“I honestly just don’t understand the nature of the question that’s being asked.”

I know you kids out there like to read all these gossipy posts about OOO, but I have a serious lesson for you today – for all of its obvious (and hilarious) faults, there one very good technique that you all need to learn and practice: playing dumb when confronted with questions. Rather than explain to you how this work, let me give you some examples from our favorite objectologist:

Exhibit A: “Similarly, no one would dream of suggesting that because the doctor wants to know what causes the bird flu, the doctor is somehow justifying the bird flu or claiming that it is a good thing.  No, the doctor wants to understand the bird flu precisely so he can prevent it.  I’ve thus been shocked to hear some say that if you claim that nuclear bombs are, you’re somehow claiming that nuclear bombs should be.”

Shocked, I tell ya, shocked! It’s important to feign genuine feelings when playing dumb.

Exhibit B: What I find perplexing about this is that all of you asking these questions seem to think that my claim that ontology and politics are distinct means I reject politics and ethics.

I am perplexed, I tell ya, baffled, befuddled, bewildered, puzzled, dumbfounded and confounded as to why “you lot” are just not able to get it. Blame the readers for your inability to understand a simple question. It’s their fault that they are not proficient enough to get it. By being perplexed, you are basically making a philosophical equivalent of this jab: “I find it perplexing that you are still wetting your bed.”

At the end, go for the kill:

Sure, I care about ontology for political reasons because I believe this world sucks and is profoundly unjust.  But rather than waving my hands and cursing because of how unjust and horrible it is so as to feel superior to all those about me who don’t agree, rather than playing the part of the beautiful soul who refuses to get his hands dirty, I think we need good maps so we can blow up the right bridges, power lines, and communications networks, and so we can engage in effective terraformation.

Opening with “Sure” is awesome (consider “Look” or “You see” as well). Then follows an amazingly brazen plagiarism from Kim Stanley Robinson who invents the term “terraforming” in his Mars Trilogy – slightly change it to “terraformation” and you’re golden! And, of course, the “kill” – my opponents are idiots who ask silly incomprehensible questions while standing around with their clean hands and retarded minds hoping for a better tomorrow to come on its own. Speechless!

What then follows is an exchange of comments (both on the blog and FB) from which I only select a few juicy ones to illustrate my point:  Continue reading

Epic Objectological Rant

UPDATE II: Sacilotto responds on FB (here and then scroll to the post on his wall). One of the editors from Speculations asks Bryant question, gets an incomprehensible answer (“…because I think we need to take seriously the reality of things like the properties of corn or the existence of ozone holes.”) Hilarity everywhere!

UPDATE I: Sacilotto responds here (very nicely, I thought). Bryant adds another less emotional rant here. Nothing is clarified, of course. My favorite part, I know you want to know, comes at the end when Bryant imagines a conversation between himself, Zizek (?) and Sacilotto (ignoring his spelling of “hear” as “here” – for someone who writes so much, re-reading your own posts must be luxury one cannot afford)…

I have seen them all over the years, but this is one of the best: enjoy it before he comes to his senses and edits it. I passed over the review by Daniel Sacilotto initially, foolishly assuming it was unadulterated praise of all things “onticology” – I should read it now, because clearly it hit the nerve if Objectologist the Son is so pissed off and whiny:

I’m not interested in legislating what “true reality” is, but in shifting discussion from an obsessive focus on how we know, on how our minds relate to the world, to a discussion of how things, including humans, interact with one another. Assertions made within this framework are not a mere “subjective whim”, as Daniel suggests. He’s welcome to question claims and ask for reasons. It could turn out that various accounts are mistaken. Be specific. Critique the account. That’s how accounts become better. Don’t, however, throw sand in the engine of inquiry. Daniel, I’m sure you miss this, but the basic point is that we’re tired of discussing your issue. We want to ask other questions and attend to other issues. That doesn’t mean we’re unwilling to provide reasons.

Notice the switch from “he” to “you” in the end there – beautiful. I’m not even going to point out all the obvious “pot calling kettle black” nonsense. “Stop accusing us of being simpletons and idiots, you pathetic simpleton and idiot who cannot understand what we are doing” – read it and weep!

Wolfendale Strikes Back In Print

Gone are the days when philosophical blogosphere was discussing the “object-oriented ontology” (OOO) as some sort of a new philosophical phenomenon that required actual philosophical engagement and consideration. But Wolfendale persisted in treating it as such, dedicating large chunks of his blog (and time, I suppose) to the careful but largely thankless task of its critical assessment. It is fairly clear these days that it is mostly a matter of faith and conversion rather than any sort of rational debate, but it is still nice to see Wolfendale’s critique appear in print (hopefully serialized in 5-10 parts for future generations to enjoy repeatedly):

Let’s see if Graham Harman takes a large enough break from his missionary activity and writes a promised response to Wolfendale. My money is on “Not going to happen”…

“Who among them has not begun to shrug off the oppressive, anthropocentric legacy of Post-Kantian philosophy, bravely railing against the tyrannical correlationists of the continental academy, the dreary technicians of the analytic mainstream, and even the scientistic fury of its Neo-Kantian heirs?”

Writing About Things Is Still Just Writing.

Most are probably aware of ridiculous resurgence of Derrida-hate, initiated by OOO mischaracterization of his work as just “writing about books” – the “conversation” since took off on a number of blogs and most points are the same: no, he was not writing about books. My only lesson here is the following: those who claims that Derrida (and the rest of correlationist mafia) is only writing about books, texts, signifiers, language and other human-centered phenomena are proposing that we break out of that mold and get to the things themselves.

Fair enough, I say.


As some have already pointed out neither Harman’s recent books nor Bryant’s upcoming book are going to be full of empirical research, surveys, original data and so on. Writing about things and their non-human interaction is just writing about things, not actually getting your hands dirty with things or any kind of real paradigm change.

All this nonsense about “armchair philosophy” is just that, nonsense – if you’re really into practical engagement with things/objects, then leave your “armchair” jobs and get to work.