mega churches were slathered with Trump and GOP brochures, risked getting spat on if they even whispered, “Hillary.”

This country is violently divided, but in the end, there simply aren’t enough white guys to elect Trump nor a Republican Senate.  The only way they could win was to eliminate the votes of non-white guys—and they did so by tossing Black provisional ballots into the dumpster, ID laws that turn away students—the list goes on.  It’s a web of complex obstacles to voting by citizens of color topped by that lying spider, Crosscheck.

 
---Greg Palast

Humans without Humanity

Well I've done ecology without Nature, but what about the other half of the false Nature-humanity dyad?

That's why I've written this book for Verso. It's called Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People, and it's almost ready.

I thought you might like the blurb I just wrote:

A specter is haunting the specter of communism: the specter of the nonhuman.

The left is correctly wary of talk about nonhumans in the key of Nature and its spiritual partner, humanity. But if we don't talk about something like them, on the scale where physically vast beings such as global warming exist, we cede this scale--the one on which a planetary ecological politics can happen--to big corporations and their representatives in government.

Humankind is an attempt to think the human species without Nature and without humanity. Smugly titled "brief histories" of this conceptual space are designed precisely to cover over the nothingness Morton calls the symbiotic real--the terrestrial biosphere as such. Humankind is to be found in that nothingness.

Along the way, Morton develops a new non-theistic holism and a theory of revolutionary action not wedded to religion. Humankind also remixes the debate within ideology theory between the earlier and later Marx.

Let Me Be Even More Explicit in Case Your Ears Need Unblocking

This so fucking isn't about some stupid people realizing that there is racism and being “shocked, shocked.”

This is about everyone on the planet witnessing a KKK-supported man become President of the USA, over the body of the first woman presidential candidate.

In 2016.

Policing reactions is the most ridiculous fucking waste of time and plays right into the hands of the enemy.

It is a thing devisèd by the enemy,
To keep the strong in awe.
(Richard III)

There's a Massive Problem with Decolonial Theory

I don't think anyone who performs it realizes what they're retweeting. There is no idea how imperialist (because derived from Hegel) the decolonial concept is. The British used precisely cultural difference and incommensurability to dominate Africa and India.

It is precisely this culturalism and its implicit imperialist lineage that is the bitter irony of its having been forced on first peoples via theory class, as the currently correct form of righteous and ultimately ecocidal religion.

One rather tries to flush that legacy down the toilet.

On Shock

As anyone who likes Deleuze and Guattari should know, what they transmit of Theweleit's Crowds and Power is that the initial accurate reaction, as capitalism metastasized into nazism in the 1930s, is "I can't believe they're getting away with it." Jews were shocked. Non-Jews were shocked. 

There has been an outrageous, obscene rip in social space. 


Don't make the paralysis worse by making anyone feel guilty. The point is to experience the shock and then start to move. 

Songs in the Key of Life

Please don't try to be "right" about what's happening. If some people are shocked and you think that's uncool, I'm afraid you have to let those people look uncool to you and let them go through the shock, which is a necessary stage of figuring out what is *actually happening.
Please let us not eat each other, my left buddies. Labour in the UK almost destroyed itself that way after Brexit. 
Please don't talk about this in the key of guilt. Guilt is a substitute for thought and guilt makes this be all about individuals and "choices." But it isn't. 

We all have to get over the agricultural religions in our heads (yes they are still there, especially when we say to ourselves that they aren't). These religions promote competitions about whose big bad god is bigger and badder. 
Or whose critique is bigger and badder. 
Or whose paralyzing cynical reason is stronger. 
There's only one thing to do, right now. Forge a massive, unstoppable counter-force using the readily available solidarity that is part of the symbiotic air we breathe. 
Everything else is irrelevant or harmful. 

*****

Without doubt, the counter-force is automatically affiliated with nonhumans at this point--symbiosis like I'm saying--so it would be best to be conscious of that too.

*****

The only reason Britain didn't go Nazi in the 1930s is because people like my grandfather fought the Blackshirts in the Cable Street riots, getting trampled by the police horses. No one wasted a second on pimping their guilt.

*****

As anyone who likes Deleuze and Guattari should know, what they transmit of Theweleit's Crowds and Power is that the initial accurate reaction, as capitalism metastasized into nazism in the 1930s, is "I can't believe they're getting away with it." Jews were shocked. Non-Jews were shocked. 

