The Two Great Movement Founders Meet Again!


Wait, they don’t. What is going on? Graham Harman, the great wizard of speculative realism, is in Beirut, but there’s no mention of him meeting his fellow speculative realist Ray Brassier. What gives? Harman would never pass up an opportunity to build up the movement by describing a fateful reunion. Is it possible none of the other “founders” care for him anymore? Aren’t they thankful for all the promotion and hoopla? Sadness.

39 thoughts on “The Two Great Movement Founders Meet Again!

    • Only much better than TMZ: TMZ is invading the privacy of Hollywood celebrities to get the scoop, Graham Harman puts every single detail of his private life online for the general public consumption! No hiding in the bushes for hours, just click and see what other interesting thing is taking place in the Master’s life.

      I do hope he realizes that this is not his private diary and that his public “counting good and bad things that happened to me this week” is actually visible to others who can, in turn, properly make fun of its infantile intentions.

  1. Speaking of the great movement, where is the promised “bible” of this life-shattering new philosophy – The Speculative Turn – is it out yet? Is it still forthcoming?

  2. Mikhail, I’m not so much anti-berry as I am anti-berry proselytization. This is something I only just recently admitted to myself. Since I’m being honest today, I find it discouraging that gossipy Entertainment Tonight posts like these increase our traffic.

    • That’s why we do them – god knows we hate this hoi polloi business of gossiping – but who’s going to read that rare Levinas post unless they check back in to see how Graham Harman is coping with his loneliness?

  3. “TMZ is invading the privacy of Hollywood celebrities to get the scoop,”

    This is off-topic essentially, but casual research has finally made me realize that this is more serious than it ever seemed back when say, Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee would say ‘why can’t they just leave us ALONE?’ They are now actively trying to put certain celebs in jail. Most will secretly think this is wonderful, but it’s not. It actually smacks of weird police-state tactics: They fix on certain vulnerable ones, and track them everywhere, and stop and arrest them even when they’re very non-violent types–and obviously there are pay-offs within different realms so that there can still be the old ‘ritual sacrifice’ in the form of primitive scapegoating as in times past. I hadn’t been aware of how far it’s gone, though, although I should have.

    I noticed the absence of Brassier in the diaries as well. I find it amusing the way he refers to them by their last names as ‘Meillassoux’, while also saying their ‘friends’ and ‘spent time’, because calling them by their last names means they are not only friends, but ‘a name’. He never says Quentin, for example, even though that’s the single one that does need clarification. Harman also wrote one tiny scribble about the Nick Land Conference, which was a strange affair, because the bright lads still cannot quite encompass that subject (nor is it really something that should be advocated, of course, that’s treacherous)–but it’s clear that Harman knows and thinks politics at all times. Nick Land’s old CCRU piece ‘Meltdown’ is easily accessible online, and this is the ‘black, mad deleuzian’ of which Brassier speaks very respectfully and sensitively. The problem with Nick Land, for most people, is that it’s not really practical to go very far with it. But this one piece alone will show you why Harman really didn’t want to say much about the Nick Land Conference (and he probably only did do so because of Brassier): It’s light-years beyond anything he can write. It’s opaque, yet the work of a genius. Even his recent ‘hack writing’, as for the Shanghai Expo Guide is quite thrilling, even when he goes for the hyperbole (you can tell he knows he’s doing it). ‘Making It with Death’ is also exciting–you’re just not able to take it literally. I think that’s now the secret to his writing, wherever you find it.

    But my impression is that Harman would want to turn up his nose at Land (well, Land is not the most gracious person in the world, you know). Brassier could never do this, and this is a very ‘fresh wound’, you know, only 2 weeks ago. Harman’s recent ‘correction of a paragraph at Urbanomic’ is probably along the same lines: He has been published by Collapse, but I don’t think things are as hunky-dory as they once were, but Robin Mackay is the editor and one of Land’s primary proteges, as is k-punk (but less close, I think). So they published ‘the complete works’. I don’t want to read these, but sometimes it’s breathtaking. The gross weirdness of never mentioning his subsequent life, which he himself calls ‘hack editing’, in this conference was plain stupid, esp. if they really are including works through 2007. I’d say I’ve learned more about how to write from Land than anybody I’ve run into in the last 4 or 5 years. He’s a ‘failure’ in the sense of throwing out academia, of course. (and there are some other ways too, but that it just his own cussedness.)

