The Shabogans are the invisible underclass on Gallifrey. The plebs. The nobodies. The skivvies. They're not the posh drop-outs. They're not the soup-making rustics. They're the unseen guttersnipes trapped inside the Capitol. They always leave the room just before you enter it. They're the vandals who shoot stasers at the Seal of Rassilon. And maybe, sometimes, they do more than that. Maybe they riot. Maybe they erect barricades. Maybe they throw stones. Maybe they daub things like "GALLIFREY WILL NEVER BE HAPPY UNTIL THE LAST CASTELLAN HAS BEEN HANGED WITH THE GUTS OF THE LAST CARDINAL" on the walls of the Time Toilets. Because if there is hope, it lies in the Shabogans.
I'm Jack Graham. Gothic Marxist. Advocate of the struggle in terms of the strange. Shakespearean villain. Doctor Who fan. Less an organic intellectual than a one-man morbid symptom.
And I did this:
Someone - I think it was Nick Mamatas - recently made a sarcastic Facebook or Twitter post, expressing mock-surprise that a “multi-million dollar Hollywood movie isn’t the Communist Manifesto” (or words to that effect). The thing being mocked there is the way in which it seems that some on the Left will criticise an expensive (and, the studios hope, profitable) product of the mass-market corporate capitalist culture industries for not being something it was obviously never going to be, and never could be.
As it turned out - for a host of complex and contingent historical reasons - cinema and television became almost-overwhelmingly comforting and placating instantiations of the spectacle. Every now and again a big movie will come along, like Mad Max Fury Road or (I’d argue) Prometheus, which contains aspects of radical critique within its aesthetic and/or thematics. But firstly, this happens rarely, and only when a host of other factors constellate. Based on the cited examples, I’d be tempted to suggest that franchises and auteurs have something to do with it, which is interesting, as is the way those two things are clearly related in the mentioned cases. In any event, both films are akin to aberrations which can ...
Also, here's a recent edition of Watching Robocop with Kit Power, in which I join Kit and Daniel to watch and talk about... um, Superman III.
At long last, here is Part 1 of an extra-special Shabcast, in which I am joined by the brilliant Sam Keeper, of Storming the Ivory Tower, to chat about Star Wars, with particular emphasis on Rogue One.
Very pleased with this one. There were some technical difficulties with it, but I've hammered it into eminently listenable shape.
Part 2 next week.
Here are Sam's articles on Rogue One:
and here is her announcement of the upcoming (expanded and revised) collection of these essays (plus bonus content).
I've got nothing today. I was trying to get something written about Wonder Woman but it's not ready yet, and may not be good (or tactful) enough to publish anyway. Meanwhile, a podcast I'm editing is presenting big audio-quality problems. So, yeah, coupled with other stuff going on IRL... I ran out of time. Sorry everybody.
So instead, here is a little round-up of stuff I've been reading lately.
Here's Andrew Hickey saying important stuff about Autism and Empathy.
Josh was kind enough to send me this interesting article in the New Yorker about 'the occult roots of modernism'. Essential for modernism geeks.
Cameron L. Fantastic wrote a review of Zero Books' much-anticipated Kill All Normies by Angela Nagle... and it's not pretty. I have to say, my hopes weren't high because I think Nagle is overrated. Her Jacobin articles have been okay(ish) but shot through with frankly bizarre problems. I can't say Mr Fantastic (?) is right about Nagle's new book, because I haven't read it, but if half of what he says about it is true then it's a ...
Yes, the Drunken Whocast returns. It is now, undeniably, a regular thing. Some guys - Jack, Kit, and Daniel this time - in varying and progressing stages of shitfacedness, talking far too much about Doctor Who.
This time, your arseholed hosts talk Series 2 (2006). And other things (this was recorded before the election).
As before, you're getting this almost entirely unexpurgated. We've removed only some dull pauses, some bathroom breaks, one or two jokes that were a tad too off-colour upon sobre reflection, and one instance of vicious slander.
Stick with it - I'm told hour 4 is the best.
As often happens, people who sponsor me on Patreon heard this ages ago. (I don't thank my sponsors at the end of Drunken Whocasts as it seems wrong somehow, almost as if I were insulting them, but they all get namechecked at the end of regular shabcasts, as long as I have time to record that bit.)
The image across is by Steve Bell and was published in the Guardian. I'll take it down if they ask. But it seemed too brilliantly, horribly perfect to abjure.
This month I'm joined by Kit and James, to talk about the election we had last week (surprise surprise) in which Jeremy Corbyn defied his critics to resurrect the fortunes of Labour and pummel the Tories into a very uncomfortable corner. We also talk about the horrific Grenfell Tower fire, just had just happened when we sat down to record.
Please share around, tell your friends, etc. I think we're all proud of this one.
Credit where its due: this episode very much came about because Kit and James organised it, and James both edited the main body of the episode and supplied the wonderful title. I'm not even in the episode for half an hour or so.
So, interesting times, huh.
Actually, incredible times.
The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn fights the Tories to a hung parliament after years in the wilderness. Go back in time and tell me that in early 2015 and I'd laugh in your face. Not because I ever had anything but respect for Corbyn. I've always considered him a man of seriousness, principle, and dedication. And not becaue I think left-wing policies (or what passes for them these days) can't sway people, can't be popular, can't win elections. They can, and do.
(The truth is that, spread out across Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru - and taking into account the many people who vote LibDem for left-liberal reasons, and the many more people who abstain because they're too left-wing to feel represented by any party, even if they themselves don't necessarily understand themselves that way - the majority of the British public are to the left to some degree. As Milton Friedman once bewailed, the public are irretrievably collectivist.)
No, I'd have laughed primarily because I would never have thought Corbyn would be able to get the nominations ...
Okay, first let me apologise for the paucity of long-form written pieces here at Shabgraff lately. Normal service will (hopefully) be resumed fairly soon, or a proper announcement of some new normal will have to be made.
Next, let me remind you all of the existence of two new(ish) podcasts featuring me.
There’s a new episode of Oi! Spaceman, in which I join Shana and Daniel to – for reasons that now elude me – talk about ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’. HERE.
And there’s a bonus mini-episode of Wrong With Authority, featuring myself in conversation with Daniel about the 2007 David Fincher movie Zodiac. HERE.
We may do more of these (comparatively) short extra episodes in future, with just a couple of us chatting about a movie outside our main sequence. We’ve decided to call them Footnotes. Because we’re just so damn cute.
On the subject of podcasts, there are some great Shabcasts coming up, including another Drunken Whocast (which seems to be genuinely becoming a new regular thing) and a fantastic chat between myself and Sam Keeper of Storming the Ivory Tower on Star Wars, Rogue One, etc. We talked about, amongst ...