Practicing Pasolinian Terrorism
From the Oracle Correspondence, April-May 2022
In the revolutionary summer of 2020 I got a DM from an anonymous locked twitter account that had like 2 followers and no profile picture. They had this brutal, theatrically scathing critique of my writing up to that point, which was especially sharp partly because they were also from a similar Northern Virginia background and had a good sense of the social-class context of my writing and “online brand.” I found their critique so compelling that I immediately adopted their advice and began a total reorientation of my thinking. Then they disappeared. At the beginning of April 2022 they reached out to me by email with friendlier (but equally constructive) intentions. In the time since they had first messaged me they had transitioned and written (most of) a novel, and they suspected there was a “convergence” in our writing. There’s way too much to say about it here, but the book rules and I’m very excited for people to read it when it’s ready.
You can read some of the stuff from our original correspondence in the thread here, though I think my friend is slightly embarassed about it because it’s pretty aggressive and we’re cool now (oddly enough, I unknowingly misgendered them at the time I posted that). Still, I never really took offense and saw it as a literary work in its own right. I actually think it was the “violence” of that intervention that has helped me focus my critical thinking and see myself as a sort of literary guerilla mind terrorist rather than some fawning bourgeois dandy layabout who delights in nihilistic stupidity and is unable to ever truly express himself.
In this Substack post I’m just copying excerpts from my half of our email correspondence throughout April and the beginning of May 2022. They helped me write the Actors movie review, which is why that piece is unusually polished (those parts are excluded here). I was actually hanging out with them for the first time in Brooklyn last night (they’re visiting from California). But I’m keeping them mostly anonymous/silent in this post because I want to convey my own voice as that of the “analysand” in this strange twitter anon psychoanalytic relationship.
I admit I was actually a bit worried that you'd disapprove of my move to NYC and involvement, however antagonistic, with this downtown reactionary socialite world. i have kept in mind your point about how i'm "not cut out for that world", which i do think is true in the sense that i will (thankfully) always be an outsider to them, but fate has still unmistakably drawn me to New York, rather than out west or beyond (just yet, at least). its probably true i needed to keep your warning in mind to be ready to approach them and the city's intellectual world the correct way: critically, irreverently, totally indifferent to their manners and scene politics, etc.
I know i still have a lot to learn and work on as far as real political commitment and engagement goes, but I never imagined that being something I could just learn overnight, and i hope i've at least managed to reorient myself in the right direction. this is also part of why im really interested in what you have to say in your writing. the friends of mine thru whom i found an apartment in NYC also happen to have an Oakland connection (one friend is from there and a bunch of them met each other while they lived out there, before coming to NYC) and are pretty involved in political activism, specifically palestine stuff. I've heard a lot about their time in the bay area and beyond, and this has reminded that however exciting NYC may be for me right now there's still a whole world outside it.
It's funny you mention not knowing much about my life. In New York I keep meeting people who tell me they follow me on social media and sometimes I tell them about myself and they're like "yes I know this I follow you on twitter" and then other times they might not know some of the things about me I'd imagine would be most obvious. When you first messaged me I figured you were pretty familiar with the stuff I wrote because you mentioned some of the real deep cuts, and had a pretty good critical understanding of my place online "in the discourse," and how that was at odds with the sort of writing I actually want to do/person I want to be. You were somewhat inaccurate on finer personal details, but the things you extrapolated were pretty logical from the trajectory of my (very youthful) writings and posturing on social media you had to work with. Those things are necessarily fragmented and deceptive, you can necessarily only get to a sort of shadow self from that. Still, this actually was very helpful in showing me the way I was writing/tweeting/etc was making me misunderstood, how this shadow self that represents me to thousands of people was confused, warped, deformed, and so on (the result of a stagnant cope existence in DC and the perverse incentives of social media, which was my primary creative outlet). These things I had been increasingly sensing even before you messaged me. But you're right, after reading your manuscript I think I probably have a better idea of your life, your actual life and not just some self-deceptive performance as a cryptofascist pundit-comedian, than you do of mine.