There has been an outrageous, obscene rip in social space. 


Don't make the paralysis worse by making anyone feel guilty. The point is to experience the shock and then start to move. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Mask is the Reality

In a New York Times editorial, Gail Collins outlines a witty (and boy do I need that) ten-step plan for getting through Stuff. On the other hand.... Collins writes:

2) Acknowledge that Donald Trump is not crazy. Obviously, he has been known to act crazy in public. But if you met him at a private social occasion you would probably find him to be a fairly pleasant person.

I say that as someone who once got a letter from Trump telling me I had the face of a dog. But the next time I saw him at a lunch meeting he was fine. Told interesting jokes about how much money he got for product placement on his TV show. Obviously, this isn’t the equivalent of “Theodore Roosevelt reincarnated.” But we’re trying to work with what we have here.


But that precisely is the problem. The disconnect between what is said to Everyone and what is said to Some People. This has to do with (insert name here I can't write it yet)'s need to get the most attention, obviously.

That friendly casual “Oh I was just kidding”—or in this case Collins's reactive version of that, sort of “Well, that makes it better, because now I see the real guy in private” is exactly one of the locations of the violence.

I'm not talking about integrity here. I'm not talking about acting like a wanker (or the opposite) both in public and in private—the public/private split is purely republican (small r) in any case, nothing to do with democracy.

It's the idea, rather, that there is a real person behind the clown mask, and that if we could only see that real person while the clown is screaming, we could chill.

That's horrifying, Gail Collins.

Where Has This Been All My Life

...and in particular, right after the (too many swear words to print0 US election.

Thanks to my mate João Florencio.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Forging New Solidarities

DiEM 25 is coordinated by people such as Varoufakis and is awesome. Look:

Donald Trump’s victory marks the end of an era when a self-confident Establishment preached the end of history, the end of passion and the supremacy of a technocracy working on behalf of the 1%. But the era it ushers in is not new. It is a new variant of the 1930s, featuring deflationary economics, xenophobia and divide-and-rule politics.
Passion has returned to politics but not in a way that will help the 80% left behind since the 1970s. Passion is now fuelling misanthropy. Passion is exploiting the anger of the 80% to re-arrange power at the top, while leaving the 80% moribund, betrayed and divided. And it is our job to stop this. It is ourjob to harness passion in the cause of humanism.
The Establishment’s folly is causing its demise. Unable to come to terms with the economic crisis they created, they crushed the Greek Spring because they could. They pushed the majority of British families into austerity-induced hopelessness. They committed millions of Germans to mini-jobs. They conspired to keep Bernie Sanders at bay. And when Golden Dawn, Brexit, the Alternative für Deutschland and Donald Trump were the result, they responded with a mixture of condescension, denial and panic.
Politics is undergoing a shake-up that the world has not seen since the 1930s. A Great Deflation is now gripping both sides of the Atlantic, re-kindling political forces that had been dormant since the 1930s. President Trump’s use of Mussolini-like tactics and narratives is a mere symptom of the rendition of that bleak era.
 
What should we do?
The spectre of a Nationalist International that is upon us (from Trump and the Brexiteers to Poland’s and Hungary’s governments, the Alternative für Deutschland, Austria’s next president, Marine Le Pen) can only be defeated by the Progressive International that the Democracy in Europe Movement, DiEM25, is building in Europe.
But, clearly, Europe is not enough. Progressives in the United States, those who supported Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, must band together with progressives in Canada and Latin America, to build a Democracy in the Americas Movement. Progressives in the Middle East, those who are shedding their blood against ISIS, against tyranny as well as against the West’s puppet regimes, must band together with progressive Palestinians and Israelis to build a Democracy in the Middle East Movement.
In 1930, our ancestors failed to reach out to other democrats across borders and political party lines to stop the rot. We must succeed where the others failed.
Today, on a day of victory for the politics of fear, loathing and division, we pledge to take the fight to the Nationalist International, to form an effective Progressive International and to bring passion back into the service of humanism. 

Carpe DiEM25!

Farce as Tragedy

I refuse to let what just happened steal my mind.

