Hookless teem

Fish take break from pucker and gumming at thighs to swarm up on bread-particle filled spit in the water.  I tried to fish with my hands, failed to no surprise.  It just felt like slapping at stone-cool, slick, ungrabbable bundles of fleshily indifferent matter.  Went back to dreaming of hook-hands.

Communism and/or nomadism

I'm going rogue for a while. Left California yesterday for a long drift, now in Minnesota. Listing loose plans below with the hopes that if you're in any of these places at any of these times, or know people that I should meet or things I have to see or anything... (except for the Minnesota portion: that's just me and family searching for the Wendigo in the twilight of the inhuman forest/going canoeing on a pretty lake)

Minnesota from now til end of the month

London from start of July to mid-month (seeing close friends I don’t get to see nearly enough, writing in the British Library, feeling like I’m stuck in a missing Ballard story, mapping dead zones and covering them in propaganda, dancing on bars, maybe giving a talk or two)

Rome from mid July to mid August, maybe longer (meeting autonomia crew past and present, working on my Italian, taking over ruins, eating food so good it makes my heart hurt, determining long walks to be taken via locations in Argento films and Pasolini novels)

Uncertain return back toward Britain, open to suggestions, to friends on the continent now, or to those who want to show me around zones new to me. Convince me. Athens may be calling. Or Napoli or Marseilles or … (this is a blank I leave to be filled)

London end of August/start of September (finishing what we started, or rather continuing to build from there, collaborations, new faces, cheap curry, fighting BNP bastards)

Maine early September (back to the homestead, woods and water, reading Caillois in the bedroom where I grew up)

Back toward California later that month (late summer blue sky, return to missed friends, readying for The Ultra-Left Meets the Academy Part Two: The Empire Strikes Itself Back via Untenable Austerity Measures)

I’m going to be writing a lot this summer, and I’ll throw it up here. [Also, working on a speculative horror novel that draws on some thinking that’s appeared on the blog, especially reverse thermodynamics and ice worlds, humid extinction and counter-rot, factory hostility. But with more dried blood cities and things that go bump (i.e. spread their unholy non-unified ferret tentacles horizontally beneath the soil) in the night.] That said, I will be disappearing for stretches at a time and may be slow to respond.

California, I’ll see you in a couple months. Decaying remnants of once-mighty empires , see you very soon. 

- E

The black glass eyes see all

This was how I ushered in my birthday last night, in a Minnesota cabin, beneath the gaze of my own private antlered version of the whale in Melancholy of Resistance...

Two figures of the passage of time as the accumulation of waste you keep around

Almost ten years ago to this day (couple days before my 18th birthday), I became diabetic.  Consequences of this: ate healthier, gathered far more scars via a tendency to heal terribly, end up crouched on the floor of a kitchen at midnight from time to time adrenaline-flushed and eating honey on top of jam, and these odd containers of the used, kept in boxes so I don't let sharp things loose into the landfill: pens, needles, syringes, small instruments for bleeding your fingers.  Now unsterile, purposeless, having already transferred to my guts that strangely pig-leather reeking liquid that keeps me going on and on.  They clatter in hollow clicks and weigh very little.

The passage of time measured in the auto-obsolescence of iPods, that stopped working after their warranties. A slight hint of rust around the corners of the wheel, the battery seeps out.  When I try to plug them in, there's a faint, confused image, the dead battery always mustering just enough juice to remind you that it is permanently out of itself.  The one on the right my dad gave to me, with our answer to WWJD inscribed on the back: WWND - What Would Nietzsche Do?  Smiled by myself last night when I saw this again, recalled his neat and angled handwriting on the accompanying card.  It takes the breakdown of these things to make you recall their origin (when they become personal objects, fondled and sweated with and dropped and carried) and start to miss them.  The urge to join the horde of hoarders builds, not to keep everything with you but to live with it so as to slowly recognize something as the trash that it has finally become, rather than the one that got away.


Books are lovely, mysterious, murmuring objects that dwell with you and structure days.  Until you try to move out of a house.  At which point they become a proliferation of obese and petulant children, crowds of thick mute matter, insistent reminders of money spent and time not spent reading them.


Along with the fact that the Atlantic burns every day now, this remains what we should mean when we talk about the Real today (and the necessary correlate to that burning).  All the more so as those containers find new leaden inertia, chock full of dead weight that teeters on the precipice of unrealized value, and don't whip around the globe as fast as they used to.

[Pics from A's time in Rotterdam, part of his and Jeff's Cartographies of the Absolute project for Zero.]

Their leader was a woman with no mouth but a very precisely cut hole in her throat

Hospital delirium, the sad fact of everyday medical life outstripping Von Trier's The Kingdom many, many times over.