in a lot of my earliest post-undergrad "mcrumps" internet blog writing stuff (~2015-17), altho there was some thoughtful stuff in it, was cope/spinning wheels about being a "white mediocrity" with nothing genuinely new or meaningful to say, and i was also frustrated by other ppl around my age (not DC ppl, NY ppl i was aware of thru twitter basically) that had even less to say and somehow were getting clouted and published in glossy litmags and stuff. now i just kinda realize that those ppl were just like ivy league rich kids who made more valuable connections at Yale than i could possibly have at w&m, and by now it doesnt matter anyway. but in any case i had just found myself at this decent-enough desk job in DC (not because i ever wanted that but bc i needed money after college, needed to get away from my financially abusive mother and have some semblance of independence for once) that also gave me enough time to read/write shit on my own, but in such a way that i was like deeply bored and surrounded by a world that i totally didnt belong in, and all this was happening during the really weird psychedelic-deliriant comeup of the trump years, when the promises of the reactionary outsider avant-garde were fresher (or at least they seemed so to me, bc i had never lived thru that already, but now i feel like ive seen it run its course once so i cant ever see it the same), and also seemed to somehow frighten the totally humorless professional killary-CIA-liberal world of DC, of my parents, which i hated but never really knew a world beyond. and even then i was still sort of an outsider to the internet reactionary avant garde mystics, tho i def felt more at home in combative dialogue with logo daedalus and kantbot (who just seemed like familiar weird nerds i would hang out with in high school/college) than with the ppl who just seemed like arrogant credentialed NY "leftist" hypocrites. the "fascist"/"fascist-adjacent" self i sort of put on was never really genuine, or at least it was never a matter of what i actually believed myself but rather of "doubt" in my own principles and the possibility of "liberation," it was opening my mind to hear out weird people and ideas that i was ambivalent about but nevertheless drawn to ("accelerationism" a great example in vogue from that period), letting edgy shit just fall into my open head, i always knew it was a betrayal of what i wanted to be and even had been before for a bit (like, my chaotic-anarchist college self was dumb, indulgent, and not exactly "liberated" just yet but it def was not resigning itself to a sad life of DC professional fascist careerist collaborationism). it was cope and i was always very conflicted and embarrassed/sensitive about it, i always knew that there was some judgement/reckoning coming, i was obsessed with the reckoning with heideggers nazi past that was going on at the time with the publication of the black notebooks. this problem got even more warped as i started finding some modest online success by straddling the fence with this world, which on one hand was good bc it showed that my "weirdness" (in things like the incel writings, etc) was appreciated, but also which kinda incentivized/reinforced many of the dumb reactionary tendencies, it helped me convince myself that those reactionary tendencies were fine and not reactionary, and that my audience perfectly understood me (which is totally false lmao). it was really good that you did your "intervention" when you did bc it was right at this point that i was really dissatisfied and bored with these contradictory& smallminded reactionary tendencies and was also becoming aware of the strength of my own voice (ie. by then i was very well aware that the thing preventing my success/realization of myself in my writing was not like SJW PoCs getting all the book deals and shit, jewishly hoarding all of my jouissance, which many of the young bourgeois reactionary writers never get beyond). im sort of rambling with this but my point is that theres a version of myself i see in these ppl, and being able to recognize that and overcome it, enacting genuine self-transformation and whatnot, is a source of great artistic/spiritual power. (not that im trying to fall back on my desperate power-grabbing DC ways...)
logo daedalus is still fucking funny as ever and sometimes i really have to restrain myself from going off about him on twitter because I know that I should be "past that" lol. he has me blocked now (he got really embarrassed/deeply narcissistically hurt this one time another frogtwitter guy tricked him into saying that he had read this nonexistent Evola book and I made a joke referring to that incident when he made this particularly ignorant Spinoza take) so i have to look him up in incognito mode. hes been joining forces with these larouche-adjacent twitch streamer ppl who tried to take over CPUSA and then founded "CPIUSA" (center for policy innovation or some shit) when that failed and they got kicked out. they had this conference at this hotel in austin texas where they swore an oath of allegiance to putin and the Z movement, and theres video of logo participating in it.
I took some acid this weekend and spent Saturday afternoon at Prospect Park laying in the sun and observing people. I took a solid 300 micrograms, which is more than I've taken the last few times I've tripped (tho I've taken this much and a little more than that before). So I def had a solid trip that really shook up my sense of self that day. I couldn't really write much at the time even tho I tried to, but I ended up taking some notes of what I remembered the next day while I was sitting on a park bench during a long walk to process the trip.
I had this funny little thought about the idea of girls on instagram and tiktok being like, attracted to very fundamental orientations/concepts of human reality and the physical world, like "Magnetic North". Like they want to be fucked by "North", North is daddy, etc. how can we in our cucked mortal existences possibly compete with something so eternal…
I had a somewhat related thought about someone's writing being so integrated into the writer's world on such an immediate level that the writing becomes about like reminding themself of really basic everyday things like "get bread and toothpaste", "you are outside", "up is up". i sort of imagined this being part of the writer's "late period", like Lacan playing with all the borromean knots and stuff like that. i know this is kind of like just reinventing "stream of consciousness" but i imagined it being more part of some "philosopher's" writing rather than part of narrative fiction
I've been thinking lately about how I really dont like "esotericism" at all anymore, it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, whenever ppl talk about it i know that the conversation is going in a dumb direction, theyre about to say something stupid and reveal that theyre an idiot and i have to pretend to not think that. i didnt really have any profound insight about that but its just been on my mind lately. somewhat related, i thought a bit about how part of what was "fascist" about the old crumps bit was presuming to be this "authority"/accepting the label encouraged by social media dynamics to be some authority, the psychoanalytic incel expert or whatever, versus just accepting the inherent flux of this knowledge (and knowledge generally) and the position of the student/learner... I can't purport to have any fucking "hidden knowledge" lol, who am I kidding...
