Morton’s book out: forgets to mention one important OOO figure and misspells the name of someone he is acknowledging…

Tim Morton’s new book is out – surely it will be as awesomely nonsensical as his blog writings = here. First thing to draw my troll attention? Lack of Levi Bryant, one of the other founders of OOO, in the Acknowledgement section – scandalous!


First and foremost, Graham Harman [check] brought this book into being in almost every sense. He compelled me to become an object-oriented ontologist, through the ingenious device of brilliant, seductive prose. And as series editor he has been a most helpful, generous partner in putting this book together.

Ian Bogost [check], one of the founders of object-oriented ontology (OOO), gave me the title at a highly spiced brainstorming session in Los Angeles in December 2010, and since then has shared his thinking in the most generous ways possible.

There many people whose more than inspiring ideas and kind words have helped me on this project, including but not limited to: Jamie Allen, Jane Bennett, Bill Benzon, Paul Boshears, Rick Elmore, Paul Ennis, Rita Felski, Dirk Felleman, Nathan Gale, Bobby George, Thomas Gokey, Joseph Goodson, Peter Gratton, Liam Heneghan, Eileen Joy, Julia Reinhard Lupton, Douglas Kahn, Ken Reinhard, Tom Sparrow, MacKenzie Wark, Cary Wolfe, and Ben Woodard.

This book is dedicated to my son Simon. Anyone who has trouble imagining causality as magical and uncanny need only consider the existence of children.

Sure, there are parenthetical references to the great onticologist here and there in the book, but nothing really interesting. I propose to move the periodization of the fake philosophical history of OOO to the next stage: “…and then it split into two sub-movements: pro-Harman (Morton and Bogost) and pro-Bryant (Bryant).”

Note to sympathetic commenters – sure, this is a waste of my time, but it’s hilarious and I mention it because I like to poke holes at self-important morons. Give me this one thing, please. No egos were hurt in the preparation and publication of this blog post.

A Confession about JG Ballard’s Crash

I recently re-read JG Ballard’s Crash after some 10-15 years. I remember liking the book quite a bit, but on this latest re-reading I thought it was absolutely awful. In every way. Lousy writing. Tedious descriptions. In fact, I was bored most of the time. All in all, I found it, almost, well, um…tacky. For those readers that aren’t familiar with Ballard’s book, Crash, the plot is basically this: a character, JG Ballard, and his good friend Vaughn develop a scheme to kill Elizabeth Taylor in an erotic high speed car accident. It’s certainly easy to see the connection, some twenty years after Ballard wrote Crash, with the death of Princess Diana. However, I’m pretty sure Ballard had in mind Jayne Mansfield, who died in a car crash in ’67 or ’68. As the story goes, her boyfriend fell asleep at the wheel and Mansfield was decapitated. I did , however, just find out a fun fact. Mansfield’s daughter, who was sleeping in the backseat, survived the crash unscathed, for the most part. Mansfield’s daughter? Mariska Hargitay of Law and Order SVU fame. For those who haven’t seen the show, Hargitay’s character is a cop that investigates sex crimes. Somehow this seems rather apropos in this context…

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly (Cogburn Edition)

While you were stuffing yourself with turkey and listening to your creepy uncle’s war stories, Jon Cogburn was expecting (and then having) a baby girl (well, actually his wife was, at least that’s how it usually goes). Since Jon’s an old friend of the blog, I’d like to suspend all sarcasms for just a minute to congratulate him on the new arrival.

Future of the Book.

I’m not really buying it yet, all that talk of e-books and Kindle and stuff, but the author makes some interesting observations

Credit goes to two key developments: the breakthrough success of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, and the maturation of the Google Book Search service, which now offers close to 10 million titles, including many obscure and out-of-print works that Google has scanned. As a result, 2009 may well prove to be the most significant year in the evolution of the book since Gutenberg hammered out his original Bible.

If so, if the future is about to be rewritten, the big question becomes: How?

My usual concern with Kindle is, for example, that in order to read my multiple PDFs I will need to upload them to and then convert them – “for a small fee” – into Kindle format, which is not my thing (paying for stuff, you know, especially if you already own it). I think once there’s a cheap and unattached device out there, I would certainly consider buying it, although I doubt that it would replace the actual books. I think in the future, if you buy a new book, it should come with a small disk with a searchable PDF of the book which will eliminate the need for indexes (and graduate students everywhere will be doing something else for their professors). 

Anyone has a Kindle out there and wants to share the experience?

How To Think About Science.

A great radio series – I only listened to a few of these, but it’s very thought-provoking and for general public (like myself): 


If science is neither cookery, nor angelic virtuosity, then what is it?
Modern societies have tended to take science for granted as a way of knowing, ordering and controlling the world. Everything was subject to science, but science itself largely escaped scrutiny. This situation has changed dramatically in recent years. Historians, sociologists, philosophers and sometimes scientists themselves have begun to ask fundamental questions about how the institution of science is structured and how it knows what it knows. David Cayley talks to some of the leading lights of this new field of study.

Schedule: Continue reading

127 писем о любви (Андрей Синявский)

lettersСпешу сообщить о замечательной возможности преобрести все 3 тома писем Синявского за 1200 рублей (с пересылкой в США получается около 60-ти зелёных, то есть очень дешево, по моему скромному мнению – я книги через озон.ру покупал и очень рекомендую, дешевая пересылка занимает около 8-10 недель, но можно и побыстрее если у вас есть такая необходимость). Я давно хотел их преобрести, но всё никак не удавалось найти весь комплект и дёшево: 

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(Future) New Book: Pinkard’s Translation of Phenomenology of Spirit

I couldn’t quite tell when the translation is going to come out, but the bilingual draft of the whole thing is available on Pinkard’s website – a pretty cool format with English and German on the same page, I’m assuming it’s not going to be published that way. Take a look.

Conflux NYC Update: Murgida’s 9/10


As I plugged here, during the Conflux Festival in NYC Bay area artist Lucas Murgida built a lovely wooden cabinet, left it on a sidewalk and hid inside it. Murgida stayed inside the cabinet for the bulk of Saturday and Sunday afternoon with a bottle of water and some garbage bags, not revealing himself until a New Yorker passing by would seize possession of the cabinet and bring it to their home. 

Saturday was uneventful. The cabinet was left in the street, people were somewhat tempted but in the end the cabinet was left untouched.  On Sunday Murgida repeated the performance and it was–to say the least– much more eventful.  Murgida, along with the cabinet was rolled into the storage room of a restaurant. You can see some shots of what Murgida saw from the pictures he took from his cell phone camera (here).  In the end, although his plan was to leave undetected and in turn, relinquishing posession of the cabinet to the new owner, things worked out a bit differently.  To read the artists final statement of the project Continue reading