Thousands of tiny little creatures,” he said, “some on horseback, waving arms, carrying weapons like some grand Renaissance battle,” were trying to turn people “into zombies.” Their leader was a woman “with no mouth but a very precisely cut hole in her throat.”
Attacking the group’s “television production studio,” Mr. Kaplan fell from his hospital bed, cutting himself and “sliding across the floor on my own blood,” he said. The hospital called security because “a nurse was trying to restrain me and I repaid her with a kick.”

For every tumor, a machete

Check out: June issue of Machete, a terrific journal out of Philly on which my friend Lex works and which features the infamous and incorrigible Ludwig Fischer.  In this issue, a seriously strange mix occurs when a version of my piece on World Ice Theory (here titled "The Hot Wet Breath of Extinction") shares space with a Castoriadis interview.

Something true in multiple contexts, but the seemingly clueless use of which in one in particular makes you cringe

"And the sad history of the African nations continues..."
[A commentator during Cameroon's 2-1 loss to Denmark]

Edgeless rookery

The murder opens and shuts no case.

Saramago dies

Goodbye to a damn good one.  Saramago was one of the first novelists I read in that way when you start searching out novels as a young teenager, when they start forming some nebulous constellation of taste and perspective around you, pointing you down trails your assigned reading in middle school English class simply won't.  (It's not the most immediate transition from Avi's Nothing But the Truth to Bataille's Blue of Noon.)   It was The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis.  It floored me, hadn't read anything like it.  And it led me to Pessoa, who had the same effect.

(On top of it, Saramago was a Communist, an atheist, an anti-fascist, and a hater of bullshit.  He'll be missed.)

The drowning life preserver (hostile object theory)

In Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr., after prodigal son Bill Jr. is de-dandified (i.e. mustache removed, beret taken off, and "work clothes" put on), he comes onto his father's ship for gainful employ. And to get the designation: not Bill Jr., but Steamboat Bill Jr. Already with the title of the film, he's a thing man, and a second-order one at that, the labored attempt to measure up to the man defined by his laboring object. The arc of the film, in one way, simply traces this: coming to deserve the Jr. by coming to be a steamboat Bill, the master of steamboating in this town.

But the objects aren't having it.  Moments after stepping onto the ship, Bill's turned around and backs into the railing, knocking the life preserver ring off into the river below, where it's expect to bob and drift, cheerily buoyant.  But at which point the life preserver sinks immediately.  Like a stone.  Dragging itself, and the phantom body it's supposed to hold aloft, to the muddy cold of the riverbed.

There have been hints before of an object-world at odds with those who, as a species, make those objects and, as individuals, try to make them work for them.  (The ceaseless series of possible hats incapable of pleasing both father and son.  And when compromise is found/forced onto the younger, the wind snatches it away.  Wasted time and judgment, spent money, and lost thing.)  But there persisted the sense of minor, vitalizing inconveniences: how else do you develop a bit of gumption and character, or that shy smile, without tussling with a resistant order of things?  You gotta learn that the wind is a bastard, just like our competitors, and they will steal that hat right away from you.  Self-reliance on a gusty day.

This is something different.  A fundamental wrongness of objects.  After the ring plummets through the water, Bill steps back in shock, bumps his head.  A stunned, sudden unmaking of the ground: things are not as they seem.  He staggers tentatively, reaching out to touch the ship, now utterly uncertain what it is, the correlation between the purpose of a thing and its murderous purposiveness shattered in the fall of a single object.  What is a steamboat when a life preserver isn't just sub-par at preserving life but reveals itself as the promise of the termination of life?  A stone life terminator ring.  A ghost ship of sharp edges and weight, inertia and speed and obstinacy.  And beyond that, borne out in what follows, a world barely held together.  We touch it gingerly, never knowing what will break and what will break us, thoughtlessly.

This is an instance of what I'll call, and build out from here, hostile object theory: a conviction that objects aren't just indifferent to us, aren't just coherent beyond our intentions, aren't just darkly resistant to correlating with the world as it is for us.  Far worse for us, when we can glimpse even a shadow of how they are not for us, they reveal themselves, with a faceless sneer, as fundamentally hostile, uncertain, dangerous, and incommensurable with the purpose for which they were designed.  This isn't to speak of nature per se, not an Algernon Blackwood-esque thought of a savage animism (or rather, an agential, often anthropomorphic- even as it tries to disavows the humanness of what it depicts - monstrous nature).  This, rather, is the bastard child of a unified theory of what the world is without us, a thought instead of how the world we build to help us navigate the dark woods is already without us while we're still here, when we're clinging to it desperately.  A sword with no handle, we grip it all the same.  It's an unnaturphilosophie, concerned not with humanless ecologies but the self-sabotaging, crumbling, poison-flooded inhumanity of the very possibility of the economic.  (That is, the management, ordering, shaping, and instrumental use of resources, in the house of the human.)