    • Nick Land’s old CCRU piece ‘Meltdown’ is easily accessible online, and this is the ‘black, mad deleuzian’ of which Brassier speaks very respectfully and sensitively. The problem with Nick Land, for most people, is that it’s not really practical to go very far with it. But this one piece alone will show you why Harman really didn’t want to say much about the Nick Land Conference (and he probably only did do so because of Brassier): It’s light-years beyond anything he can write.

      I admit the Anti-Oedipus had its poetical moments when it short circuited machine concatenations with the waning and waxing of the moon, the growth of industrial sites with the tender falling of snow flakes. All is one. Beautiful.

      But then they went on and on and on with it, so they decided in fact for the trivial aspects of the machine: it is stupid and doesn’t know how to stop itself, and dropped the more subtle ones: it knows how finish its job and does what it is dedicated to do. I wonder if this is rooted in a basic conceptual mistake which was sacrificed for the theories appeal to mysticism. Both the mistake and the mysticism were continued by their followers which never read much like SF except for the pseudo-scientific aspects. In the end Nick Lands “Meltdown” doesn’t read mad and black, but like a far too long and boring blurb for a SciFi game.

      • That’s a legit response, and I think it’s most people’s. I like the swollen images, but yes, it could also be said to be pimply and obviously drug-induced (the CCRU co-founder Sadie Plant wrote a well-known book ‘Writing on Drugs’, and they did).

        “I wonder if this is rooted in a basic conceptual mistake which was sacrificed for the theories appeal to mysticism. Both the mistake and the mysticism were continued by their followers which never read much like SF except for the pseudo-scientific aspects.”

        But it was a big, adventurous, elaborate ‘mistake’ if it was a mistake. Mistakes are necessary; experiments are going to fail sometimes, or you wouldn’t call them experiments. The value lies in the doing of something that would force itself to be known–naturally, the ‘Anti-Oedipus’ and the accelerationist spin-off might concentrate on that ‘stupid part that can’t stop’. But somebody had to do an extreme version, so that people could quit wondering what might be out there or not. If, in the process, somebody lost his academic credentials, there were definitely 10000 cautious types very willing to take this one’s job loss due to recklessness–and THEY wouldn’t DO things like that! Well, but you know that’s pretty ordinary, and that’s normal too, things are not supposed to be inspired and/or hyped up all the time, just like the heart isn’t supposed to be speeding, but rather at a normal beat most of the time.

        But you don’t find out the nature of things by playing it safe all the time the way Harman does. At least Brassier is trying to understand both sides of these ways of looking at things–I find that he comes across very impressively, while letting Mr. Noyes ‘push the button’ to stop it without it being too impolite even to the non-politic.

        The Land works themselves, as I said before, probably don’t have as much use for philsophers as they do for writers and artists outside the strict domain of theory; and he doesn’t even seem to care whether anyone pays any attention to them. But his leaving of academia was part of his own theory that he was doing–going to Shanghai where he ‘adored watching the flows of capital’ is much more of a belief in accelerationism than staying in academia, even if accelerationism is, in fact, ‘retarded’, as one of my most intelligent friends has told me . As Ken Surin said, ‘not for the timid’. But the ‘timid’ were never expected to do anything but leave the more adventurous free to take some chances. When these chances are taken, there will inevitably be those who get somewhere with them, and those who won’t. Despite the impossibility of this particular subject (Land), what shows most blazingly is how most people think caution is always the wise route: They stand out in relief, even if the crazed subject ended up somewhat debilitated from the experience. Those who may think of him as their ‘dungeon master’, as that same friend said, referring to some of his former students, have been able obviously to derive something from Land’s work without having to live that way themselves. It’s somewhat exotic, you know, that this ‘Accelerationist’ would end up in Shanghai, and possibly has never even returned to Britain–so that the fiction has been continued no matter whether he nor anybody else wanted it to.

      • Kay, also realize that the piece is about 18 years old, so with “In the end Nick Lands “Meltdown” doesn’t read mad and black, but like a far too long and boring blurb for a SciFi game”, you’re judging it long after it’s filthy, threatening life had its potency, and the RPG games have developed since then, addicting people for whole weeks and months at a time, among other things. What remains is the writing style, which you can take or leave, of course, as well.