I so totally refuse to "make an effort to understand" the people who have become vectors for a fascist spectacular politics. What to reach for? I'm reaching for the Eighteenth Brumaire, which I've been thinking about anyway because of my Verso book:

In the Eighteenth Brumaire, Marx rhetorically describes the lumpenproletariat as a "class fraction" that constituted the political power base for Louis Bonaparte of France in 1848. In this sense, Marx argued that Bonaparte was able to place himself above the two main classes, the proletariat and bourgeoisie, by resorting to the "lumpenproletariat" as an apparently independent base of power, while in fact advancing the material interests of the "finance aristocracy".

...Marx identifies Louis Napoleon himself as being like a member of the lumpenproletariat insofar as, being a member of the finance aristocracy, he has no direct interest in productive enterprises.
[sorry I just pulled this from Wikipedia but it makes the point just as well as anything. The page says that the final bit there is just "rhetorical" but after last night's election, no, wrong.]

At the end of this month, the president-elect of the United States will face trial for committing massive fraud through Trump University. He openly vows to have his children run his family business, which will enrich him through his office in the manner of a post-Soviet kleptocrat. The depths of a Trump presidency defy our imagination. It is safe to assume it will not be popular. Trump and his party will probably respond with vicious anti-democratic measures. But fighting for democracy is part of America’s heritage, from abolitionists to suffragettes to the progressive reformers. Maybe you thought that fight was confined to history. It will go on.

And Trump does not represent the future. He only barely represents its present. His party controls all three branches in large part because its voters are overrepresented in the House, the Senate, and the Electoral College. He represents a rage against the direction of America they have no way of stopping. Even a complete halt to all of illegal immigration and a total deportation of every undocumented immigrant will not prevent the growth of nonwhites into an eventual majority. Republicans are increasingly focused on voter suppression and other anti-democratic measures to allow their shrinking cohort to rule. Trump is the perfect champion of their project.---Jonathan Chait

For eight years, the country has lived with Barack Obama as its President. Too often, we tried to diminish the racism and resentment that bubbled under the cyber-surface. But the information loop had been shattered. On Facebook, articles in the traditional, fact-based press look the same as articles from the conspiratorial alt-right media. Spokesmen for the unspeakable now have access to huge audiences. This was the cauldron, with so much misogynistic language, that helped to demean and destroy Clinton. The alt-right press was the purveyor of constant lies, propaganda, and conspiracy theories that Trump used as the oxygen of his campaign. Steve Bannon, a pivotal figure at Breitbart, was his propagandist and campaign manager.--David Remnick


Monday, November 7, 2016

Rigged for Sure

The election was rigged by state governments that did all they could to prevent nonwhite Americans from voting: The spirit of Jim Crow is very much alive — or maybe translate that to Diego Cuervo, now that Latinos have joined African-Americans as targets. Voter ID laws, rationalized by demonstrably fake concerns about election fraud, were used to disenfranchise thousands; others were discouraged by a systematic effort to make voting hard, by closing polling places in areas with large minority populations.

The election was rigged by Russian intelligence, which was almost surely behind the hacking of Democratic emails, which WikiLeaks then released with great fanfare. Nothing truly scandalous emerged, but the Russians judged, correctly, that the news media would hype the revelation that major party figures are human beings, and that politicians engage in politics, as somehow damning.

The election was rigged by James Comey, the director of the F.B.I. His job is to police crime — but instead he used his position to spread innuendo and influence the election. Was he deliberately putting a thumb on the electoral scales, or was he simply bullied by Republican operatives? It doesn’t matter: He abused his office, shamefully.

The election was also rigged by people within the F.B.I. — people who clearly felt that under Mr. Comey they had a free hand to indulge their political preferences. In the final days of the campaign, pro-Trump agents have clearly been talking nonstop to Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and right-wing media, putting claims and allegations that may or may not have anything to do with reality into the air. The agency clearly needs a major housecleaning: Having an important part of our national security apparatus trying to subvert an election is deeply scary. Unfortunately, Mr. Comey is just the man not to do it.

The election was rigged by partisan media, especially Fox News, which trumpeted falsehoods, then retracted them, if at all, so quietly that almost nobody heard. For days Fox blared the supposed news that the F.B.I. was preparing an indictment of the Clinton Foundation. When it finally admitted that the story was false, Donald Trump’s campaign manager smugly remarked, “The damage is done to Hillary Clinton.”

