Everything comes back around, sooner or later.
In the summer, I first started contemplating starting my podcast up again for real, and one of the first things I wanted to talk about was Trump. At the time I was envisioning a sort of esoteric media analysis which, even though he clearly couldn’t win, would take apart why and how he got to the stage he was, of nearly (at that point) winning the Republican primary. But every time I started to firm up an idea, I had this creeping feeling that it was premature. I felt like I didn’t really understand what was going on.
And that pattern kept repeating for another four or so months, and that podcast kept on not starting. And now here we are. Turns out I was more right than I knew to hold back a final judgement of Trump’s prospects, even if I couldn’t admit to myself at the time what it meant. That’s the thing about blind spots, though, isn’t it? In retrospect, part of me knew the crisis narrative that Obama inherited couldn’t possibly end well. And now it has ended, and not well. So it goes.
It would be narcissistic, even solipsistic, to imagine my contributions could have made any difference to where we’ve seemingly ended up over the last few years. Still, what is true of the one is not true of the many, of which the one is a part. It is completely clear now that an awful lot of people have misplaced their priorities rather badly for long time, or else we wouldn’t be in this predicament now, and it would be a little too easy to let myself off the hook, just because I happened to be a typically overwhelmed student. I was content to pretend for quite a while that the winds of history were more or less at all of our backs, I suppose. But things rarely move in straight lines, and that bit of pretending is clearly over now.
The Bad Old Days are here again. Time to get off the bench.
What to expect:
My aim is to do at least 2 podcasts a month, indefinitely, sometimes more when I feel like it, or support/demand justifies it. I have a new patreon page up and running, so if you feel moved to support what I’m doing with a few coins a month, in whatever fashion, that would be excellent. Spreading the word to others would also be excellent. I will, as ever, strive to make it worth your while.
I have four episodes of the new program, which I have titled Solve Everything, in the can already and the first of those will come out probably by the end of the week. Some of it is just working out the trauma of the election at first, but we quickly transition into more interesting philosophical territory, like Platonic theories of knowledge as applied to contemporary democracies, and meta-ethical treatments of things like genocide. I’m hoping to lay something down in the next week or so that is a McLuhan-esque analysis of political regimes as forms of media. Should be a good head-scratcher.I have a very long game in mind for all this, and Solve Everything will be centrepiece. It won’t be totally obvious what it is at first, but those of you who have been around for a long time will have some inkling of what I’m about.
I also want to do an essay-length treatment of the Trump phenomena that will fully purge that out of my system so I can focus on other things. The most frustrating thing about the last year or so is the poverty of the conversation and wishing that things could be talked about at much higher level than they were. So I will try and present the conversation about Trump I wished had happened, but didn’t.
I’m also working on finishing my first novel. I will be making it available online in the first half of this year. Those of you who have been around for awhile might find it in keeping with the slightly unhinged satirical tone of some of my more bad-mood-ish writing. In my more whimsical moments I think of it as a cross between Catcher in the Rye, Fight Club, and some really unhinged japanese anime like Ninja Scroll or Neon Genesis Evangelion.
It is an unending source of gratification that many of my original audience have done well and in many cases gone on to do interesting thinks of your own. My thanks to everyone who threw kind words and encouragement my way during the Great Academic Hiatus. My brain simply wasn’t set up to do this and that at the same time. But that is done, at least for the time being, so now it’s time for this, again.
I have changed in many ways, but the thing at the core is beyond changing. It does what it wants with me, always–when I’m not too messed up to pay attention, that is, which is rather often, alas. Sometimes I feel like my entire life is one long shamanic ordeal. I can only hope it’s all for a good reason, which is just another way of saying I hope I eventually succeed at giving it all a good reason. I’d like to think the intervening years have left me improved and not diminished, at least not very much, so I must be doing something right. For now I’m back, I’m healthy, and feeling strong.
The sun goes down and always comes back up again. Someday we all go to live outside of time, where there will be no more sunrises, but that day is not today, at least not for me.
…and so, to the Work.