Saturday Waffling (November 21st, 2015)

(24 comments)

We haven't done one of these in a while, now have we?

Hope you're doing well. I'm slightly under the weather, with a generic November drear as western Connecticut gears up for another round of "let's try not to fucking freeze to death," but in good spirits. I'm literally putting the finishing touches on Guided by the Beauty of Their Weapons, my definitive statement on 2015, which has been a real problematic fave of a year. That's out the day after Christmas. I'm excited for it. I was just rereading the rewritten version of the title essay, and man, I am genuinely proud of that thing. It's now a 19,000 word epic, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

I've also unexpectedly started writing a book that wasn't really on the schedule or in any plans, but just sort of happened to me. It's currently 18,000 words long, and nowhere near done. It's a work of theory, because clearly everyone was waiting for one of those from me. Its starting points are the neoreactionaries, particularly Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land, as well as the work of Elizier Yudkowsky. It does many other things. I have some neat ideas on how to sell it, so look for that in 2016.

Anyway, how have you been? And better yet, who are you? Say hello, dear readers. If the Captchas will let you. 

Comments

Anton B 1 year, 9 months ago

Hey. I'd like to tell you about a great event I attended at the British Library last night. A celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Alice in Wonderland. The exhibition of first editions and ephemera in the foyer is well worth a visit but it was the panel of writers including the great granddaughter of the original Alice and Frank Cotrell-Boyce (!!) Discussing all things Lewis Carroll that was the highlight of the evening. Apart from expressing a dislike of the Disney version and an active loathing of Tim Burton's effort one of the more memorable observations from Cottrell-Boyce was of how 'Alice' has now transcended literature and become an indelible part of our culture as instantly recognisable imagery, verbal coinages and quotations. He described the work now as having become 'a book full of memes'. Great stuff.

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Eric Gimlin 1 year, 9 months ago

That sounds like an absolutely amazing way to spend an evening. I'm more a fan of Oz than Wonderland, personally; but I still would have loved to be there.

As for myself, nothing much interesting in my life these days. Just read a collection of Terry Pratchett's non-fiction; I still can't bring myself to continue on "The Shepherd's Crown" yet.

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daru.mc@gmail.com 1 year, 9 months ago

The evening sounds brilliant, just been listening to a lovely 3 hour compilation of Radio 4 programmes:

"Inspiring Alice" at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06q43pl

Still 29 days to listen.
(6 CAPTCHA attempts)

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Matt M 1 year, 9 months ago

I've been watching Jessica Jones. I have a feeling you'll love it!

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Max Curtis 1 year, 9 months ago

Similarly, I've watched the first episode of The Man in the High Castle, and... I was actually kind of disappointed. The hybrid Americas are lovely, but the characters and dialogue are just stunningly mediocre. Hopefully it gets better.

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Bennett 1 year, 9 months ago

Tonight, I had tea two tables away from Sylvester McCoy. Tomorrow, I'm getting a picture taken with Peter Capaldi. I'm doing pretty well.

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Frezno 1 year, 9 months ago

Hi, I'm that Nintendo guy who put words on here once or twice. I'm good! I've been tinkering with NaNoWriMo and having a lot of fun with it.

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Sean Dillon 1 year, 9 months ago

I've been working on writing a novel (or, more likely, a novella) which I hope to pitch to a publisher over the winter break, I've been spending the past two months working on a play for a course, and it's most likely going to be terrible because I focus on an aftermath rather than an event. Also Thanksgiving is coming up, which means I'm stuck in a room with my born again uncle and my new atheist brother

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Anthony Herrera 1 year, 9 months ago

I've just started my free 3 month subscription to Fandor streaming I got for supporting Alex Cox's Tombstone Rashomon Indiegogo campaign. So far I've watched an incredibly violent and sexual take on Jekyll and Hyde called The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne, a Canadian crime-noir haunted house movie based on The Odyssey called Keyhole, and a silent short from 1904 about a little rich boy who takes Santa hostage and forces him to deliver presents to a poor girl he wasn't going to give presents to because she is poor. I really like the idea of that because it presents a reality where Santa does exists but doesn't give gifts to the poor because it wouldn't be elegant.

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Andrew Carley 1 year, 9 months ago


Hi. I'm one of the silent minority. Arrived on-site sometime last year. Today the family Carley-Watt have been food shopping.
And that's why I'm silent.