There is the cold neutrality of that which needs us not a whit.  And then there's that which would not exist without us, and hates us for this fact, hates its dependence, loathes the fact of its existence.  This isn't to ascribe a magical subjectivity to things, not to imagine them as independent in themselves in a way that simply mirrors our gaze upon them, as if we're willing to trade a look of scorn and rage back in order to have any look back, to not have to stare at the dusky nothing of what is.

Rather, a basic fact, or at least insofar as we believe that capitalism is predicated on antagonism.  Not produced necessarily as an after-effect of disequilibrium and exploutation, not bottled up, tenuously, lest the proles learn to negate all at once.  Antagonism - to be plainer: hatred, loathing, rage, desolation, shame, abjection, envy - is what drives capital, drags it forward, to profit and to collapse.  It's the seething, constant fire that burns all it's fed and courses the steam through the channels of the engine.  The basic hatred of self, for being complicit, and others, for letting us be complicit, that makes us need commodities and money, makes us hunger for whatever isn't human (why would we want to be reminded of that?), those inhuman things that, through our consumptive destruction and possessive withdrawal from circulation of them,  alone remains capable of grounding each of us as better than the rest.

(The fundamental misanthropy of the individual's reproduction of capital: its triumph is the temporary secession from a mass of actors all trying to do the same damn thing, everyone fleeing the same shameful us they wanted no part in, the same us produced in the very act of trying to gain the means to leave it behind.)  En masse the species withdraws from itself, only to find the exits suffocatingly packed with others who had the same idea.

How, then, can this not be embedded in these things, these boats, cars, knives, life preservers, gears, houses, screens, loaves, bowls, drills?  If, following Marx, the machine (or rather, the assemblage consisting of literal machines, the workers using them/being used by them, and the relations of production crystallized by the whole thing) is an instantiation of the general intellect, we say: all commodities are instantiations of the general hostility.  They are built records of a labor that wishes it did not exist.  That abhors the conditions that demand it and which, conversely, it demands as the guarantee of a continued recognition that this labor meant something.  That all wasn't for naught, for the nothing it seeks perversely against its own preservation.

If salvagepunk presents a possible version of anti-capitalist reification (via the analogical translation of the object relations underpinning salvage onto a communist practice of building from scrap and disaster), this is a related call, but toward a bleaker, snarling inhuman anti-reification that swallows not only its inherent value but also its basic utility.  An urging that we don't go far enough.  Commonly, we assume that the "solution" is to stop treating objects as subjects, to stop endowing them with the character of social relations.  Things are just things, they won't make you a better person, they have no inherent value, destruction of property isn't really violence...  But to do this is simply to parse them off as not us, without recognizing that they are the material organization of the hatred that went into them, all that thwarted agency, that clenched fist that keeps pulling its punches and punching its clocks.  As such, anti-reification for a different reason, not because we should just see things as they really are, but because "reification" implies that there's a category error, socially necessary but a fallacy all the same, something's gone wrong in cognition.  But it hasn't.  Something has gone wrong in the organization, production, and maintenance of things.  This is no pathetic fallacy.  It's a volition without a subject, a darkness without transparency, an agency without agent, a loathing without a name, a hatred without an end, a general hostility without reason.

And it's everywhere.

The sinking of that life preserver is just the beginning, a minor presaging of the storm to come.  The actual unbinding of the built world, a nightmare of decoherence.  It is wind, sure, it's the "force of nature," but that doesn't explain anything of how it feels, how it looks.  It's the town - and with the local instance, the very presupposition of a grounded life settled and the alignment of things with with how we want them to be - coming apart, peeling back, falling down.  Total warfare via the only means the objects have: the sabotage of utility in the name of threatening its inhabitants, its makers, its dwellers.  Bill flees the roofless hospital toward the shelter of the library.  Slowly, obscenely, sleepily, its columns tilt all at once, tortuously close to him. (Again and again, he's saved through a combination of his quickness and his already belonging to that world, his being a thing man, permanently befuddled and quietly pissed off, gloomy behind the dry non-smile, about having to participate in the charade of social existence.  If anything, his continued existence as a living human is due to the fact that he never was particularly good at being one.) Collapsing in on itself, without body, without reason, without care.  

And with that, the end of interiority, of protected, delimited zones, of safe spaces away from the fury of what we made finally learning to unmake itself.  An exterior wall rips away, and the outside pours in.  Or worse, the inside falls out and nearly takes us with it.

