Sympathy with the Deplorable

A timeline and analysis of the @antiPCNYUProf affair, why (usually white male) leftists defect right, and what it says about the left.

Rectenwald recently called his followers, which include self-described White Nationalists, his “Twitter family,” while at NYU he felt like he was “being exiled.” Like many other defectors, he belongs to a movement that seeks to be for white men, in an ironic turn of which they are fully conscious, a safe space. For these defectors, perhaps hurt feelings and defensiveness could be said to have hijacked values and political convictions; the way this community made them feel about themselves became more important than what it stood for. Once they became embedded, stated convictions ceased to matter.

Nietzsche’s iconoclasm was central to the account. Perhaps, like Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Rectenwald needed to create a character, speaking in vicious aphorisms, to transcend academic criticism and the echo-chamber of his milieu, taking struggle against both the identitarian rabble of campus politics and its cynical cooptation by Clintonian Democrats. For all his bluster, it’s worth remembering that Nietzsche referred to his bad faith followers in Genealogy of Morals sarcastically as “free thinkers,” who “hate the Church but love its poison.”

Read the rest of “The Learning Annex” at Real Life Magazine 

Thieliology: Silicon Valley’s dystopian futurism

A look at Peter Thiel’s futurism through the failures of Bolshevism and the populist trope of the vampire in December’s Science/Fiction issue of the The New Inquiry:

Some of our futures are crappy reboots. After all, when considered in a historical light, Peter Thiel–with his vampiric investment in harvesting young blood and intergalactic ambitions–is less a figure of the future than he is a reboot of a failed Bolshevik past. Many of his aspirations, argues A. M. Gittlitz, were first disastrously attempted by early twentieth-century utopian socialists and writers who self-identified as God-Builders, Biocosmist-Immortalists and other retrospective losers.

Full article for free here, and the full issue is just $3. Support TNI!

Nowhere to Run Festival preview

Brief write-up of first (hopefully) annual Post-Punk festival happening this weekend in East Williamsburg:

While medical professionals agree there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues, those seeking group therapy-like commiseration can check out the Nowhere to Run Festival this weekend at East Williamsburg venue The Paper Box.

Featuring two stages and about 20 bands and DJs from the plurality of the dark styles huddled under the post-punk umbrella, the festival is appropriately located at The Paper Box on Meadow Street in the East Williamsburg Industrial Park, an area that resembles the post-industrial, shuttered, and factory-lined streets of Thatcher-era Glasgow where the genre originated.

Read the rest at Bushwick Daily

Eric McDavid speaks at the Base

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Brief write-up on a NYC Anarchist Black Cross-hosted event about Green Scare prisoner Eric McDavid:

In 2005, McDavid was convinced by an agent to purchase materials to make an incendiary device, allegedly for a plan to target cell phone towers. After serving approximately 9 years of a 20 year sentence, it was discovered the government withheld thousands of pages of evidence on the case, and McDavid, who maintains he was entrapped, was released.

Counterterrorism tactics are an issue on everyone’s mind these days, as recent episodes of American gun violence and other tragedies in the United States and abroad propel heated debates about the extent of the American government’s responsibilities to its citizens in terms of both freedom and security. The ongoing use of entrapment techniques to manufacture threats, in the case of McDavid and many others, achieves neither.

Read the rest at Bushwick Daily

KAMIKAZA: Satan Panonski and ex-Yu Punk Fanzine now in stores

Nearly a year in the making, my fanzine about the “Yugoslavia’s GG Allin,” Satan Panonski. A legend in his own time this queer, utopian, internationalist punk spent 9 years in a mental hospital for murder before releasing two albums in two years, and joining a Croatian militia to fight in the Yugoslav wars, in which he was killed. His tragic story is, to me, allegorical to the fall of 20th century socialism and punk. The biography is accompanied by poetry translated by Nikolina Lazetic and an essay about the politics of early Yugoslav punk by Patrick Offenheiser.