  4. Yes, I heard you, Alex.

    Obviously, anyone ‘would have told one’ what had happened, and it’s equally certain that you all knew. So perhaps the attempt was to keep it on as ‘pure’ a wavelength as possible, and in this regard, Noyes’s speech was the most useful, whether or not it was the most interesting.

    What is misleading about the ‘production’ is that doing it that way did mislead some people, who didn’t know what the fuck was going on. And it wasn’t their fault. Whatever Nick was doing in his accelerationism thinking may be borne out by what he did personally, to some degree. It may not even matter if he knows that or not. Still, it has the look of authenticity more than those who are schmoozing and collegial as a bottom line at any cost.

    What I was talking about is the ‘writerly’ aspect that Mikhail recently brought up in regard to Zizek and other writers, in that very clever ‘Sprezzatura’ post. That’s why I brought up the Urbanatomy Shanghai Guides and the Shanghai Expo Guides. Mikhail didn’t even know he was alive! Are you following me? And Mikhail is no fool. So that, what I was saying was that even when he writes pulpy stuff for the Expo, it’s publicity that doesn’t sound like an ordinary travel writer would do. Fuck, this is beginning to get on my nerves, so here is the April 29 China Beat with the Expo intro, which is full of shit but nonetheless very good:

    http://www.thechinabeat.org/?tag=urbanatomy

    Here’s the write-up by his discussion person in early July. Christ, by the time that happened, I had already lost my virginity:

    http://www.thechinabeat.org/?p=2261

    “I heard this: he went a bit too far with certain things and edged toward self-induced psychosis as well as throughly pissing off the structures of institutional academia with the apparently pretty intense CCRU, which was forced out of Warwick into the wild, as Simon Reynolds notes in his interview with them, because of various extra-circular experiments.”

    Isn’t that the whole point? Why what he did was maybe somehow different from the usual academic routines, and routines are obviously something he is none too expert at. Don’t all these theorists and academics talk about how important it is to ‘be non-academic’ and go against these ‘structures’ all the time? So isn’t it quite necessary, in order to effect this, to ‘thoroughly piss off these structures’? Well, I can tell you: He likes to piss off almost anybody, but taking CCRU ‘into the wild’ was what it’s all about. He ‘went feral’, and your conference may not have been able to extend its jurisdiction to fully cover this; it might mean you’d gone feral yourself. As such, I am glad to have put these links, because there is no reason why the collection should have stopped at 2007, just because Hyperstition essentially did.

    As for M. Brassier, his position is the most interesting of the ‘observing philosophes’. I don’t know enough about him to know how uncomfortable some of this may have been, but I thought he acquitted himself admirably. I saw that one of the other ‘feral ones’, Reza Negarestani, is going to continue this accelerationist talk in Jan. or Feb., also at Goldsmith’s. What Nick did was a kind of ‘one-pointed’ thing actually, even though it comes across as schizophrenic in the telling (or even some of the demonstrating.) Or, at least that’s how I see it, and for some reason, nobody has been able to talk me out of it.

    Whether he’s a ‘superstar philosopher’ I wouldn’t be able to tell you, but I wouldn’t think any academic philosopher would call him one, whereas they would certainly call Mr. Harman a ‘superstar’.

    Very Andrew Lloyd Webber…

    • Maybe what I know is less well known outside the UK continental philosophy community, ie Mikhail, but it is pretty well known within in – indeed, it is difficult to think of who has heard of Nick Land I know who doesn’t know the whole tale. Were we supposed to prefix a discussion of his work with the “here are all his ideas and he is now working as a travel writer”? How would that have added to a discussion of acclerationism. When it was relevant, it did come up or was alluded to, that he lost contact with the Left and went right? Might be myopia on my part but I don’t see how anyone has been misled.

      • Well, they’re not by now. It’s really pretty simple. You didn’t have to say he was a travel writer and had a family, but people knew Derrida was alive when he was, and dead since he has been. That ‘everybody has heard the whole tale who’s ever heard of him’ is not something that should necessarily be understood. If you’re going to talk about ‘mad black deleuzian’, it wouldn’t have hurt to have said more so this could be understood, and it was not. But so what? It doesn’t matter that much to most people anyway.

