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Poverty porn or hearth porn?

A Guardian guy/gal posts some pictures of poor people in mountain shacks. 234+ comments are generated.

The only thing that generates more anger than poor people having a great life is poor people having a normal life. If you, dear boo-zwhah libertarian, read about some ghetto gurls making mad stacks off the System, your blood pressure may rise, but at least those gurls are clearly bad and wouldn’t exist in your glorious silicone utopia which, according to Ray Kurzweil, is just one $13,000,000,000 government subsidy away.

These people in this article, normal people living normallives in boring shacks in the Carpathians, are much greater threats to your identity. They’re living a life likely not much more happy or sad than yours, they’re doing it with much less than you have, and most importantly, they’re doing it by having absolutely nothing to do with you and your ideal world. You couldn’t be a welfare queen, but you could live in a shack, and to reassure yourself that your Prius lifestyle is totally okay, you need to post screeds about how these people in their shacks are abusing themselves and their children. Continued…

Categories: Arcana.

Conjuratione Revelata

Graham Hancock on altered states

Authorized for distribution to      . Approved for comment.

Categories: Arcana, Psychology.

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Alone with Zizek

The outside IS the inside

If you’re reading this then you probably already know that there’s a languishing blog called The Last Psychiatrist. The comments section feels like The Wasteland, but there’s a wealth of posts in the archive and it’s well worth you’re time if you haven’t visited.  I’m a comparatively new reader, having discovered the blog about a year ago (more likely, the blog discovered me), and I’m not the first to notice parallels between Alone’s critique and Zizek/Lacan’s theoretical framework.  Most clearly, Alone explains “the system” as (Symbolic) big Other, and the ego as (Imaginary) fantasy.  His readability––especially as it compares with the philosophical speculation of Zizek and the jargon-laden Lacanian texts––comes not just as a result of his humor, self-deprecation and insights, but also because Alone scrupulously avoids talking explicitly about the third and most infamous “Lacanian register”, the Real. I’m confident that the Real does figure in Alone’s account, but I hesitate to say much more than that. I think that whenever he talks about “behavior” or “defense mechanisms” or “change”, the assumption is that there is, in fact, a subject ($) beyond/beneath the ossified and dogmatic ego. What I hope to flesh out with some of these quotes––and what I finally find so compelling about TLP––is the way he specifically guards against that assumption. The subject is “blocked” ($) from the very start, meaning that it doesn’t lie “beyond” or “beneath” anything but instead is a sort of “user experience”.


Categories: Arcana, Philosophy, Psychoanalysis.

Step forward and receive: this young human is included into an institution designed to exclude her, and what happens next will warm your heart and crush your faith in humanity

Watch it.

Jesus fucking goddamn son of a cunt, this is the ugliest two minutes forty-three seconds of poker-faced alienation-porn I have caught myself watching drunk at three fifty-two in the morning on a week-night in… a long time.

I am not an American, so I cannot pretend to know what your whole ‘homecoming’ thing is all about. I can only presume that is isn’t actually as horrendous as it appears to be, but, the obvious question is: how much more can there be to an institution which appears to be all about appearance? Continued…

Categories: Uncategorized.

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Leftovers, Anyone?


With only one episode left in the first season of “The Leftovers”, HBO’s new quasi-apocalyptic offering based in the contemporary suburban town of Mapleton, it remains to be seen whether the spontaneous worldwide disappearance of 140 million people was the start of something, shall we say, metaphysical.


We know, for sure, that there was nothing terrestrial about the “great vanishing” (my term); just – poof – like a fart in the wind.  And fans of other HBO series would be remiss for not drawing parallels between “The Leftovers” and 2003’s “Carnivàle”, which, set in a Dust Bowl era traveling circus/sideshow, explicitly dealt with a coming apocalypse.  That is until, in a kind of metapocalypse, it was cancelled after the second season. Continued…

Categories: Communications & Media Studies, Literary Criticism, Pop Culture, Psychoanalysis.

Reddit Plays Itself On Reddit

   “We may deal with flimsier coin, but, like the abstractness of high finance, the business is even more serious for it.” – Ernest Becker


Founded in 2005, reddit bills itself as “the front page of the internet.” It has a small staff and hasyet to make a profit. Much of the lifting is done by hundreds of thousands of active “redditors” who post, comment, and vote on each others’ submissions.sI1pXum

Reddit has its own internal logic, self-contained culture, and inside jokes that keep its more active users hooked. A friend describes redditing at work and cracking up at all kinds of stuff he has no means of explaining to his coworkers. Its a place for people to indulge tendencies that they can’t or wouldn’t elsewhere.

The site has, let’s say, a reputation. Reddit is a casual diversion for bored tech bros, hipsters, and cubicle jockeys, until it isn’t. On reddit, you never know when a simple discussion is going to get heated, abusive, or unbelievably stupid. Continued…

Categories: Arcana, Communications & Media Studies, Pop Culture.

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The Passable Poser

In addition to the commonly-accepted definition of narcissism, readers of this blog are likely familiar with a second, more nuanced definition. This second definition more-or-less defines contemporary individualism in the west. It is a pervasive, subtle sort of selfishness that is defined so loosely so as to apply to most people; alas you, dear reader, and I are not exempted.

This again? Really?

This again? Really?


Categories: Communications & Media Studies, Social Science.

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Yet Another Judgement Day

Quite often, when discussing works of art, people argue about the intent of its creators. What did Stanley Kubrick want to say with “Barry Lyndon” or, let us say, “Eyes Wide Shut”? What ideas did Jean-Paul Sartre encase in “Nausea”? What’s the message of <…>? On and on these questions go.

Questions of this sort appear due to various reasons, but I’d highlight this one: the desire to see past the obvious things and discern various intricacies. Symbols, references, thoughts hidden between the lines, you name it. In other words, these queries are driven by curiosity, by thirst for knowledge. And in this specific case, who can quench it more effectively than the creator of the work?

But all such discussions will consist of pure speculation, unless the author had the courtesy to accommodate his work with some sort of documentation, an official guidebook of sorts, which contains authentic revelations. Such a commentary, if provided, swiftly puts an end to all arguments about what the author himself saw in the work he produced.


Categories: Long Form, Philosophy, Psychology.

What’s So Good About Nature?

The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.”—Chief Seattle, The Chief Seattle’s Speech

Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Author of things; everything degenerates in the hands of Man.”—Rousseau, Emile or On Education

Oooh, so Mother Nature needs a favor?! Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys! Nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she’s losing. Well I say, hard cheese.”—Mr. Burns, The Simpsons


Categories: Philosophy, Pop Culture, Social Science.

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Mono no Aware

Hi. It’s been awhile for me. I suppose this is a bit less abstract than the usual writing on the site, but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about as it has reflected off of a lot recent events that I’ve gone through.


Categories: Uncategorized.