Creative Miscellany: Reading Writing Replying Networking, Jamming, 14/07/2016

Just a general update today, since today turned out to be pretty eventful – in both a good and a less good way. Some projects have had some wonderful boosts, new opportunities for smaller works have come up, and one big project got a setback that I think could ultimately be for the best.
• • •
My first “LEAPing Beyond” workshop for the New Democratic Party went quite well, as you could probably tell from the last two posts. This weekend, I’ll be writing an official update on the first workshop to go up on official channels of Toronto’s NDP. 

I like the aesthetic of holding these workshops in parks,
islands in concrete that pretend to be wilderness. It
provokes the kind of juxtaposed thoughts that I want
to encourage with my words as well.
I’ll also make contact with riding associations presidents in the heart of Toronto, to promote the next workshop in early to mid August. I think Christie Pits park will probably be the best location. 

It’s less mainstream than Trinity-Bellwoods, and so offers a little more peace and quiet. I also like that Christie Pits is always within reach of road traffic – I think the urban oasis nature of most smaller city parks reminds us of the delicate relationship that a city must maintain with its green spaces.
• • •
I finished my first read of Sandifer’s Neoreaction: A Basilisk, and secured a slot for a review of the book at the Reply Collective. I’ve already brought Sandifer to the hard drives of the Collective, as he was a significant interview for “Beyond the Academy.”

But this is the first time my American colleague’s work will have been brought for a review. Part of my mandate from the Collective’s Review’s editor – my old friend SD Card – is to keep the social epistemological parts of the book at the forefront.

That won't be hard. As I collect my thoughts and notes for the first pass at the review, quite a lot of what I’m thinking about revolves around ways of knowing. The book is, from the start, a critique of the traditional concept of rationalism from a variety of angles.

You wouldn’t think that was necessary anymore. But if you thought that, it was a sign that you’ve been reading too many progressive epistemology journals, and not enough neo-fascist pro-slavery blogs or anti-feminist Reddit or 4chan forums.

I'm also waiting for the supplementary material (thanks
to a ridiculously successful Kickstarter campaign),
especially Theses on Trump.
Now, I don't blame you for not reading these things. Part of what I find awe-inspiring about Phil and his work is his level of commitment. This man – with his deeply held political, moral, and ethical beliefs – sat down and read the neo-fascist pro-slavery rambling tangents of Mencius Moldbug. 

Tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of words written by the most vile, self-absorbed, and unrestrained avatar of the genuinely neo-fascist pro-slavery software engineer Curtis Yarvin.

Phil has dived into something that most of us who thought that traditional conceptions of reason and rationality had been thrown on the dust-heap have ignored to our peril. This religion of pure reason exploding through right-wing online forums has become the dominant ideology of North America’s newest and most prominent reactionary social movement.

From Gamergate to the shock troops of the Trump campaign, the rank and file of American reaction in the 21st century have made a vision of purely objective rationality their sole epistemic yardstick. We have to grapple with this ideology, and that’s what I see Phil’s book as doing.

More details in a few weeks when the review actually goes up.
• • •
I’m working on another piece for the Reply Collective. This one is a reply to a recent piece by my favourite dialogue partner in the group, Steve Fuller. In this case, I want to write a response to his account of the Brexit phenomenon.

And Boris Johnson still won't go away.
Now, Steve has a few advantages over me on this. For one thing, he actually lives in Britain, and can see the media landscape daily through direct experience. I only see snippets and flashes from North America. So I don’t want to get into too many of the details.

Basically, I plan on responding to Steve’s perspective on the role of elites in political life, and whether the British constitution of parliamentary sovereignty has passed its sell-by date. It will come from the Negri-Foucault trajectory.

In short form, elite management of politics always risks disenfranchising or generally separating people from the institutions that hold incredible power over them. But contemporary communications technology and the political organizing it enables can bring that power to the people. Our era – thanks to our communications abilities – can open the most true and thorough democracy of all.
• • •
Finally, the partner I’d been working with on the development of You Were My Friend and I parted ways professionally yesterday. She’s still a fantastic actress, and I’ll probably still cast her in the same role she played in the theatre version. 

But I think our aesthetic instincts and priorities were a little too different for us to keep on the same page. Each of us had different ideas of what we thought were the most promising aspects of this story. I didn’t communicate my own such ideas clearly enough. And I still don’t quite understand what her own such ideas were.

So now I’m looking for a new director. And it has to be a woman. I need a female director so that the entire production can understand that You Were My Friend is a women’s story – with all that entails.

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