        It was supposedly a discussion of Accelerationism, but also it was focussed on this particular volume of Land’s works being released. It’s hard to even be sure he even really ‘went right’ (with the neocon stuff) or whether that itself was just another elaborate joke (some think it was.) But this is not considered that important to most theorists and academics, so it’s enough that it was cleared up.

        “Maybe what I know is less well known outside the UK continental philosophy community, ie Mikhail, but it is pretty well known within in – ”

        Yeah, well, there’s your definite problem. Like journalists who write stories of continuing interest as they unfold daily, as the Oil Spill, the Pakistani Drone Operation, etc., you always have to re-state the origins, as ‘when the oil rig blew up in April’, etc., so yes, it’s myopic not to give enough background, I’d say. Still, no big deal. This is small potatoes for most folks. But the idea that you present something only being sure that it’s ‘well-known within the UK continental philsophy community’ is obviously insufficient.

      • You normally know someone is alive when no one uses the term ‘late theorist Nick Land’ or ‘tragically died’ or so on. I normally assume a writer is alive when it hasn’t been said otherwise and its a quick Google away (this is 2010) – what do you do?

        I’ll make sure that every time I talk about a figure with crazy ideas that I have described in press blurb that I put whether they are living or dead in brackets after their name.

      • Okay, you do that. Fisher said something about ‘we’re all accelerationists’, but the book is not called ‘accelerationism’ or ‘The Accelerationists’. It’s called Fanged Noumena, the Collected Works of Nick Land, or close to that. So maybe some academics will buy the and more won’t (I’m among the latter, I’ve read enough.) What I said was very obvious, so I’m not going to reply to you further than that when people talk about Harman they talk about Cairo and when they talk about academics who’ve STAYED in academia, whether or not normaliens, they usually mention that. They say Nick Bostrom of Oxford University. It’s actually more interesting as detail (and illumination of his own project, even if psychotic) that he’s not with Warwick or l’Ecole Normale, but rather with I Heart Shanghai. Everybody knows everything about Zizek, including biographical details. It has to do with this particular subject, but he probably would have approved, if he cares at all. In any case, Hyperstition, where he was last officially talking in public to Fisher and Mackay, etc., went through 2008 or so and if you don’t understand that part of all that has to do with Shanghai, then don’t.

        But there were at least three people who complained about this aspect of the conference, speaking of ‘academic funerals’ and ‘requiems’ and even ‘why are we then even talking about Land?’ My sentiments exactly, the latter, at this point. I wasn’t the only one who noticed this, maybe it’s just that I don’t have anything to lose in the academic community by saying what I think (although Drowned by Saving spoke up). The idea of ‘going into your own black hole and maybe you come out and maybe you don’t’ is nevertheless something worth thinking about. My own experience has been something like that, in that I detoured from the straight and narrow, so I realize that, while you’re in academia. you obviously have certain constraints. Everybody tries to cut their losses.

      • Sorry that last comment was a bit aggressive, but I do think there wasn’t an attempt to create some dense fog of mystery.

        Just as you point out the name of Land’s book, may I also repeat a similar move: the day was about accelerationism, not about Nick Land’s work in total (and certainly not about his not actually that obscure biography), though he was considered with Lyotard, D&G and De Landa to be a key theorist of it. Having read Fanged Noumena, particularly the essays “Cybergothic”, “Machinic Desire”, “Meltdown” and “Meat” it is pretty clear that this is the case and why on a day entitled ‘accelerationism’ we should ” talking about Land” – compounded by his influence upon Speculative Realism, Collapse, Brassier and so on. Maybe if this didn’t come across then we failed as teachers, but this was the intent.

        I find the idea that people haven’t expressed strong opinions because they are somehow muted by academia a bit odd though as here I am, expressing a strong opinion.

        Finally, just for the record, as my talk should have made abundantly clear, I am neither pro-Accelerationist or pro-Land.

