the mortal enemy of videogames


@“MoH”#p158689 the last time an american got in serious trouble for art

Tipper Gore sure tried her best, but maybe I'm showing my age and that is no longer reasonably considered as "recent"

(note, not suggesting Tipper was the artist -- rather the (misguided (as always)) police!)

I remember quite liking The Uninhabitable Earth - it was a very nice balance of data-driven arguments and vivid imagery of actual victims of climate change. The passages about a couple forced to tread water in their swimming pool to escape a forest fire or of the families hit by mudslides in Santa Barbara stay with me years later. Maybe wishful thinking on my part but I liked that he retained some optimism even though things look dour. At the time - 2019 - it seemed like the only climate change discourse I‘d see online was full doomerism “the earth will not make it to 2022” that seemingly had very little to back it up. I also think the very tenuous optimism is more in line with how I feel post-pandemic and seeing how, at least in those first few months, the world was able to mobilize in response to a global crisis in a way that I didn’t really think was possible

I haven't read Naomi Klein's book _This Changes Everything_, but I actually did just read _Doppelganger_, which is the first book of hers I've read. I really enjoyed it - it's a bit disparate but it feels really right for this particular moment in time. There are some ideas in there that I'm going to be thinking about for a while - especially the sections where she argues that we radically changed the discourse (for the better) right at the precise moment in time when words ceased to mean anything.
I liked _Doppelganger_ a lot and so looked into Klein a bit more. I read her interview in the New Yorker which was good. However, I hit play on a podcast where she was a guest to talk about the movie _Don't Look Up_, which she mentions in the book, but in a very neutral manner. I thought _Don't Look Up_ was one of the biggest disasters of the past five years or so... Then here she is on the podcast taking these enormous swings about how critics hate comedy and its a huge hit for netflix and how people aren't going to like its message because it's a "challenging film" (???)... honestly she sounded like a right winger talking about The Babylon Bee or one of those awful Daily Wire films... I shut the podcast off after 10 minutes. So, not totally sure what to think of Klein at the end of the day, but I did really like _Doppelganger_

One interpretation of Chevengur is that it’s about a guy who’s autistic for trains, but his autism is cured by a sudden understanding of class-consciousness


@“yeso”#p159316 One interpretation of Chevengur is that it’s about a guy who’s autistic for trains, but his autism is cured by a sudden understanding of class-consciousness

Didn't know this was possible. I gotta get less class-conscious

Uuuuuuuuuuuuh………. uuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……………. actually it's fine for working class people to become police. I mean everyone has to make a living somehow


@“MoH”#p158287 i’ll next be reading all the lovers in the night by mieko kawakami, author of forum favorite heaven

this was really good, by the way. it hit the same marks _heaven_ did, but in ways more subtle and unexpected. a very easy recommendation for anyone.

i'm now about halfway through volume 2 of vollmann's carbon ideologies, this volume called _no good alternative._ it's better than the first, and is so good in fact it's making me rethink the first. for as verbose as vollmann is, he lets some things the book does go unstated and/or delayed. when those things finally do come into focus, they give a certain aesthetic pleasure unique to literature. specifically in this case, it's the realization that vollmann structured the book a bit like an inverted pyramid. interviewing families of coal miners in west virginia who can't drink from their tap and suffer from strange cancers and industrial accidents has a tremendous weight after spending ~ 400 pages reading about BTUs and pounds of carbon etc etc. it's really good.

it's also super bleak. take this quote from an activist in west virginia vollmann worked with who had spent years trying to protect a small parcel of forest from mountain top removal mining:


It seems a small and insignificant victory in the face of global habitat los and mass extinction. It feels frustrating to know that people can take a stand and win, as we did, yet so many people continue to passively accept the myth of their own powerlessness. It makes me angry that we had to spend years of our lives working to protect a tiny spot of land from the greed and insanity that threatens it, and that we could spend our entire lives doing the work of protecting the land yet still mourn daily for the many places we continue to lose to this sick culture to which nothing is sacred except exploitation. It feels good, really good, to stand up to powers that seem so invincible and systems so broken and corrupt … and beat them. It's inspiring to find and work with those few people who do care, and are willing to take action.