The window, that brief cut between the inside and the outside, between the security of the enclosed and the threat without, the window itself a threat (what could come in, what could join me in my secession and withdrawal, beyond the pleasantness of sunlight, there are bad people out there...).  The cut alone saves, the opposite of the life preserver ring: unlike the window, the point of which is not the hole, but what surrounds it, that material that should be buoyant, that switched teams without telling anyone, never tested until it's too late.  And this we can't leave, behind or for elsewhere.

A life preserver that will distinctly not preserve your life.  A falling-apart world that will drag you down with it.  Until then, nothing to do but to break more windows where none existed, to drag our feet.  To build a fire or raise a riot, to stand steady in that torn-open inside.  To detect where our laughter ends and where that hostile wind blows from, up from the drowned and undrownable, on and on and on.

Fake wood grain door, spider carrying a web-covered sucked-dry fly

What I awoke to this morning.

Darkening bolt

Six-story "King of Kings" roadside Jesus/touchdown Jesus was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, leaving "only a blackened steel skeleton and pieces of foam that were scooped up by curious onlookers Tuesday."

"It will be back, but this time we are going to try for something fireproof," she said. 

Burn, baby, burn.


"It's just the suit. It looks as if it's wearing you."

Sidney Stratton: But I don't want to get paid.  
Mrs. Watson, Sidney's landlady: Not want to? I don't care whether you want to get paid or not! You've got to get paid!  
Bertha, Birnley Mill worker: I don't care whether you want to get paid or not! You've got to get paid! 

The Man in the White Suit is a whirling mess: of sabotage and complicity, of things falling apart against the threat of never falling apart.  A desperate, clinging defense - capital and labor, all together now, or we're all fucked! - in the name of decay and forced obsolescence.  A coming together as a nasty collective (headed up by arch-capitalist Sir John Kierlaw, seen above with cane, seen elsewhere haunting the dreams of child labor, a Dark Crystal Skeksis of textile monopoly, his laugh a hissing poisonous exhalation that has to be declared after the fact to have been laughter ) to destroy to protect the order of things that are destroyed, run-down, and cast out "naturally."

The protagonist of the film is a kind of fabric, even as it can only take shape stitched and wrapped, literal and in narrative form, around Sidney Stratton, its inventor.  In short: Sidney's a renegade in it for the science, and it's hard not to see in him the same kind of illusory, rare figure that gets imagined as a wider condition in "post-Fordist immaterial labor," with all its accompanying willful misunderstandings.  He works custodial jobs at textile plants so he can "repurpose" materials (read: steal but not take out of the factory, just try to sidle in unnoticed amongst the researchers, melancholic lustful gazing at those inner sanctums of development).  All to build his strange gurgling/polka band echo chamber bubble and smoke apparatus in which he can try to develop the alchemical dream and nightmare of the industry.  It's a long-chain molecule polyester, slightly irradiated and hence extra snappy glowing in the dark, that doesn't rip or tear.  The patterns have to be cut with an arc welder.  And it cannot be stained (more than that, it repels dirt, shoves it away, the grimy hands of manual labor - yours or others - don't mark it, you could go straight from the mines to the dancefloor, a partially radioactive man about town on paycheck night).

Of course, despite Sidney's stated naive unawareness of this, capital and labor aren't having any of it, at least taken as a unified, infighting but ultimately familial body.  One initial capitalist wants to corner the market on it, get it while the getting is good, but the sinister fabric trust and the Very Assertive Union Workers ("you have to take your tea break, we worked hard to get it") know damn well what this means.  The creation of the object that has the whole industry hustling and drooling is the creation of its collapse.  If clothing won't "wear out," then the industry will grind to a halt.  (And with it, secondary informal labor: Sidney's land lady, who cobbles together an existence with extra washing on the side, attacks him: "Why can't you scientists leave things alone? What about my bit of washing when there's no washing to do?")  There will be one final generation of items made, occasional upkeep for arc welder accidents and new bodies coming onto the earth, but basically, the gig is up.