      • “I find the idea that people haven’t expressed strong opinions because they are somehow muted by academia a bit odd”

        I meant that they had said these to me privately, 3 other than myself (except for the blogger, I read his after thinking the same thing). There are always reasons why anyone, academics or other (if those exist, is it really possible?) might quite reasonably not want to say something because of conflicts of interest. Academia is a business just like any other, it’s just not ‘pure business’ like investment banking. This whole post is about controversial gossip candidates in these bleugs. It was all right to continue some of this after an event; after all, it’s the ‘truth’ that matters, not the singular glamour of a Goldsmith’s conference, now isn’ t’it? 🙂

    • I absolutely do not understand your point. There are significantly easier ways to advance one’s academic career than not saying your impression of a conference was that it was funereal (perhaps people did not hold this opinions outside the group you hung around with?), or organising a conference on a set of relatively obscure issues and figures. But apparently not. We are all careerist networking drones, self-censoring our criticism least we descend the academic ladder due to continuous assessment by invisible guardians and knots of conflicts of interest.

      • “There are significantly easier ways to advance one’s academic career than not saying your impression of a conference was that it was funereal”

        Yes, I would imagine that there would be some that are even easier than ye olde chestnut *funerealisme assessment*. Although I’m sure those who didn’t say it publicly considered that their golden chances were even less likely to pass them by!

        Rilly just unbelievable.

      • “There are significantly easier ways to advance one’s academic career than…organising a conference on a set of relatively obscure issues and figures. ”

        This was the best ‘apres’ I found:

        “I felt much clearer about what accelerationism is and how it might function as an anti-capitalist strategy after the event”

        So that then this may be possible, but only in certain circumstances, and not always academics: “But apparently not. We are all careerist networking drones, self-censoring our criticism least we descend the academic ladder due to continuous assessment by invisible guardians and knots of conflicts of interest.”

        And I hadn’t even said that. But yes, okay, go with it.

  5. I don’t know Land personally but some of my friends did during his time at Warwick. Alex is right to point out that NL wasn’t just ‘dropping out’. Michel Leiris said when he gave up on a conventional academic career that he’d ‘rather be intoxicated than study intoxication rituals’ (he began life as an anthropologist of the tribes of North Africa). My friends indicate that this was NL’s attitude. He took seriously the part in Deleuze and Guattari about how the schizo finds a black hole in life and enters into it, and some come out and some don’t– apparently this was the life-experiment NL was carrying out at Warwick. Not for the timid like me….

  6. Very much alive, and that was part of the gross stupidity of the way they did the conference. I don’t think he had an agreement with them beforehand to ‘set the tone for something somewhat lugubrious’, but it almost seemed like there had been. If so, even he cannot continue to publish (as he still does for Urbanatomy) and also demand that his ‘philosophical sphere friends’ create ‘allure’ by talking of him as a ghost. How thoroughly ridiculous.

    But I’m glad you asked, I’m not at all surprised that even the smart ones in the bleugs don’t know. He’s even got two children aged about 4 and 6, I think, and they are these perfect little creatures. His wife does a bleug, but I shouldn’t put the link.

    I was just thinking at the grocery store just now that Land’s thoroughly neurotic obsession with anonymity and ‘obscurity’ leads one into recklessness (or it did in his case, or if one was too young when exposed to him), is nevertheless ‘artistically admirable’, even if it has to fall short unless you choose to perish a little to quickly; while Harman’s bleug is all about self-promotion on a constant basis more than any other bleuger’s is. Yes, I didn’t even realize to what degree. What you say about his needing to ‘write down his every waking thought’ ought to be ‘indecent enough’, but I now see that he wants to talk about ‘in my first book’ and ‘this is my first book with zer0’, oh my god it’s excruciating. I’m going to do a bleug just for my new book in a few months, but I don’t pretend it to be anything else, nor do I expect it to sell that well, it’s rather, just the next thing (or two) for me to do.

    It IS possible that Land would like the ‘mystique production’ that that weird conference made. But how hard is it for anyone to know anything about him? It’s not so much that he left academia to become ‘business casual’ or what-have-you, but rather that that was just the next part of his own development. He refuses to think of it as ‘courage’, as he scoffs at such ‘masculine terms’, but it is nevertheless. I think the reason academics, as opposed to artists, don’t take him seriously, is brazenly obvious and brazenly coarse: He does not demonstrate how to become a successful academic, a tenured professor. He writes rings around most of them, so there’s a kind of ‘moment of truth’ in which they really have to confront the fact that they want to network and self-promote, and yes, they want this more than they want the substance they’re claiming to stand behind–in fact, Land demonstrates, if your refuse that silly ‘self-schism’ that that absurd conference insists upon by not giving ONE bit of proper information, that if you really had a conviction about your philosophy, who says you’d necessarily stay in the profession proper? His Expo Guide Intro was written only about 4 months ago, and it’s still got ye olde mad pen going in it.