I thought a bit about how NYC social life expects me to start being more fashionable than i am, which is starting to worry me a little bit. i have a skatery stonery wardrobe that i feel like looks like a self that i feel happy and comfortable with, but its getting harder to go around to these "literary world" events and not be seen/recognized, I need to start "dressing up," which sucks, I need to figure out what I want my "dressed up self" to look like. a lot of the "nice" clothes i have from going into the office in DC and just looking like a DC bourgeois professional will not work for this. i need to do this in a very cost-effective way bc I dont have very much money to spare. this petit self conscious anxiety made me think about longing for laid back california lol, and the vision of Prospect Park on this particularly beautiful afternoon reminded me of my time in San Francisco in Golden Gate Park (i think thats what its called, with "hippie hill") in the spring of 2016, my first trip to California, beautiful apocalyptic California…
ive been thinking a lot about your book, and how it rules, and how i need to start really drawing up my thoughts on it. a little while ago i had finished reading for the first time all the material up through the last version you sent, and i've started a reread that will include/is including taking more notes. i really love how it, as you said, "skips around my world of New York" and goes out west, latin america, eastern europe, but its also like exactly what these New York ppl need to be shocked by, like theres this infinitely-unfolding world beyond their narrow vision, theres so much to write thats NOT in New York...
ive been having similar thoughts on this more-than-human/more-than-man sexuality and have given some thought to the idea of transitioning myself especially since ive been engaging with this topic so much lately. as far as i can consciously tell i feel pretty comfortable in my own body but am more disenchanted by the idea of having to "be a man" like as a set of rules of behavior, expectations that are simultaneously breaking down and reconstituting themselves as these desperate fascist parodies of themselves. i dont really want my own body to change but i want the whole settler capitalist edifice of masculinity to finally just come down. whenever i think about having children (this idea actually popped up in my head during the trip) it is much easier to imagine raising a daughter than a son, bc with the daughter you can kinda have a better idea of what you want to encourage them to be (like the strong liberated woman and whatnot), but with the son its like, i have no fucking idea what kind of "man" i'm supposed to tell this kid to be, and it seems inevitable that theyll have to pass thru a lot of confused stupidity to (hopefully) get to some kind of enlightened post-masculinity at the end of it, but thats not a guarantee at all. thankfully i dont have to worry about that for a while. this might be some unconscious ascetic holdover from a sexless authoritarian upbringing but i feel like the ultimate goal is the abolition of gender entirely, universal they/them pronouns, and just like decoupling the myopic obsessional gender binary from desire. but yeah, this is def at odds with the trans ppl that worry that the breakdown of the gender regime makes their transition/reclamation of femininity(or masculinity)/etc. less satisfying/liberating. tho i suspect that what they gain from that is ultimately far less than what can come out of rejecting that entirely and opting for the infinite more-than-human potentiality, which just sounds cooler and sexier and more confident in itself. but im not sure, its def something i'll have to think about...
i was hanging out with my friend tai last week, who had just returned from her band's europe tour. i met a bunch of the other band members, the main guy Ben who directed PVT CHAT and is homies with peter vack (i keep forgetting that peter is the fucking lead in his movie, alongside julia fox lol). Bodega is very funny bc its kinda this microcosm of the downtown world, which I see thru the eyes of my maoist radical feminist drummer friend tai, who isn’t afraid to argue with its “downtown” faction, led by guitarist/vocalist Ben, in this relationship that is nonetheless still creative and symbiotic (they all get along to make music and tour). in the music theres this interesting “political” antagonism btwn the relative prominence of guitars/vocals vs the drums in the recording/mixing, since the guitar faction is animated by a conservative melodic vision of the music, whereas the greater prominence of the drums would supposedly make it more formally modern (according to tai of course). this is kinda parallel to how i see my own writing versus that of someone like the realist gasda (the angelicists dont fit into this analogy as easily). Ben was very friendly and curious in what i had to say which was also pretty funny bc i basically was telling him all about how i just wrote this absolutely scathing review of the project of his good friends, all of which tai loved bc she had been arguing with them about this movie for a while, and my piece kinda hammered home the point that she had been trying to articulate about it. and the other day Betsey or Peter (not sure who exactly, since this came from the shared actorscellectuals insta) asked me to play a part in their new movie project filming in july, which i’m guessing would mean a villainous version of myself. as with Lorentzen, the fate of all literary critics in this world is to become actors themselves, playing themselves. i was ambiguous in my answer but said i was interested and to keep me posted, but i’m not sure if i should go thru with it. my friends have been mixed; tai is very opposed because shes allergic to the very idea of being complicit in bullshit, but my filmmaker roommate trustin and some others are more drawn to the mayhem and think i should do it… it does line up with my goal of probing the depths of this world, it could make me more credible in a sense, but i still should avoid being “co-opted.” of course, i will have to see the specifics. anyway i also think at some point i'll just have to write a piece about the Bodega band, thankfully not as a "review" that has to be like "this album is good/bad" but just as describing what i find interesting about all these characters in the context of my writing and exploration, which is way better/more freeing/honest/interesting. i mean, fuck writing “reviews,” i’m on some bigger shit hahaha