This is, of course, entirely wrong,.  Briefly,  for all intents and purposes, for the duration of time most people (and not just the rich or middle class) in the capitalist center and still beyond wear their clothes, we already have this non-decaying fabric.  The cause of clothing's replacement is so rarely the actual wearing out of it.  It's the fundamental obsolescence of style itself. A single untouchable, unstainable white suit scattered horizontally into an endless series of shit quality t-shirts, acrylic leggings that indeed won't last long, but you'll beat them to the punch, swap them out, pass them on, leave them to not-rot.  The man in the unsmearable white suit is the same as the man in the series of beer promotional, soon-to-be forgotten in a closet, awkwardly baggy polo shirts that you don't quite remember obtaining.  (And in reverse, those who mark their style by the opposite, on a limited series of clothes getting worn and ground down, restitched back together, holes in the crotch, convenient tears: the major industry breakthrough won't be non-decay, it'll be a more realistic looking "pre weathering," so that all can look legitimately like they wear indeed on the crust circuit for a while.)  Simply because Gore-Tex exists does not mean that a) we wear durable, impervious underwear made of it, and b) that style ceases to exist.  As if clothing was pure functionality and as if style wasn't just the visible presence of the one who knows when to hold steady and when to cast away.  Attachment to single, wearable bits of duration with memory - it belonged to my girlfriend/boyfriend/mother/father/best friend/grandmother/some stranger I didn't know, I was wearing when I lost my virginity/watched a sports team win something - or even utility, a good pair of shoes, is notable because it's the exception we want to imagine as the rule.  Like sustainability ever made any sense.

Moreover, it's fundamentally off on the dynamics of capitalist competition: of course, the Brits would leap on this technology, without concern for the long-term future.  (Ah yes, those capitalists, so notoriously worried about the future of the economy for their grandchildren.)  And labor would equally leap on this: if it did corner the global market and was held in patent by the British textile industry, the demand would hypothetically sky-rocket, wages would leap.  There are a lot of people out there, and if everyone needed a white suit or white galoshes or white panties, that would more than fill the future quota for all Brits in the textile industry.  Moreover, they miss the fact, one with historical viciousness as it signals the historical direction of much industry, that what matters isn't that sturdy clothes can be made of this (given production costs and commodity culture, it's likely that most people either won't be able to afford it or won't particularly care, despite all this talk of dignity and looking clean).  Rather, it's the formula that matters, the chemical process, now extending out to all industries and production: something that light and strong would find its practical home not in a suit but in bridges, cars, houses, weapons... If it is clothing, it is clothing for war: military uniforms, long-chain stormtroopers to match labor's knights in shining polymer armor.

(An unmistakable absence is the Soviet Union, especially given the film's from '51: if the problem is that capitalism is threatened from within by this fabric, if it will wreck the very circuits of the reproduction of capitalism, Sidney knows damn well there are some fellows in the East who have been looking for such a fabric and aren't too worried about the effects it might have on the delicate balance of capitalists and the workers they exploit.  I'd like to see an Eastern Bloc reload of this film, a Red Son of labor comedies, in which much might be the same, especially if made in the GDR: it's a quick step from hero of labor to traitor to your fellow worker, especially if you keep insisting on working too fast, making yourself too much of the overachiever, and forcing everyone to adapt because you want to be that guy, even as that guy is the ideological lynchpin of the whole enterprise.)

Bertha - the voice of the working class, a tough mill broad with doe eyes for Sidney and a very well-rehearsed bag of Trot rhetoric - refers to Sidney as, "flotsam floating on the floodtide of profit."  That's not quite it, even as the film urges toward that neutrality.  Indeed, there's a vision of a permeability of capitalism.  It clamps down on those who don't play by the rules, it seems unbreachable, but like Sidney's fabric, which can't be cut but through which a needle can pass with ease, it's full of holes, side passages, hidden interior spaces, outsides you find at the very center, ways around and through.  In such a mode, Sidney would be a minor rebel, who prefers not to but who remains that neutral detritus, a threat because of what he knows but who can be shamed, expunged, and put to use, if only they could harness the dreamer or just give him the illusion of mattering.  The textile kingpins don't even care if he cares about money, as long as he is usable.  So too with organized labor, which makes no attempts to convince him of why he should want a tea break or to get paid, only that he has to.  For a film in which the specter of the abolition of work hangs (a utopian promise of emancipation through technological innovation), there are no Left figures remotely committed to it.  No one capable of saying, indeed, you won't have your bit of washing to do, and that would be a damn good thing.  Instead, a porous but rigid structure, with enough turning a blind eye to let the thinkers play.

However, there may be ways through, but there's no way out other than through destruction.  (Secession remains a lingering impossibility here: Sidney would rather drag the bastards with him, even if it means alternately making them rich and getting them exploded.)  Particularly, it's sabotage.  An explicit, senseless, frivolous wasting of time and material that was only ever waste from the start, clothes to be worn and worn out in the process of reproducing the cycle of making more and going on.  After Sidney is officially incorporated as a researcher, he systematically - regardless of his "intentions - starts wrecking the productivity and profitability of the factory.  The fact that it's in the name of this great leap forward doesn't change the storm of waste he inaugurates.  His experiments swallowing up the priciest radioactive materials, clearing out all the other researchers to tiny, nearly unusable closets, and then routinely destroying the research lab and all within it through massive explosions.  Turning the factory into a war zone, coming a slippery contingency away from blowing up the owner himself.  (On watching, I started to envision a different trajectory and a very different kind of film, in which it turns out that what Sidney's chasing isn't the purity of fabric that lasts forever, but weapons, that the explosions aren't the consequence of the experiment going wrong, but going very right, conning the industry to develop a technology that could extinguish the nation as a whole.)  Even at the end, as he walks away, a nominal failure, his face lights up, Enlightenment roaring through the circuits again, thinking how to "do it right this time," which means once more infiltrating the industry, blowing holes in the industry, and potentially annihilating a swath of work and capital.  The fabric may come to be indestructible, but only because of the store of annihilation and unneeded expenditure woven into its genesis.