      • I heard this: he went a bit too far with certain things and edged toward self-induced psychosis as well as throughly pissing off the structures of institutional academia with the apparently pretty intense CCRU, which was forced out of Warwick into the wild, as Simon Reynolds notes in his interview with them, because of various extra-circular experiments. Then as you say, he left academia and is now working as a travel writer somewhere in the East. To be fair, I don’t think there was an attempt to create an allure especially, because if you had asked anyone at the conference, I think they would have told you what has happened to him. I mean, I spoke at the conference and knew all this and it’s pretty common knowledge in the circles I move in and amongst my friends that this is the case. Indeed, I’ve know ‘the fate of Nick Land’ since I have been an post-graduate.

        Also, one of the things Mark Fisher said in his introduction was one of the things which was most interesting about Land was that he precisely refused to be a conventional academic and had nothing to teach one with regards to succeeding in the academy, rather unlike, well, almost any super-star philosopher I can think of since the 1960s (not saying he is superstar level, but as a point).

  7. Anyway, back to the topic, it’s funny to watch GH rail against those who suggest OOO has precedents while watching the turbulent priest TM show how close OOO is to Buddhism.

    • Clearly, OOO was way before Buddhism, so there’s no harm.

      On the serious note, of course it’s okay for TM to say all that stuff, he’s one of the converts, he’s your Thomas Aquinas (not in stature, of course) struggling with Aristotle – as long as you still go to mass, struggle away!

  8. “Don’t all these theorists and academics talk about how important it is to ‘be non-academic’ and go against these ‘structures’ all the time?”

    Ahh, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that would give up being academics, does it?

    Some objectologists whine about how philosophers aren’t “getting out there and getting busy with things” (Bryant) and yet no one is going to leave academia – they wouldn’t know what to do wit themselves.

    And then there’s Mr. Harman who can sincerely (and non-ironically) utter something like “What does me being an academic have to do with the kind of philosophy I produce? Just because I’m a university professor does not mean my philosophy is not edgy and cool” etc etc…

    Anyway, this is so off topic, it started its own topic now.

  9. Yet again I start with a humorous note that becomes some gigantic thread. Not to contradict anyone, but look at Land’s Wiki page:

    Nick Land (born in 1962) was a lecturer in Continental Philosophy from 1987 to 1999 at the University of Warwick, UK. He was the faculty co-founder, along with Sadie Plant, of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU) at Warwick. He is the author of The Thirst for Annihilation: George Bataille and Virulent Nihilism and, more recently, various articles on cybernetic culture.

    Whoever the great soul who put it together was, clearly only Land’s “academic” career mattered, there’s no other information, it doesn’t exist/matter. I think it’s quite clear that as far as academics are concerned, he’s dead.

    As for doing philosophy as a university vs. outside – Harman’s full of shit (as usual), no one has as much time outside of the academic world to dedicate so many hours to writing books and blogging, no one. If he lost his cushy job and went back to some other employment, I doubt he would have much time or energy for his writing.

    • If he lost his cushy job and went back to some other employment, I doubt he would have much time or energy for his writing.

      He might just find that objects aren’t worth it😉

      Nick Land, if I understood this correctly, was contaminated with a post Marxist, psychotic brand of postmodernism, which he even advanced using gothic/cyberpunk folklore and finally found a loop hole in this system which let him leave academia and lead a normal life instead ( family, job etc. ) but staying still faithful with his earlier theories: neoliberalism and “accelerationism” have a sufficiently large intersection as B.Noys put out. A mad and dark system aligns with a mad and dark philosophy. But instead of looking for a way to liberate ones soul from madness and darkness he liberated himself from ever more theory production. Why not skipping it if one doesn’t believe in the light of enlightenment anyway?