so it's hard to walk away from this book and not feel that we are very cooked.

speaking of releasing carbon, i have a long trip to japan coming up, so i'm looking for one meaty book that's also split up into piecemeal parts that i can take with me. _palm of the hand_ stories by kawabata fits this bill, but i already read that. ironically, so does _the atlas_ by vollmann so i might bring that but wanted to see if anyone else had any bright ideas. maybe _the anatomy of melancholy_...

don't think I could withstand the strange combination of annoyed and depressed those Vollmann books would make me lol


@“MoH”#p159471 any bright ideas

the collected _Savage Messiah_ by Laura Grace Ford comes to mind. A stack of Jim Thompson novels would do the trick (specifically _Savage Night_, _The Killer Inside Me_, _A Hell of a Woman_, _The Getaway_, and _Pop.1280_).

Also _The Dregs_ trilogy by Chris Kelso - full disclosure I got kind of annoyed with it too and didn't get very far, but it seems interesting and I wouldnt mind someone else reading it and reporting back if its good

also Juan José Arreola

@“yeso”#p159483 it doesn't look like Juan José Arreola is in english :frowning: jim thompson is a pretty good idea tho….and maybe this would be a good time to finally read ross macdonald …

the dregs trilogy looks interesting but i read a quick interview with the author and all my annoying alarm bells are going off

Can’t go wrong with Ross Macdonald, but I think Thompson might be a better plane/train/hotel read

got freakin john candy over here

what if kingdom hearts went to Canadian Bacon world?

I‘ve been in a parallel circle with Chris Kelso for most of my adult life. It’s possible I‘ve even met him!

I have not read any of his books. People seem to like them and he seems to very much be devoted to whatever thing he’s doing, which seems cool.

Gonna finish Dhalgren this week. It's weirder than I remembered! Also jsut finished some more Bernard Cromwell books along with Maigret's First Case by Georges Simenon--I liked it a lot!--and Slaying the Dragon, which is an interesting history of Dungeons and Dragons.

I find Bernard Cromwell very addictive in a strange way. His books have this comforting aspect to them, I think because they are so deliberately and specifically what they are. Which is books about badbutt dudes doing badbutt shit in the past. I didn't know that this was my version of popcorn read but I guess it is.

i was able to get some reading in during the forum’s downtime.

i finished volume 2 of william vollmann’s carbon ideologies: no good alternative

to say it was a harrowing read would be an understatement. at the risk of retreading my earlier posts in this thread, i’ll say this book builds on the work vollmann put down in volume 1, which is to say it puts tactile sense to the facts and figures behind the warming of our planet. vollmann traveled to coal towns in west virginia and india, fracking towns in colorado, oil towns in the UAE (if you can even call them towns), and revisits the fukushima red zones he first introduced in volume 1. his goal in doing so is to show us the immediate mutilation we’re doing to our planet and the immediate murder we’re doing to our people. something most of us likely don’t think of often are the west virginians who can’t drink their tap water and have blood coming out the wrong orifices because of coal’s flotsam. we likely think even less of the beautiful mountain tops we’ve blown away in order to extract more of it. we likely have never thought about the hundreds of indian and filipino men making $300 USD per month and losing their digits working the oil fields in the outskirts of abu dhabi. where vollmann separates his book from, say, a frontline documentary on the subject is he is constantly asking for what? why are we killing the planet–for the convenience of a hot meal, for the luxury of a warm shower, for the power to post on this wonderful forum whenever i want? the answer is yes.

as i’ve mentioned, he couches these questions in an epistolary frame. the book is written to someone in the distant future who lives in a world where bangladesh is under water. he wants them to understand how we lived, how good it was, and why we couldn’t do anything about it. he absolutely succeeds in that regard. the book was not perfect, but it will be one i think about for a long time, especially when i consider my own consumption (fun fact: he quotes a study that says even someone living a “buddhist monk” lifestyle or even a homeless person in america uses more energy on average than someone from a third-world/developing country (usa baby)).