The election was rigged by mainstream news organizations, many of which simply refused to report on policy issues, a refusal that clearly favored the candidate who lies about these issues all the time, and has no coherent proposals to offer. Take the nightly network news broadcasts: In 2016 all three combined devoted a total of 32 minutes to coverage of issues — all issues. Climate change, the most important issue we face, received no coverage at all.

The election was rigged by the media obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails. She shouldn’t have used her own server, but there is no evidence at all that she did anything unethical, let alone illegal. The whole thing is orders of magnitude less important than multiple scandals involving her opponent — remember, Donald Trump never released his tax returns. Yet those networks that found only 32 minutes for all policy issues combined found 100 minutes to talk about Clinton emails.



So in the days ahead it will be important to remember two things. First, Mrs. Clinton has actually run a remarkable campaign, demonstrating her tenacity in the face of unfair treatment and remaining cool under pressure that would have broken most of us. Second, and much more important, if she wins it will be thanks to Americans who stood up for our nation’s principles — who waited for hours on voting lines contrived to discourage them, who paid attention to the true stakes in this election rather than letting themselves be distracted by fake scandals and media noise.

Those citizens deserve to be honored, not disparaged, for doing their best to save the nation from the effects of badly broken institutions. Many people have behaved shamefully this year — but tens of millions of voters kept their faith in the values that truly make America great.—Paul Krugman

Adam Curtis Talks Hyperobjects

(from the New York Times)

As we watched, Curtis told me about his admiration for the recent movie “The Big Short,” which tried to portray, for a popular audience, another facet of those invisible forces at work. “This is the whole thing about ‘good and evil’ — it’s a naïve view of the world. The problem is bigger, it’s a system.” Curtis and I briefly discussed a word coined by the critic Timothy Morton to describe a problem so vast in space and time that you are unable to apprehend it: a “hyperobject.” Global warming is a classic example of a hyperobject: it’s everywhere and nowhere, too encompassing to think about. Global markets, too. But naming a hyperobject alone is of limited use; human cognition knows all too well how to file such imminent imponderables away, on a “to-do” list that’s never consulted again.

“I thought it was a brave stab at it,” Curtis said, continuing his analysis of “The Big Short.” “But my argument would be that even the financial system they’re pointing to is only a component of something even bigger, that we haven’t really put together. That bigger thing: It’s my hyperobject.”



With each new bit of footage, a glance, a shy smile, Qaddafi’s human presence seeps unexpectedly into the viewer’s sympathies. Reagan’s does as well. Curtis’s politicians, ultimately, contend with their own bafflement in the face of the unseen forces shaping their world. They’re traveling with us, stuck inside the hyperobject.

“In fact, actually the great thing about human beings is that they’re protean,” Curtis told me, near the end, before I let him get back to his editing. “They can be anything you want them to be. They’re amazing. But we’re stuck with the idea that there is a fixed self. We’re stuck with the idea that there is a body mass index that you must have. We’re stuck that this is the food you must have. We’re stuck with the system of finance. It’s just stuck. And maybe, I’m part of the stuckness.” Several times, Curtis and I circled back to the notion of the “hyperobject” — that which is too big in time and space to comprehend. Perhaps this is merely shorthand for the sensation of apprehending that we are creatures born into a world that seems to demand our understanding, but will never grant it. “You have to recognize that you’re part of the thing,” he said. “But the point about journalism is to try to portray the thing you are part of. I think that’s the best you can do.”

Friday, November 4, 2016

Humankind Update

My book for Verso might be my most poetic and most thoughtful yet. And I'm really excited that with translation requests from 37 publishers in 10 languages it was one of the most requested books from the Verso catalogue.