If you’re in New York, pick up your copy at BookThugNation, Human Relations Desert Island Topos Bookstore Cafe,Better Read Than Dead, and Bluestockings Bookstore, Café, & Activist Center (soon). Or email at agittlitz@gmail.com for mail orders. Only $4 postage paid.

Full text, a newly translated documentary, and more also available online at satanpanonski.wordpress.com.

Alt Comedy or Aspie Comedy?

A feature on the sketch group Asperger’s Are Us in this week’s Philadelphia Weekly:

The concept of “as­pie humor” was ac­tu­ally dis­covered in the 1940’s by pe­di­at­ri­cian Hans As­per­ger him­self. In his pa­per, “Aut­ist­ic Psy­cho­pathy in Child­hood,” he ar­gued that while aut­ist­ic people “do not un­der­stand jokes….” (es­pe­cially when the joke is “on them”). This can lead neur­o­typ­ic­als to won­der wheth­er the sub­jects are hu­mor­less or just re­pulsed by verbal cruelty. Far from hu­mor­less ar­gues As­per­ger that, due to their lit­er­al-minded­ness, “when mak­ing puns… aut­ist­ic people some­times shine… this can range from simple word­play and sound as­so­ci­ations to pre­cisely for­mu­lated, truly witty re­marks.”

“The main thing unit­ing most As­pies’ sense of hu­mor is our word­play,” the group says, “Be­cause we’re not that in­ter­ested in si­lent plays.” Per­haps in the jovi­al at­mo­sphere of 1940’s Aus­tria this sort of hu­mor may have been con­sidered hack, but in an era when irony and parapros­doki­ans (look it up!) are all the rage, aut­ist­ic hu­mor may at last have its chance “to shine.”

More at PhillyWeekly.com

Evicted Utopias review in New Inquiry

Review of Erick Lyle’s new book Streetopia, full of essays and full color photos from a May 2012 art show of the same name, a kind of anti-Art Basel, about the history and future of Bay Area utopianism.

The urbanization of capital is such a gigantic enemy that well-meaning politicians and radical visionaries like Lyle are practically reduced to the same slingshot-wielding rank. Tech and real estate have been given free reign to radically remap society, economy, and territory. Dissidents of gentrification will have to do the same without the venture capital resources, so Lyle finds some comfort in preferring a utopianism consistent with the spontaneous and fleeting historical moments of rebellion like the White Night riots In 1979, and the Kronstadt rebellion. The latter was depicted in the 2009 film Maggots and Men, shown and discussed at Streetopia. The insurrectionary sailors were played by a queer and trans cast, partially a criticism of the radicalism of the White Night rioters’ slide into liberal gay politics and middle-class identity. It is not enough, radicals argue, to merely protest the injustices of heteronormative violence, bad court rulings, and shady landlords. We need to reorganize ourselves socially and theoretically, producing art and revolution simultaneously, never content with just one or the other.

Read the rest at the New Inquiry

Meet Brooklyn’s Fearless Hasidic Dog Walker

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Recently Gottdenger has expanded the business by walking more dogs each day and offering to watch pets while their owners are on vacation, promoting himself with business cards and social media as “The Hasidic Dog Walker.” His card shows a traditionally dressed Hasidic man looking down, perhaps with trepidation at a dog with a leash in its mouth. Above that, his email: “notafraidofdogs@gmail.com”.

“I love that as a business mantra,” says Erin Mathieu of Bed-Stuy, whose self-described “jerk chihuahua” Reno was the first dog Gottdenger walked. “It’s a wonderfully snarky response to the pigeonholing that New Yorkers tend to participate in when it comes to the Ultra Orthodox.”

Read the rest on Gothamist

New zine now available in NYC and by mail

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My new zine, RUIN VALUE is now available! Three travel essays about squatting and leftist nostalgia, all wrapped in all-too-professional looking letter-pressed cover thanks to help from Wasp Poster & Print.

$4 at BookThugNation, Human Relations Topos Bookstore Cafe Desert Island Bluestockings Bookstore, Café, & Activist Center Sunview Lunchnet, better read than dead, or whatever you want to pay if you find me in person. Out-of-towners email agittlitz @ gmail . com with mailing address for a copy.