after that i read nietzsche and philosophy by deleuze (i am never beating the allegations).

it was great. i’ve heard this book was a great introduction to deleuze, which may be true, but i found it to be a wonderful examination of nietzsche. as with most complicated texts i read, it was 80% muddled confusion but 20% stark and frightening clarity, and it was those moments that kept me going. nietzsche is an interesting figure in that he’s mostly known to the world through epic and misunderstood quotes, however when taken seriously he may be the most fruitful intellectual well to draw from. each time i return to him, i find myself gaining a deeper understanding and a more profound grasp of his concepts, though i would not claim to fully understand his concepts as he defines them.

to better explain myself, i’ll note that i don’t often agree with nietzsche, but i’m not sure that’s important. rather, i find it invigorating to examine one of his aphorisms like “the strong must always be defended against the weak” or his explorations of affirmation and negation and ask myself how i feel, how i define terms like “weak” or “strong,” or if ressentiment is such a bad thing. he is provocative to be sure, but undoubtedly one of the most powerful thinkers i’ve ever encountered.

as for what’s next–unfortunately my wife informed me it would not be wise to buy any new books before leaving on a trip, so i’m electing instead to take something from my library. i’ll only be bringing around 3-4, but sitting next to me i have:

if anyone wants to nudge me in one direction or the other on the above, i am primed to be receptive.

edit: looks like the new forum will put a little number next to the links when someone clicks on them…


(fun fact: he quotes a study that says even someone living a “buddhist monk” lifestyle or even a homeless person in america uses more energy on average than someone from a third-world/developing country (usa baby))

The dark side of the #MonkMindset

I might just get into this Vollmann guy.

It was great. i’ve heard this book was a great introduction to deleuze, which may be true, but i found it to be a wonderful examination of nietzsche.

This is interesting, I’ve read very little Deleuze but I’ve been meaning to get into his works, though I think with philosophy it pays to do the background reading. I think what happens to me is that I’m like “Where to start with Deleuze” and everybody is like read X then Y then Z then get into Deleuze. And while that often does pay off in very important ways, it has significantly slowed my exploration of philosophy past my college courses. These days the only ‘philosopher’ I keep updated on is Zizek, and that’s because he got me into Hegel and Marx, so he is relatively easier for me to understand. I’ve put nietzche and philosphy on my list for stuff to check out – been trying to get back into the practice of reading more philosophy myself.

The desert fathers book sounds real interesting.


i recommend reading this essay first to see if it’s your flavor. (new forum is warning me that the link has already been posted but i do so again for your convenience). his wholes are greater than the sum of their parts, but he’s worthy of serious consideration. i could probably wax more about him–his books take on an exceptionally tragic tone whenever he writes about his daughter–but i’ve only scratched the surface of his oeuvre, so i’ll refrain in case i say something i regret, like the word oeuvre.

re: deleuze – yeah, it seems like this nietzche book is the gold standard for getting into deleuze but it was really dense. if you’re academically trained (i’m not), it might be easier to get through, but it does a weird thing of using nietzche’s terminology to explain something but then only defining those terms many chapters later. this was especially difficult because much of his terminology includes commonly used words like force or revenge or return but of course they take on radically different meaning, so quite a bit of reorienting there. i feel like i knew a fair bit going into it, but i was often left scratching my head and rereading sentences.

one thing the book gave me is better positioning nietzche in relation to hegel. i’m a dilettante when it comes to philosophy (nietzche’s works are some the few primary texts i’ve read–usually i’m reading commentary or something), so i always appreciate gaining context as a dum-dum.

the desert fathers book is great! opening to a page at random: “there was a hermit who was often ill. but one year he did not fall ill and he was very upset and wept saying ‘the lord has left me, and has not visited me.’”

then take deleuze on nietzche: “a reactive force can certainly be considered from different points of view. illness for example, separates me from what i can do, as reactive force it makes me reactive, it narrows my possibilities and condemns me to a diminished milieu to which i can do no more than adapt myself. but, in another way, it reveals to me a new capacity, it endows me with a new will that i can make my own, going to the limit of a strange power.”


idk if the reply thing worked but @Bonsai

I’m making my way through Clarel, and despite @yeso 's warnings, I’m loving it. I am kind of a sucker for narrative verse (and obviously Melville himself), and while the theme of religious doubt is somewhat lightly explored, I appreciate whenever it does come up. I think it’s fair to say that it feels less like poetry, and more like prose constrained within metre and rhyme, but that style has its own charms, in my opinion. Probably not something I’d run around recommending to everyone I know, but it’s enjoyable to me.