The book is going to show how Marxism only works if it includes nonhumans! Along the way, it develops a whole new theory of action very different from the going theology of the Event.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Andy Hageman on Infrastructure and the Anthropocene

I always knew this would happen, as they say in Repo Man. I always knew Andy Hageman would publish incredible eco stuff.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hard Awesome Decisions

I think the big picture here is that if you grow up in the 90s hearing your parents badmouthing a public figure all the time, or simply here the ambient dripfeed of negativity unleashed by the GOP and their stooges, including absolutely mental stuff in Weekly World News and all that, staring at you at the supermarket, and to cap it all, seeing someone having to defend themselves all the time in front of an angry looking committee, it's very likely that you will form a negative opinion of someone, until that someone shows up live without encumbrances for a debate.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lecture in Chicago Sunday

It's called “Things Just Got Weird” and it's in support of my friend Ben Rivers's film Urth which he made inspired by Dark Ecology and is showing at the “Ren,” the Renaissance Society (which is a contemporary art space) at the University of Chicago. 3pm Sunday.

With any luck I'll be over this bothering virus by then...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Justin Guariglia on Hyperobjects

He's doing work with NASA and he's documenting melting ice. He makes gigantic, suitably scaled images that you can't contain in one gulp. They are fascinating from a scalar point of view: how far away are we when we see them? This kind of scale confusion is intrinsic to ecological awareness.

Guariglia is devoted to ecological issues such as global warming--I say devoted because it's certainly a lot more than committed.

This is from the popular US show Science Friday.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Some Words about Me in Korean

Really nice. Good on the uncanniness of the mesh concept.

Shite

“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a Trump supporter, told The Boston Globe last week. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. . . . I would do whatever I can for my country.” --HP

1000 Citations

Just happened today.


So Enjoying This

My intellectual life this last month has taken me literally around the world. Right now I'm in Yale at a very very cool architecture conference called “Aesthetic Activism” and I'm just about to go to a very very interesting panel on the emerging discourse of xenofeminism.

I'm editing my book on solidarity with nonhumans for Verso and it seems to be working! I'm enjoying that too. Lots of work. I'm steaming away. I have precisely two weeks to finish. Say a prayer.

And I taught a class on Wednesday, with the wonderful new graduate students in English at Rice. They were so good and the class was so very enlightening for me on Marx's early writings. It's a privilege to teach because that's how you learn.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Oops, you missed a spot

“Q. What about the risk of driving nuclear waste around and storing it at places like Yucca Mountain?
A. The casks they use to ship nuclear fuel have been very robustly tested. Dropped on spikes. Put underwater. Set on fire. Compare that to many other things that are shipped on trains that are not as well protected. The risk is so small that the benefits far outweigh it.” --Grist

There was one thing you didn't do, when you were dropping things on spikes.

You weren't leaving them alone under a mountain for 20 000 years.

We Are All Mermaids: QSO Lens, The Video (with Tim's words)

I'm so so honored and so deeply proud to have been a small part of this project. Part of it as you'll see is that Škarnulytė transmogrifies herself into a mermaid and interacts with a nuclear sub in deep freezing Arctic water. Just the commitment and the bravery of that blows my mind every time I think about it, which is a lot.

Another part of it is that Škarnulytė opens our ears to entities and dimensions far beyond the human, such as quasars, and links them with massive terrestrial beings such as glaciers and mountains. The result is a deep and complex engagement with our contemporary, globally warming world of mass extinction, where we're all figuring out in different ways how to relate differently with nonhuman beings.

In the end, a lifeform is always a hybrid, a being endowed with some X-power such as being able to breathe for a few seconds out of water. That's how evolution works. Spectrally. We are all mermaids.

So I wrote a text that you'll hear some of, read by a female computer voice. When I make music I often sound better singing as a woman, go figure, so I like to tweak the formant and pitch and suchlike of my recorded voice. Sounds better.

You can hear my lecture about it in Vilnius here.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ökologie ohne Natur

Nur scheinbar formuliert Timothy Morton in diesem bahnbrechenden Buch des Ecocriticism ein Paradox: Das Bild, das wir uns von der Natur machen, verhindert, dass wir der Umwelt, in der wir leben, gerecht werden können, dass wir ihre Ökologie begreifen. Stets trachtet das Schreiben über die Natur danach, eine Weltsicht zu vermitteln, die die Natur bewahrt und respektiert. Kein Wunder, dass wir uns angesichts der ökologischen Katastrophe, die wir erleben, nach einer unversehrten, wilden und ›unschuldigen‹ Natur sehnen. Aber die Feier der Natur, oder der Einheit mit ihr, trübt unseren Blick. Rigoros und verstörend stellt Morton unsere ökologischen Grundannahmen auf den Prüfstand und versucht, ein neues Vokabular für das Verständnis von Natur zu entwickeln. In einem Parforceritt durch die Literatur- und Philosophiegeschichte trägt das Buch dazu bei, unseren Blick auf ökologische Zusammenhänge zu weiten und den Umweltgedanken in einen geistesgeschichtlichen Kontext zu stellen, der ihm politisch und intellektuell mehr Schlagkraft verleiht.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Latour Litanies Don't Use Adjectives (in case you were wondering)

An adjective, such as “flimsy,” describes someone's access to a thing, such as “argument.”

