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Black Corfu and black speculative fiction
In Elder Sign
Bitter Seeds
In Atoz
The Mysterious Portrait
In Elder Sign
brandon.budda
Jun 08, 2021
Thank you for these thoughtful comments. I am always hesitant to bring up Roger Scruton on the shows because of the ways that his philosophy (especially his latter day focus on oikophobia) are utilized in far-right nationalistic rhetoric. I agree with you that when these ideas are turned into political ideology, they become distasteful and dangerous. Scruton has always been a controversial figure in the public commons, and often for good reason. As I mentioned in the episode, I'm not too keen on launching into an apologia of his work or his person, but I will say one thing here, which is to say that in the talk that I heard him give, he explicitly denounced the nazi attitudes towards art that you mention above. I think with the exception of architecture, Scruton did not often make the error of confusing a person's moral character with their aesthetic tastes. Architecture, though, is a whole other can of worms. I am very glad you brought to my attention Thierry Baudet, who I am unfamiliar with, and his use of Scruton's philosophy. I am unconvinced that oikophobia is an appropriate lens through which one can effectively critique culture. It is a term that is useful, in my opinion, only to point out that more can be accomplished when we are motivated to make things better (to add to the world or repair and restore the world), rather than to merely delete or erase what we think is bad in the world. Even then, it may not be the best word to use given how it has quickly accrued so much cultural baggage. I have only read "Momo" by Michael Ende, even though "The Never Ending Story" has been on my wish list for ages. Hopefully, I will have some time coming up to read it. "Momo" was recommended to me by a dear friend, and is such a delightful book.
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New Patron, saying hello
In Elder Sign
brandon.budda
May 12, 2021
Hi Chris! We're glad to have you along!
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Forlesen
In Gene Wolfe
brandon.budda
Dec 11, 2020
Regarding David Graeber: I just listened to a talk he gave at google about "The History of Debt" that I thought was incredible. I had also heard of Bullshit Jobs and didn't realize that also came from him. But - now I'll dive in to some of what you've addressed here with Forelesen. I think you're right about the inscrutability of the end of the story. I think Wolfe is playing a bit of a formalist game at the end but it doesn't have to be read in that way because the answers he gives, especially the last answer being "maybe" are really the best we're going to get. I stand by my some statements I danced around in the episodes, though I'll sharpen it a little here, that getting meaning out of life without an explicit cosmology requires serious interpretive gestures that stem from the availability of just too much information. It's a massive undertaking that may just lead us back to the cycling through of yes's, no's, and maybes. The suggestions about what the world is at the end also don't really matter in understanding the story. Of course for the show, we must speculate about the things that are given in the text, but I really do agree with you that this is a story whose richness is found in its themes rather than its puzzles. Ellul was certainly influenced by Heidegger re:technology. But he had the sociological chops to wedge open the door of the discourse a little wider. That's how he describes his project in the technological age, too. He's trying to put as much down on paper as he can so that a discourse can actually begin. While I think technological society is an important book, I'm more partial to his book "Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes". If I weren't pushing my way through some Gadamer right now, I'd be rereading that book and performing some depilatory acts. Regarding Abraham: In terms of lay theology, he is, in the most unimaginative sense, as are many important figures in the Jewish tradition, one who prefigures Christ. In a more robust sense, yes, he's the father of many nations and the first name given in the geneology of Christ in the book of Matthew. He's the start of it all, whose family line eventually produces the Christ. The movement from the farm (or garden) to the city is part of the story of God's people in both the Jewish and Christian traditions as far as I can tell, and I'm glad you highlighted that element of Beale's story. In Christianity the New Jerusalem is the end point of history. The Jewish tradition has the promised land, the place prepared in advance for the people of God that they did not labor to create. The New Jerusalem is a metaphorical analog of this and is wholly metaphysical. I wonder then, if a part of Abraham Beale's presence in the story is to highlight how our culture has abandoned both of the natural world and the constructed world in favor of...something else. Maybe in favor of keeping to ourselves and not really being involved in each other's lives communally speaking. That was all just an end of day ramble. I've been inside for days. It gets dark early on Lake Michigan. One final note, though. Just after our coverage of Forlesen, I read Walker Percy's "Lancelot". That novel ends with a very similar question and answer section, with yes's and no's. I got super excited, thinking Wolfe might have read the book, which is almost too bleak for words, but Lancelot was published after Forlesen. So maybe it was the other way around. I have no idea if Walker Percy subscribed to science fiction magazines.
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The Hour of Trust
In Gene Wolfe

brandon.budda

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