Also reading The Female Quixote, a ridiculous 18th-century novel about a young girl who grows up on a country estate and learns everything about life from 17th-century French romances. It’s quite silly, but does have more of an overarching story than its namesake, which I have always found to be less than the sum of its parts. This novel exists within the same realm as something like Tristram Shandy, although it plays it straight (while still, of course, being a comedy), without all the diversions and metatextuality.

Recently finished The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, which I discovered by perusing the Wikipedia page for “List of works influenced by One Thousand and One Nights.” It’s got everything you might want: ghosts, seductive women trying to convert good Spanish Catholics to Islam (who might also be ghosts), cabbalists, gypsies, stories-within-stories, stories-within-stories-within-stories, and a clumsy geometer. I found it to be great fun. It was written by a Polish eccentric who, according to several sources, committed suicide via priest-blessed silver bullet out of fear that he was becoming a werewolf. (The introduction in my copy called this the “most likely” cause of his death, among other accounts.)


I think that this encapsulates most of my experience with philosophy. The terms seem innocent but hold a lot of weight and I’ve made the mistake of simply looking them up in the dictionary, whereas often I think each philosopher has their own dictionary (glossary?). The stanford enyclopedia of philosophy, which you may already have been aware of, is a great online resource for this.

I don’t have an academic background in philosophy, I was a self-hating PoliSci undergrad who hung out with the philosophy crowd quite a bit (I found them to be much cooler overall). I say this to say I’m not trained in academic philosophy but was around it enough to understand how to get better at reading it – they put me on to online lectures that helped them understand the same philosophers I was into. In another life I would have picked that as my undergrad, employment opportunities be damned. I think the little experience I’ve had with the discipline made my overall life more fulfilling. Not like my PoliSci degree has helped either way lol.

i feel like i knew a fair bit going into it, but i was often left scratching my head and rereading sentences.

one thing the book gave me is better positioning nietzche in relation to hegel. i’m a dilettante when it comes to philosophy (nietzche’s works are some the few primary texts i’ve read–usually i’m reading commentary or something), so i always appreciate gaining context as a dum-dum.

I say I’m into Hegel but really I read 3/4 of Phenomenology of Spirit during college, which meant rereading the same 3 sentences several times until I reached an understanding, then talking to my Hegel-inclined roommates about it and watching this one professor on youtube explain each passage to me. That is to say I am still very much a noob with regards to all of this, though what I had read really stuck with me and I still think in those terms today. More so than reading it, talking and discussing it is what really helped me understand things.

I think my next horizon is post-colonial philosophers like Fanon, Said etc, some of which make connections to Deleuze, so this was good timing.

This also connects to something else I’ve been wondering about and wanted to post on here as a point of discussion. I’ve read books that practically demanded multiple, close re-readings of the same passage. So much so that I feel like after I’m done reading the book, I basically already re-read it. On the other hand, fiction books that are equally as demanding in my experience (you can fill in your own examples here – I’m thinking of Gravity’s Rainbow), I’ve kind of given up the close reading approach and just rolled through them without trying to dissect each couple of sentences, knowing that I will eventually revisit and understand more of it’s themes. I still find the experience pleasant, but I’m left wondering if I was lazy in my reading. Though what does a lazy reading really mean.

I’m inclined to think that one’s level of engagement with a text determines how much you can get out of it. My question is if you think one is “better” than the other, or if you approach all books the same way. What is it about particular books that makes them hard to read but rewarding to dissect – is it because they are badly written or written very well? Should user-friendliness be a primary concern for people who write?

P.S I think the new UI is vague in showing when something is a reply, but I did get notified about it before you tagged me with the @