But that's just that someone's access. It may be accurate. But it's theirs nevertheless.

“Hard stone” is how a squirrel experiences a stone (I bet). But stones are very soft for gamma rays.

In a novel, I can use an adjective such as “offensive” and add it to a noun such as “moron” if I want to qualify what someone's experience of the noun is...

But in a Latour Litany, where I'm trying to show that objects transcend how we appropriate them, I'm not going to be using adjectives. Salt. Blood. Black hole. Fire. Idiot.

So that's why we don't use adjectives.

Not because we're Nazis with pathological sexualities.

Just putting that out there. :)

Tim on Dutch TV

This was an interview on a show called Cultuurbarbaren that I did during the Dark Ecology tour this June. Here's the link here, embed below. You'll also see Alessandro Baricco, the novelist. And my mate Espen Somer Eide, genius composer.  And the amazing Femke Herregraven. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Stillness

By Nik Gaffney, with a foreword by me...

Movement is a deeply strange and paradoxical phenomenon, yet we see it all around us all the time. Many philosophers can’t cope with how paradoxical it is — think about Zeno and his paradoxes — so they try to get rid of it, by arguing that movement is just an illusion.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Yep

“A few seem to believe in the old doctrine of social fascism — better to see the center-left defeated by the hard right, because that sets the stage for a true progressive revolution. That worked out wonderfully in 1930s Germany.” --Paul Krugman

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What's Wrong with Postcolonial and Decolonial Critiques of OOO? Part 1 (the big picture)

I'm not going to do a long peroration here, as I have done when this has come up in lectures, and frequently, maybe five times in as many months. That will be part 2.

The big reason why these critiques miss the target is that they rely on an idea of the incommensurability of cultures.

This idea stems from strong correlationism (Hegel).

Strong correlationism is equated with imperialism.

So the critique of OOO on that basis is a symptom of the very imperialism that OOO is in fact trying to rescue thinking from, by departing from strong correlationist orthodoxy.

How ironic is that? I certainly feel at least "ironic" when I'm thinking about these critiques.

Okay, more soon.

Talks Thus Far This Year

I promise promise promise I'll get on uploading the documentation for these. I've been so terribly busy with all kinds of tasks.

“The Parliament of Things,” dialogue with Olafur Eliasson, Leeum, Seoul, September 28.
“Where Are All the Megacities?” Future Cities conference, Singapore, September 14.
“Rock Your Body,” Rock/Body Symposium, University of Exeter, September 9.
“Nature Isn’t Real,” at Aleppo, Nature, Brussels, September 6.
“The Halting Problem,” Arctic Encounters / Dark Ecology Tour, Tromsø, Norway, June 15.
“Dark Ecological Chocolate,” Dark Ecology Tour, Kirkenes, Norway, June 10.
“Agriculture Is Exploding,” Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, June 4.
Roundtable, “Music, Art, and Machine Intelligence,” Google, San Francisco, June 1.
“Solidarity with Nonhuman People,” York University, Toronto, May 19.
“Omaobamaoldsmobile,” dialogue with Haim Steinbach, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, May 7.
“Bugging Marx,” Cultures of Energy, Rice University, April 23.
“Haunted Houses,” SCI_Arc (Los Angeles), March 14.
“Philosophy is Design is Philosophy,” SCI_Arc (Los Angeles), March 10.
“From Hyperlocal to Hyperobject: Art, Ecology, and OOO,” Marfa Dialogues, Fotofest Biennial, March 26.
“Résistances,” participant and presentation, Paris, February 25–28.
“When Frogs will Cross the Street You've Designed,” Façoner l' Avenir, Paris, February 8.
“X-Existence,” College of William and Mary, January 28.
“Art Objects,” Seminar, Glassell School, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, January 19.
“And You May Find Yourself Living in an Age of Mass Extinction,” ISCP, New York, January 12.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Correct

tens of millions of Americans saw the candidates in action, directly, without a media filter. For many, the revelation wasn’t Mr. Trump’s performance, but Mrs. Clinton’s: The woman they saw bore little resemblance to the cold, joyless drone they’d been told to expect.