      The world is drowned in schizophrenia and accelerates anyway and that’s the most enjoyable aspect about it. The world is bad and that’s the best thing we can say about it. It is not quite the totalitarian, oppressive, militarist system of bondage & discipline ( Prussia, North Korea, several theocracies, Zizeks “left fascist” dream-team ) though but ruled by a fragile, hyper-complex, sprawling monster i.e. Capitalism a.k.a. Cthulhu [1] – with special thanks to S.Shaviro who figured this correspondence out for us – , that leaks everywhere, is very powerful but also fun to hack, then why not also enjoying its flows of money, labour and commodities?

      There is a good alignment between neurosis = academia, which is recycled by endless theory production and schizophrenia = free market capitalism i.e. material production used to produce more capital. Land and Harman are dual to each other. The one uses his theory to leave a neurotic institution while the other uses this institution to create small theory objects packaged into books.

      [1] Isn’t the fierce Chinese dragon also an image of Cthulhu?

      • “But instead of looking for a way to liberate ones soul from madness and darkness he liberated himself from ever more theory production.”

        Isn’t liberating yourself from ever more theory production a giant baby step toward liberating one’s soul from madness and darkness (except for the good parts.)

        “Land and Harman are dual to each other. The one uses his theory to leave a neurotic institution while the other uses this institution to create small theory objects packaged into books. ”

        Quite so, isn’t it? And yet you still have some little lingering doubts which is the most fun? It’s been illuminating to see how much some people now like ‘package ‘n’ sell’ as not only a flaccid and useful practicism, but an aesthetics of Endlessly Postponed Orgasm as well! How times have changed indeed. Fortunately, faking death is one of the few things Harman and I agree on: He wrote a little bonbon about somebody in 9/11, I think, running off after getting out of the buildings and changing his identity, and just everything, you know.

        Harman found this very eerie. He didn’t think it was romantic at all!

  10. This is all very disappointing. So Land didn’t end up in an asylum, commit suicide, or get hit by a bread van? He just smoked too much weed, went a bit mad and is now alive and well in Shanghai? Romanticism aint what it used to be.

    Anyway, what I really want to know is who Brassier’s flaccid inanity is aimed at. Bergsonian vitalism seems like another soft target to me.

  11. Not thought of it before but how do Harman’s objects have sex? Maybe they just watch, no point in even taking your pants off. But I think we’re being too harsh on Harman. I mean he isn’t just talking about berries but all different scales of fruit, small and large. Who can deny the democracy of fruit?

    I don’t think Harman’s strategy of quoting the new juiciest bits of Meillassoux to hype his new book is going to work though. It all sounds like drivel so far. The only point of scientific interest will be the fantastic speed at which Meillassoux can disappear up his own arse. But perhaps Harman is out for revenge. Meillassoux has already called him a naive realist (surely not!) and he has no place in his ontology for fruit.

    • Not thought of it before but how do Harman’s objects have sex?

      I was forced to give this some thought this summer, after having been informed (rather latecoming, this) that these persons are determined to prove the withdrawnness of objects from each other. Well, when you’re really fucking, it just is not all that apparent that, at a mininum, you’re making a valiant effort at not being overly withdrawn. To prove the frigidity of the OOO personnel, I informed my friend ‘E., we’re fucking!’ and a wry smile proved that there was amused agreement that we most likely weren’t too involved with withdrawnness at that moment. That was quite the cure not only from Harman-Bryant Withdrawnness Syndrome, but a whole host of basically unattractive properties, such as Swedish Alienation which leads to suicide.

      As for fruits, I don’t care that much about their democracy ish-yews, but I think I read fairly recently in one of Harman’s Features Columns, that ‘sensual objects’ were definitely not real, something like that, I’m not going to demand perfection in quoting of Harman Theory. Fruits are definitely sensual objects, no matter whether the literal or the metaphorical; although the allowance for decoration of some fruits as the pomegranate is often necessary, since this fruit doesn’t usually ‘work’; and even when chefs use it as flavouring for subtle sauces, I’m damned if I know which delicate moment is the pomegranate–and the fruit vendors will just sell you, like, anything and call it ‘ripe’. But most of the important fruits–such as papaya and mango–I mean, fuggedabouteee…of course he’d rather talk about Toasters and Microwaves. Of this tendency I have warned Mikhail, who became himself infected, and wrote a whole opera outline for chorus lines of Toasters. I think I need not explain why Toasters might be more acceptable to mangoes and Dragon Star Fruits to Harman. I’ll admit to being in the dark about Meillassoux’s yogic gifts, but I do gratefully thank you for informing us.