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duckbunny 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm settling in at a new job (permanent! sufficiently paying to rent a flat!), faling increasingly behind with NaNo, and considering whether or not to run Advent Science this year. If I do, I think my contribution will be "cultural primer on English evangelicalism", which is... niche, but potentially interesting.
Boxing Day for Beauty of their Weapons, you say? Christmas money, you say?

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Chicanery 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm Chicanery. I do MA Literary Studies, with a focus in contemporary literature (and 19th Century Ireland). I am a broken shell of a man but at least I'm pretty. Like a china cup.

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Citizen_Alan 1 year, 9 months ago

Elizier Yudkowsky is a neo-reactionary? That's rather saddening. I just thought he was a hyper-rationalist Harry Potter fan who wrote what was a very good fanfic (if you can get past the monumental Mary Sue at the center of it).

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Phil Sandifer 1 year, 9 months ago

Ah, no, he's not, and I tried to craft the sentence to make that clear. There's a lot of cross-polination, though, so he's germane despite being a distinctly different school of thought.

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Kyle Strand 1 year, 9 months ago

Oh, good. I was confused on that point as well, since it's not inconceivable that from a sufficiently distant perspective they might look similar if you squint.

By the way, have you seen Scott Alexander's Anti-Neoreactionary FAQ? It might be another good reference point (Scott (whose meatspace name is not Alexander) takes Moldbug et al seriously but seems much more enamored with Yudkowsky).

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Janine 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm relatively silent and hugely mysterious. I'm a force of great power and... er... alchemy. And as I'm a British citizen I've just watched Face the Raven and... wow.

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ferret 1 year, 9 months ago

Not very interesting, but I'm solvent again. It's taken 18 months and I've achieved little else in the meantime, but it's all that matters. Now I have the time to do something creative to make the struggle worthwhile.

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5tephe 1 year, 9 months ago

Glad to hear that, friend.

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Daru 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah well done, glad for you too and hope you find something fulfilling.

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John G Wood 1 year, 9 months ago

This weekend, my wife being away, I am having a go at doing some recording with my wonderful offspring. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's yet another Doctor Who podcast. Still, I don't know how many podcasts star two teenagers and their dad, so there might be some new angles to be had. We'll be trying to keep them short and snappy (20 minutes-ish), with a song to accompany each reviewed story - happily I've already got one written that works with our first review (a Hartnell) and Isaac had a great idea for the third (a Tennant), so that just leaves May to come up with something for hers (a Pertwee). She's been busy trying to compose a theme and designing a logo. After that, there's the minor business of performing and recording them.

Speaking of, I'd better get back to learning how to edit in Audacity...

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Matt Moore 1 year, 9 months ago

As noted before the trajectory of Nick Land has been... interesting. Colleague / student Mark Fisher wrote "Capitalist Realism" (a leftwing polemic); Steve Goodman was instrumental in creating dubstep; Land ended up in Shanghai allied with racists, misogynists and pro-totalitarian nutjobs.

Tho the trajectory is there. Land's work has always been anti-humanist. The only optimism it has for humanity is that the species might one day soon be obliterated. You could even make the case that Land's neoreactionary writing is a sign of him mellowing with age (he only loathes most things now, rather than everything).

"The Thirst For Annihilation" (which sounds like it should be a Guns N Roses album) and the pieces in "Fanged Noumena" are picaresque places to visit but you wouldn't want to live there.

Some history:
http://energyflashbysimonreynolds.blogspot.com.au/2009/11/renegade-academia-cybernetic-culture.html?m=1
http://divus.cc/london/en/article/nick-land-ein-experiment-im-inhumanismus

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Daru 1 year, 9 months ago

I am a Scot in the Borderlands, artist professional storyteller, occasional outdoor educator and currently arts worker at centres doing generally creative stuff for people with autism.

Just dug up my last batch of potatoes I planted this morning, very satisfying!

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5tephe 1 year, 9 months ago

I finished writing a proto-solarpunk novel in May. Had good feedback from my friends. I have been in a writing course these past weeks, so I can re-write it to make it more readable.

My wife's Vintage Hollywood review vlog is doing nicely, and we might be getting to interview a few festival curators in January, which would be great.
It's here https://www.youtube.com/user/KittyHollywoodReview for those who might be interested.

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Gregory Burie 1 year, 9 months ago

Hi Phil, Greg checking in from Washington DC.
I love your blog and I am reading through the Eruditorum print editions, currently on Pertwee. You (and Tat and Lawrence) have been my spirit guide(s) as I work though the original series. Just wanted to say thanks and keep it up!

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