And its degeneration.  For unlike Sidney, the center of the film, the fabric itself, has a less happy ending: to the cathartic relief of capital and labor alike, it turns out to be auto-destructive.  Far from eternal, it begins falling apart, its tight bonds uncurling, just handfuls of useless, fragile white fluff.  The suit, with Sidney inside it, is cornered, capitalists and workers alike circling him, ready to tear the genius to bits to prevent him from letting the secret loose.  And as they grab the suit, it comes apart in their hands.  They laugh and mock and strip him down, handfuls of the idiotic material, downy particles drifting.

Yet the suit's failure is a triumph of pointless expenditure, the very thing it threatened, long chain molecules coming apart, valueless chaff.  What was accused of non-obsolescence turns out to be its manifest undoing, all the more vicious and perfect because its only reason for existing in the first place was the promise of it existing indefinitely.  Instead, a sucker punch.  You wear your dangerously irradiated suit, you secede from the world of dirt and decay and circulation.  And it will leave you in your underwear in the end, fabric pulled from you like cotton candy.  Where else is there to go but back to the prospect of doing it again, not because you think only of science or stand outside the labor process, but because that is what production is for capital.  The bringing of something into form only on the condition that it will be unformed, destroyed, outmoded, chewed and shat out, hated in its form and left to not rot away, but come apart, millenially slow, in the ceaseless near wind of the garbage dump, its plastic threads lifting, curling, and going nowhere.

Opened grave, empty belly

Soundtrack - at least the riff at 1:30 or so - for an alternate version of Kuhle Wampe in which the desperate boys racing around town on bikes, searching for any work, circle through a necropolis, a skeleton-rattling dance and rage version of Berlin, hunger grins lit by sputtering torches of outmoded propaganda.  (given that the film was made in '32, that change may make no difference whatsoever)

The odd fallen third outcast between

Carol Reed's films, from '47 to '53, are all titled with variants of the man who does not fit his image or place: bad thirds with no dialectics in sight, they hang alongside the place set for them.  (Thoughts on why this string of titles, anyone?)  Cast out, cast between,  cast odd.  And usually, it takes murder to set the world back to its normal equivalencies.  Which, in a Reed film, means back to the creeping paranoia, furtive glances, and constriction there from the start.  All's unwell that ends well.

Milk-like opacity, blinded by the sight, and the frenzy quits (What Fulci understood that Saramago never quite could)

Wasted, they trudge in


"And for my picture of America, I found one on the net, on some freebie angelfire.com webpage by some guy who used to be a Marine or really likes the Marines or his brother was a Marine or something (it really wasn't clear which).  It was a photo of my father, in his shorts, his mouth shaped like a big O and his forehead glistening from sweat as he leans into the steering bar of his lawn mower.  There were two captions on the pic too, in big red computery font letters.  FUELED BY MARX says the caption up top, and on the bottom of the photo, RULED BY SATAN."

(from Nick Mamatas' Under my Roof, which everyone needs to read)

Devotional acts

"Anyone who does choose to write it should not neglect the political tenor to't: ECW is an avowed Marxist."

Oh shit, they're on to me!

"It's possible that the entire 'genre' consists largely of one dude (the Socialism and/or Barbarism guy, Evan Calder Williams)"


Dressed as a Trojan horse
with sticky fur & paint & slack eyes

we sneak ourselves into
our own city

How else does pestilence
ever come to be unwelcome

The solar system had its origin in a gigantic star into which a smaller, dead, waterlogged star fell

An "astronomy of the invisible."

Hans Hörbiger's Welteislehre (World Ice Theory), known previously as Glazial-Kosmogonie (Glacial Cosmogony) before he felt the need to further Germanize it, is an extravagant, crystal bleak, obstinately unfounded, and gorgeous theory.  In short, the basic substance of the solar system is ice: ice moons and ice plants move through global ether made of... ice.  It's the frosty, scraping motion of winter rendered infinite.  No big bang, just the wet thwup of a sodden dead star smacking into a immense burning sun, sizzled vapor spray, splattering out into empty space.  Radially drifting slow, freezing into elementary matter.