      They probably do watch with clothes on, though, since they don’t know how to do it with clothes on. But as is well-known and not the least bit obscure, it is undemocratic to expect everyone to be able to enact the Italien/Francaise combination of Robbe-Grillet’s stars…even if they prove non-withdrawnness on an inaccessible level while remain in formal apparel (until, well, you know…it apparently involved no force…)

  12. Silly me, I should have done a close reading of the text. Harman’s L’objet quadruple is so seminal its only available in French. I’ve had a go at translating the first paragraph, you’ll have to forgive the transliterations:

    ‘I am the Harmanator. I speak to fruit. Do not doubt how radical I think I am. You are not allowed to call me naive because I called you it first. Science is for wusses, Stephen Hawking, Elvis Presley, trains, planes and automobiles. Only I have experienced the whole fruit. There are four types of fruit but I am not going to tell you what they are. All your fruit belong to us you bunch of wankers.’

    I think this is irrefutable proof that Harman has turned to fruit mysticism. I always thought there was more to his philosophy. I mean a return to the object was a bit, like, predictable. Apparently he’s created a new brand of OOO called Fruit Oriented Correlationism. He’s licensed it from the Meillassoux Estate who is going to call his own version FOC ME. I believe it is already all the rage at the Starbucks in Vincennes.

    • “Only I have experienced the whole fruit.”

      So was it as good for you as it was for me last night? I’ve nothing against this ‘new romanticism’. After all, I found out that, while Tokyo and New York are the largest metropolitan areas, obviously including outer suburbs as well as inner (if any, New York has no legally-defined inner suburbs like Los Angeles, which has many), Shanghai is the largest ‘city proper’ in the world, although about tied with Karachi, acc. to what year the door-to-door census takers were most effective.

      “I mean a return to the object was a bit, like, predictable. ”

      I suppose the ‘like’ almost gets you off the hook for using ‘I mean’ like Anodyne and Arpege, but I stopped it about 2 weeks ago, having decided it’s quite repulsive. The only reason I ever considered it was that, on one rare occasion only, Joan Didion used it for her ‘unreliable narratore’ with ‘I mean she really thought….’ but that was done as a form of emphasis, and she probably even regrets even that one slip…but this was not a serious offense, because the ‘she’ being referenced has also been seen, quietly going crazy, in a conspiracy-saturated
      Caribbean island coffee shop eating a meal consisting of Ice Cream Parfait and Bacon. One bite of parfait was swallowed, and then some bacon was taken. It was quite the communion wafer and grape juice. But this was so original that it’s hardly in the same league as Anodyne and Arpege. I am also in favour of prohibiting ‘yeah’, instead of just the proper ‘yes’, in bleug replies.

      “the Meillassoux Estate”

      Does his wife have orange groves? If so, that would make up for the losses at Santa Clarita, last bastion of famed Los Angeles Orange Grove Epoch, which was still thriving in the early decades of the 20th century, and there was such vast wilderness in the geographical Hollywood area that I have a still of the filming of ‘Birth of a Nation’ which is quite thrilling with the troops all a-flankout. Of course, despite the subsequent ‘Intolerance’, Griffith’s film was rilly just Pure Jim Crow, as can be attested by traxus, Arpege and Anodyne.

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a
      Beauty Contest to announce the results of. These were exacted more rapidly than I had expected, even with the addition of Mr. Brassier, despite wearing red schoolboy sneakers at the age of 45, which may mean he was the one born in the Chinese Year of the Water Snake.

      • New York has no legally-defined inner suburbs like Los Angeles, which has many

        Correction: the UN compound may well be considered an ‘inner international suburb’ of New York City. This is probably the reason New York City need not be the U.S. capital or even the state capital.

  13. “despite wearing red schoolboy sneakers at the age of 45”

    But did he pull? Brassier’s teenwolf look was never very popular with the ladies and gentlemen.

    I still worry for his posture. Even after the make over this does not seem greatly improved. At the old Manchester gig he was bobbing up and down so much I was afraid what the camera would reveal was going on down below. Many a young philosopher has come a cropper in a freak armchair accident.

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