“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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

SonicActs Roundtable (MP3)

In this you will hear:

1. Morton running onstage having been to the restroom.
2. Graham Harman answering questions.
3. My mate Douglas Kahn being awesome.
4. Geologist Mark Williams being awesome.
5. A really tense moment that I am told I handled quite well (listen towards the end). Really tense. I don't think I've ever had that kind of energy coming at me in front of 500 people before. Of course I've been able to deal with that kind of thing in class, and that was lucky--somehow the skillz kicked in : ) People said I did good afterwards--I wonder what you think?

Also, and this is really the reason to listen to it :) you get to hear me imitating the Little Man from Another Place in Twin Peaks...

What more could you desire?


Anonymous said...

Why was he so angry? The tension in the tone of his opening was already so high. And then escalated. "OOO" shot out like bullets.

Maybe your skillz arrived in response to the grief moving beneath his anger.... You could hear it on another frequency & responded to that.

Jeremy Allen said...

Love the concept of the ecopath. The concept transforms what, for me, used to be complacency, into a pathology.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy: Do you love the concept because it allows you to single out certain individuals from the background so you can focus the blame? Does this feel better than "complacency" because it doesn't include quite so much of the human species, which might include you?

I have to disagree, both with the concept and with pathologizing people in general. "Pathology" in the social sense is just a new and improved way of saying "evil". The anxiety we experience as to whether we are part of the problem is an appropriate feeling, and we should resist the temptation to escape from it by inventing categories for people-but-not-people-like-us, and even to use justifications such as when Kahn said, "It's my kids!". No, it's not just your kids. It's Murdoch's kids too, and what if it wasn't your kids: would that make it okay then? So I AM concerned about the hypocrisy inherent in apocalypticism, precisely because if that's the way we save the world, then I'm not interested.

Anonymous said...



You are clever. You use the form of questions to disguise your blaming of me blaming others.

Nevertheless, no, I was not drawn to the concept of ecopathology so that I could recast the moral boundaries between myself and others. I was drawn to the concept as a concept, a new concept, one that allowed me to recast myself in a new light, a way of jump starting new thoughts about myself, a way of using a new lens to reassess, as you say, my own contributions to the problem.

In the end, the concept of ecopathology may not be valid, but for me it was the first time I heard it, so it was a fresh view into my own anxieties. The concept was a tool for me. I was not using it define and outcast people not like me.


Anonymous said...

Actually just balancing praise for Kahn's idea with some much needed criticism. I don't need anyone to think I'm a nice guy. When someone is full of it, I call them on it. I'm just as critical of myself, and I used to pathologize too, precisely to the extent that I had been given the same treatment. I am clever enough, though, to recognize when someone tries to deflect my criticism by going "meta" as Tim puts it. You can't fool me: you're as interested as I am. No need to play cool. It's a hot planet.

noel said...

Ecopath is just another synonym for terms like environmental vandal. I don't think it's a specially new concept. One other point too is that while Australia has had some severe bushfires lately, there is nothing new about fire changing soil chemistry and causing microbial sterilization, a phenomenon which is beneficial for certain fungi.