It is, of course, a theory with no ground, a thought cut loose and resutured to the apparatus of looking-like-science, even as it purports to be a kosmotechnische Weltanschauung (a cosmotechnical world view).

And then there's its nasty introduction to the ranks of melancholic Nazi pseudo-science.  It was employed both as a counter to the "Jewish" science (of things such as experimental verifiability, observable phenomena, and cosmologies not based entirely on a combination of rad dreams you happen to have and the fact that indeed the moon does look a bit icy at times) and as a cosmically grounded racial climatology.

Some followers even attended astronomical meetings to heckle, shouting, "Out with astronomical orthodoxy! Give us Hörbiger!"

 "Our Nordic ancestors grew strong in ice and snow; belief in the Cosmic Ice is consequently the natural heritage of Nordic Man."

This held aside for a moment.  (Though it is never truly aside, let alone gone or mediated, it can only be aside for a brief, slippery moment because the linkage between its order of worlds and the attempted ordering of this world in accordance with Nazi anthropological thought is not accidental or surpassable.  critical negativity aside, it's there, not-disavowable.  Elsewhere I want to think about the fundamental melancholy of the aesthetic that underpins much of far-right and Aryan-supremacist iconography and cosmology, black suns to gloom ice ether, lost unwinnable battles repeated hysterically, the lostness of a grounding ethnic lineage built from scratch and misreadings that knows itself damn well to be as such.)  For this now, I'm struck by the shape of this thought, as if it could be told otherwise, closer to this:

Hörbiger's whole enterprise is a fact of speculative thinking reaching its peak, beginning from a near lyric moment of potential misprision - weird, I just realized that the moon looks like a bunch of ice stacked together - that unfolds, dizzying itself like those spinning actors out and out.  Rather than saying yes, many things look like ice when the sunlight hits them correctly, for example, that car windshield which I know not to be eternal, order-founding ice, the cosmological is built teetering, toppling out, telling science to fuck off while clinging to its hems, all to bind the universe as such to a solitary judgment.  Like the pendulum of which Hörbiger dreamt, growing longer and longer until it broke, the world ice theory lengthens from a fulcrum untethered and stretching out an instance of total intentionality (all must be objectively as it seemed to me at that moment), produces an entire system, and consequently threatens such a first thought, such a cosmopolitics, such a nostalgia, such a fading illumination.

How does it threaten it?  (Mid-way note: what follows borrows the same principle/remains tentatively faithful to Hörbiger's reasoning, that's to say: stretch the pendulum, throw the fragments out to see what else they gather, and circulate amongst the declining returns of such thinking, in its breakdowns and autophagy.)

 Halted, glacial, gloomy, and falsely eternal as it is, the system undoes its apparent stasis - be ever faithful to the originary ice! - on its own terms: as an instance of the accelerating motion of thought itself, as a fantasmatic cosmopolitics, and as an acceleration which cannot be contained by the trappings of eternality.  The gap between a frozen thought and a thought to which clings the aura of frozenness, with fallout on all sides.  In this system, matter (the matter we access and see, of this solar system, of what can be tarried to our experience) takes form in accordance with the action of condensation and freezing.  The ground of our experience is the crystallization of a flung chunk of that "first" wet star, some necrological foundation granule around which vapor can recondense, harden, and become the Earth, become moon, become unnamed chunks.

Two things from this.  First, the binding is temporary - it always is - and dependent  on the coldness as a negative value: the basic condition for this genesis of what knowably exists is passage through what it is not and what threatens it.  The cold is not flaming gas or the friction of impact, and this not alone gives shape to the scattered material.  And what is it giving shape to?  Not the genesis of all form out of what could be, but this particular arrangement, this solar system.  There lies the second point: this is not an origin story of the universe.  The universe prefigures, predates, and exists independently of our ice-worlds.  Stars burn and die, stones melt into liquid and cool again.  And the rules still apply here, in this corner of it, even as the order here is exceptional, founded through a confrontation with the prime figure - a gigantic star - of that other order.  The dominance of ice, as organizational and generational principle, of hardening into shapes solid enough to stand and think on, comes about through the collision with the exorbitant, consumptive, light-producing center of simultaneous expenditure and transfer.  (And we then ask: what happened to that other star, the one slammed with the wet dead sponge?  Does it keep burning a little quieter now, its heat irrevocably dimmed by the vaporization, by the act that made all this possible?  Was it fully consumed and splattered in that instant, now part of the rain of ice across the dark?  Or, hardest to take on, did it matter not a whit?  Its scale so large, equivalent to spitting in the desert, a soft hiss and nothing is changed?  Except for Hörbiger, who could see in that petty drool's evaporation the possibility of crystal spheres, dark masses racing toward other collisions...)

