Category Archives: anarchy

Some Random Thoughts on Stand-Up

I haven’t written anything about comedy in a while so I though I should in case people forget I’m a comedian and just think I am posthumanist anarchist academic. Which I am, but I’m a posthumanist anarchist academic comedian. You know, like Micheal Mcintyre.

On that note, I’ve always wondered when do you get to say that you’re a comedian. Is it  A) when you get paid? Or B) from the minute you drag yourself up on stage for another five-minute spot of potential public humiliation, mass apathy, or, if things are going well, actual proper laughs? I’m going to go with option B. Otherwise there’s no point in writing this post.

So anyway, its been a busyish month-for me anyway-of comedianing (that’s what it’s called!) so this is a brief summary and some thoughts which will hopefully be more entertaining than self-indulgent. At any rate as usual everything will be hyper-linked; all the nights I was at are regular and well worth your custom. There are lots of brilliant comedians you’ve not heard of yet out there that you can catch at these nights.

And then there’s me.

(If you haven’t seen me, or need some means of distracting an elderly loved one for five minutes, there are videos of me here) Continue reading

Anarchy and Posthumanism Part 3: Anarchist Superhumans

In my thesis I have made a distinction between the types of posthuman body found in comic books and how these relate to various other versions of posthumanity in philosophy and transhumanist texts. Of particular interest in terms of posthumanism and anarchy is what I call the posthuman Cosmic Body (more detail can be found by clicking on the link). This final post on Anarchy and Posthumanism (part 1 is here and part 2 is here) will consider how anarchism has been presented within superhero comics and note how these representations usually chime with this vision of the ‘Cosmic Posthuman’. Continue reading

Anarchy and Posthumanism Part 2: The Anarchist as Ubermensch

Part 1 was a brief overview of anarchist thoughts and ideas. This part deals with the links between posthumanism and anarchism (while part 3 deals wth anarchism in superhero comics). These links can be best introduced by consider the role of Nietzsche’s philosophy in anarchist thought. As I’ve written elsewhere (elsewhere being here), that posthumanism as a critical/philosophical position arguably finds its first full bloom in the ideas of Nietzsche. As Spencer Sunshine has written,

There were many things that drew anarchists to Nietzsche: his hatred of the state; his disgust for the mindless social behavior of ‘herds’; his anti-Christianity; his distrust of the effect of both the market and the State on cultural production; his desire for an ‘übermensch‘ — that is, for a new human who was to be neither master nor slave.” Continue reading

Anarchy and Posthumanism Part 1: What is Anarchy?

I’m going to go right ahead and guess that for most people (at least here in the UK), anarchy is the video below. According to taste that was easy either loud and scary; scruffy and childish; or an invigorating shot of piss and vinegar. If it was the latter for you then its probable you’ll already be sympathetic to the topic of this post. For the rest, I’m going to try to attempt to appeal to your better senses and paint a picture of anarchy or more specifically, anarchism-that you hopefully won’t find as jaggy and scary. The Sex Pistols are, after all, just the public face of anarchy, but anarchy wears many faces. There are quieter, cosier forms. Anarchy doesn’t mean chaos after all, but freely chosen order. Saying that, an inkling of Pistol’s deep and thorough disrespect for authority will probably help, even if you wouldn’t express it in the same way.

Here’s the nub: even if you have perfectly legitimate intellectual objections to the notion of anarchism it would be difficult to argue with the basic moral position of anarchy. There’s no getting around this. Dismissing anarchism out of hand is effectively saying, “I think its okay for people to tell other people what to do”. Now to be fair, you wouldn’t be alone in that position, but that’s kind of the point of this post. Continue reading

Psychopathenomics 2: Corporate Posthumanism

In a previous post tilted Psychopathenomics I highlighted a number of studies suggesting that the corporate world-especially high finance-attracts psychopathic personalities, and suggested that our current economic and social systems serve both to reward psychopathic behaviors and foster it in others. It got some interesting responses. So in this post I want to suggest that psychopathenomics rests on the production of a version of posthumanity that I’m going to call the Corporate Posthuman. And that moreover this ‘philosophical’ vision of Corporate Posthumanity has serious consequences for the future implementation of Transhumanist enhancement technologies.

(Although some of what follows is bowdlerised from a chapter in my thesis a discussion of the broader themes would take up too much space and lord knows my blog posts are already very long. However, if anyone wants to know more my paper Producing and Consuming the Posthuman Body in Superhero Narratives provides an overview of the thesis that should help contextualise this particular variation on posthumanity, while my paper The Silver Age Superhero as Psychedelic Shaman offers a vision of posthumanity that is in many respects the opposite of the Coporate Posthuman)

First of all its important to note that many see the emergence of the Corporate Posthuman as a natural and healthy evolutionary development. Jeffery Skilling, the disgraced former president of Enron, for example, reportedly saw Richard Dawkin’s book The Selfish Gene as providing a sort of evolutionary explanation-and impetus-for his own corporate machinations. As discussed in this here video clip from the excellent documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room:

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Comics are Magic part 2: Using Superheroes for Divination and Manifestation

In Comics are Magic Part 1 we discussed some strange coincidences and comic book predictions. In this part I want to discuss the use of comics to deliberately manifest such coincidences and changes in reality. First of all it might help to consider the intuitive capabilities of comics creators, starting with Jack Kirby. Kirby is arguably the most influential comics artist of all time, especially in terms of superhero comics. Chris Knowles, author of the excellent Our Gods Wear Spandex, has written frequently about Kirby over at his blog Secret Sun. Knowles says,  “Kirby was a man who one co-worker described as being “hermetically sealed in his own imagination.” I’d counter that only by saying that I believe that Kirby instead was in deep communion with the Collective Unconscious. Kirby even claimed that his characters existed inside his head and he merely projected their stories onto paper.” Knowles suggests that

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Keeping the Cosmic Trigger Happy Part 2: Ontological Anarchy

So now then, after the last post became a general hurrah for Robert Anton Wilson (no bad thing necessarily) I’ve finally got round to writing about his links with comic books. Only that hasn’t been as simple as it seemed either. Fortunately it seems to have resulted in an interesting little bit of cultural archaeology.

Some context: I’ve written briefly about Wilson and his cohorts as ‘scientist-shamans’ and how that ties into a vision of the posthuman I call the Cosmic Body, and how we can also discern the Cosmic Body in superhero comics. One of the questions I was asked when I delivered my paper on this (available here) was how much the depictions of cosmic superheroes like Dr Strange and Adam Warlock in early seventies Marvel comics constituted a way of ‘piggy-backing’ on the subversive cachet of the comix underground, which of course prided itself on its open depictions of drug use, sex and violence in a way that the Comics Code would never allow for superhero comics.

Underground comix are not my specialty by any means. Other than the usual suspects like Crumb and Spiegelman and British variants like Viz, and a broad-strokes idea of the movement and its relationship with mainstream comics, its not a history that I’m wholly familiar with.

What does this have to do with Wilson? In thinking and reading and googling this post I was surprised to find very little interest in RAW”s work and comics. Moore and Morrison have certainly both name-dropped him (and Moore delivered a poetic eulogy for him at an event in 2007-video included at the end of this post), but I couldn’t turn up anything specific in terms of direct referencing. (For instance, I wonder if Alan Moore enjoyed the idea that ‘V’ was also the Roman numeral for 5, a number to which a great deal of significance is attached in RAW’s work and Discordianism, of which RAW was a pope of course. Continue reading