How much will it matter? My guess — but I could very well be completely wrong — is that it will matter a lot. Hard-core Trump supporters won’t be swayed. But voters who had been planning to stay home or, what amounts to the same thing, vote for a minor-party candidate rather than choose between the racist and the she-devil may now realize that they were misinformed. If so, it will be Mrs. Clinton’s bravura performance, under incredible pressure, that turned the tide.

...

[Previously, she had run] into a buzz saw of adversarial reporting from the mainstream media, which treated relatively minor missteps as major scandals, and invented additional scandals out of thin air.

Meanwhile, her opponent’s genuine scandals and various grotesqueries were downplayed or whitewashed; but as Jonathan Chait of New York magazine says, the normalization of Donald Trump was probably less important than the abnormalization of Hillary Clinton.

...

This media onslaught started with an Associated Press report on the Clinton Foundation, which roughly coincided with the beginning of Mrs. Clinton’s poll slide. The A.P. took on a valid question: Did foundation donors get inappropriate access and exert undue influence?

As it happened, it failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing — but nonetheless wrote the report as if it had. And this was the beginning of an extraordinary series of hostile news stories about how various aspects of Mrs. Clinton’s life “raise questions” or “cast shadows,” conveying an impression of terrible things without saying anything that could be refuted.

The culmination of this process came with the infamous Matt Lauer-moderated forum, which might be briefly summarized as “Emails, emails, emails; yes, Mr. Trump, whatever you say, Mr. Trump.”

I still don’t fully understand this hostility, which wasn’t ideological. Instead, it had the feel of the cool kids in high school jeering at the class nerd. Sexism was surely involved but may not have been central, since the same thing happened to Mr. Gore. 
-- Paul Krugman

Why?

...you know I have a horrid feeling it's because they grew up hearing Reagan and Thatcher as small kids, or Clinton and Blair (Reagan and Thatcher 2.0 Lite). So that the basic Greed Is Good meme was in there from the start.

Sorry about it, because many have trouble getting a job or leaving their mum's house. But from what I see happening to my phone...

Millennials Designing Phones or, Oh Dear

Back in the day, it was about “access to tools,” the subtitle of Steve Jobs's favorite mag.

Back in the day it was about making things simpler. One click, and a music software pops up out of OS X good enough to allow you to make music without knowing pro software...

The mouse and System whatever, versus MS DOS.

Does anyone recall hippies designing things for Generation X? Does anyone recall the elegance of that? How design was about making things simpler?

To empower people. To put power in people's hands through access to tools.

Not being told how many feet away from your car you are, as you die of a heart attack without being able to dial 911, because the touch screen is now too thin and the chip controlling it is too flimsy, and you need a compulsory passcode, and...

Remember the lock screen of the first iPhone? (Clue below.)




Friday, September 23, 2016

An Essay on Food in Tank Magazine

I'd given up writing about food until these kind people asked me for something. There's a good reason for that: all histories of consumerism are really not great. I explain why. 

Falsity

"PolitiFact has examined 258 Trump statements and 255 Clinton statements and classified them on a scale ranging from “True” to “Pants on Fire.” One might quibble with some of the judgments, but they’re overwhelmingly in the ballpark. And they show two candidates living in different moral universes when it comes to truth-telling. Mr. Trump had 48 Pants on Fire ratings, Mrs. Clinton just six; the G.O.P. nominee had 89 False ratings, the Democrat 27." --Paul Krugman

Fourteen Essays So Far in 2016 (Complete List)

Not too bad:

“Frankenstein and Ecocriticism,” in Andrew Smith, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Frankenstein (Cambridge UP, 2016), 143–57.
“This Is Not My Beautiful Biosphere,” in Tom Bristow and Thomas Ford, eds., A Cultural History of Climate Change (Routledge, 2016), 229–238.
“How to Defeat Invisible Gods,” Mario de Vega, Victor Mazon Gardoqui, and Daniela Silvestrin, eds., Limen: Ecologies of Transmission (Mexico City and Berlin: 17 and ñ, 2016), 77–93.
“She Walks in Beauty like the Night in which All Cows Are Black: Byron's Nonhuman,” Byron: The Poetry of Politics and the Politics of Poetry (Routledge, 2016), 57–68.
“What Is Dark Ecology” in Mirna Belina, ed., Living Earth: Field Notes from the Dark Ecology Project 2014–2016 (Sonic Acts Press, 2016), 29–56.
“From Things Flows What We Call Time,” in Olafur Eliasson et al., eds., Unspoken Spaces (Thames and Hudson, 2015), 349–351.
“Weird Embodiment,” in Lynette Hunter, Elisabeth Krimmer and Peter Lichtenfels, eds., Sentient Performativities of Embodiment: Thinking alongside the Human (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2016), 19–33.
“Portals,” in Jonas Zukas, ed., The Baltic Atlas (CAC, 2016), 1–10.
“You Are Sitting on a Chair in the Sky,” in Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich, eds., Airplane Reading (Zero), 107–110.
“Jūs esate kirmgraužoje,” Doxa (January, 2016) (in Lithuanian).
Timothy Morton and Dominic Boyer, “Hyposubjects,” Cultural Anthropology (January, 2016).
“Dream,” Cultural Anthropology (January, 2016).
“Spectres of the Non-human,” in Julian Charrière, For they that Sow the Wind (London: Parasol Unit, 2016), 64–67.
Timothy Morton and Emilija Škarnulytė, “Yttrium Hypnosis,” in Nadim Samman and Boris Ondreicka, Rare Earth (Vienna, 2016), 102–110.

I Called This Weeks Ago

“In an upcoming “Frontline” special, Omarosa Manigault told PBS that the roots of Trump’s presidential campaign may be traced back to the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, when President Barack Obama cracked a few jokes at the real estate mogul’s expense. The quips came after Trump falsely accused Obama of lying about his birthplace and citizenship, thus feeding the discredited right-wing “birther” conspiracy theory.

“It just kept going and going and he just kept hammering him,” Manigault said. “And I thought, ‘Ohhhh, Barack Obama is starting something that I don’t know if he’ll be able to finish.”

She said:

“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”   --Huffington Post

--Exactly. I'd been thinking that this was about the humiliation and revenge of a racist. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lecture Invites Pro Tip

Hey by the way--if you're thinking of inviting me somewhere...my dance card fills up very early and quickly these days. For example, I'm planning lectures in Mexico City and Montreal for September and October of 2017. It's a shame when I get an invitation I can't make for say November of this year, because I'm all chock a block at that time and have been for months.

I'm not doing as many lectures as Graham...but I am doing many lectures...

Updated Future Talks

...I just updated my upcoming lectures if you're interested (click on "Future Talks").

Next up is Seoul, for a dialogue with Olafur Eliasson at the Leeum Museum. That's next week on September 28.

I fell in love with Seoul last week on my way back to Rome from Singapore. It's obvious if you're a buddhist how profoundly swathed in that peacefulness it is...I've been in love with ancient Korean ceramics for ages, that celadon ware.

There was a full on Vajrayana temple (Buddha Tooth) in Singapore that I really liked, too. Really luminous and dripping with floating transparent Pokémon, enough to give Badiou a nightmare.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sorry Donna, It's Not the Cthulhucene

Cthulhu is a being that doesn’t link shit in its tentacles. Cthulhu means shit doesn’t matter at all.

I'm sticking with Anthropocene.

What's interesting is the disturbance people feel with this word, such that they want to change it to fit their concept.

I like being irritating.

***

PS: Donna Haraway is a mutual friend of me and Cary Wolfe.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Rock Your Body

At Exeter on Thursday September 8 I'm going to be unleashing my new theory of action, a queering of the theistic categories of active versus passive. It's called rocking and it's central to the book I'm writing for Verso, Humankind.

This Is What I'm up to Today

The Aleppo group in Brussels is a really powerful and creative organization and I'm talking with them this evening in the park in Brussels. My talk is called

Nature Isn't Real

Hahaha...