The half-step to the politics of this, and the allure to the Nazis, is an easy one, and it has little to do with the simple equation of Nordic = ice, even as such an commensurability remains the initial operation of linkage.  It's more than just the sense that it's convenient to have the meterological standards of your chosen lineage reflected in the solar system more broadly.  Instead, it's in the sense both of voluntary decision and interruption that rests on the back of a eternalizing realism which it nevertheless dismantles. That's to say: beyond the lingering rhetorical play of eternal ice and thousand year Reichs, a fascist cosmology, or one accessible to use by Nazis, requires an unprecedented event (the dead star collision) to which we have to adhere and work to protect, all the more so because it is opposed to both general opinion founded on principles of "proof" and observation and, moreover, because it is opposed to the general laws of the universe, which constantly threaten ice.  The theory, and the cosmos it describes, backs itself willfully into a corner, hackles up, and declares itself under siege.  As Hörbiger told Willi Ley, "Either you believe in me and learn, or you will be treated as the enemy."

Moreover, in spite of the founding of a total correlation (people from "pure" icy lands = "pure" icy solar system, the step toward purification is evident),  the event that makes it come into being is entirely opposed: it is a violent, annihilating confrontation that results not in the arid cold shards of Northern sentiment, but a warm, wet spray of filth that can only take pure ice shape because it is not pure, because there are particles around which the water can form.  (Or worse, for the Nazis, god forbid that water picked up some other dirt floating around: what if the ice moons and ice planets aren't even direct, clean descendents of that first dead star!)  At once the sense that this white ice is the rule of the cosmos and that it must be asserted as such because it very clearly isn't.  Born of the possibility of its own undoing, much like the suspension of law in the rhetorical name of the restoration of order, the exceptional ice gathers its forces to reconvene a first moment dark to it, when ice as dominant principle was not there.  It aims to produce new, icier dead stars, far colder than that damp becoming, so that the confrontation with the "central" star, with what embodies for us the exorbitancy of the universe and the threat to white eternality, wouldn't survive.  The dead white sun returns home harder, and the outcome is the snuffing out of light and heat itself.

Of course, such a confrontation, doomed to fail, dimly aware of such as it speeds headlong toward the apathy of total negation, is only local.  To end, a further lengthening of the pendulum, toward general law of entropic distribution from this act of disenlightenment to the halt of life and motion itself, the heat death of the universe.  (Or, at least, the approach towards heat death through cold death: first, the unsustainability of life, then the impossibility of motion itself, the grinding to a halt of the entire enterprise.)

Two options.

The flourishing and buttressing of ice worlds into bridged, halted shapes, a dead city of the solar system, an extension of its logic - because we were ahead of the game, we know existence from ice - out to other parts of the universe.  Tenuous, spider-silk think linkages before too weak to hold bind harder, connective glacial tissue bound closer.  The storms of icy ether firm up, become blocks, new planets.  Negative space itself becomes whitely solid, oceans of milky nothing with no room for movement.  The general thermodynamic rules still apply, as they have, and so the principle that brings life to an end, the promise of extinction, becomes the guarantor of the extension of this other lifeless way of being.  The reign of ice spreads wider.  The frozen decay that that sustains, on which we walk, that spins beneath us, is not a hold out against what may come but a precursive image, the eye of the permafrost ice storm.

Unless it's all inverted.  Taking on Hörbiger's speculative gesture, as it inverts known laws in order to occasion that moment of the pendulum's snap and float off, deserves an imagined, impossible, thermodynamics in reverse, the extropic swelling of heat.  As if cold was a positive value, leeched away to nodes of thermal energy.

Starving, consumptive anti-suns that suck the cold right out of it all.

And everything will melt.  All the shapes on which our knowing seemed possible, which we thought formed in our judgment, we thought guaranteed by warmth and light, finds itself betrayed.  Not a warm fire to which we cling, but a leech of our potential coldness and coherency, the constant threat.  Following out to a cosmological level what I wrote about Frankenstein and the threat of warmth,  it's the opening all out to non-form, not just isolation and singularity.  Not the colonization of anti-social zones of potential secession or misanthropic retreat.  No, it's back to vapors one and all, across the board flung and drawn.  Being becomes a fogged and inconstant hothouse. Those ancestral bacteria buried deep in the ice are warmed, by the theft of cold, and woken.  They come to be, teeming, at the very moment that there is no ground to stand on, as the globe ends, just a trailing trail of steam.  The wet, hot, panting breath of unformed life as the solar system falls apart.  Existence's last collapse, the slow hissing gasp of all that is solid melting into fuming slush.