No One Ever Chose To Be Post-Modern: The Utopian Impulse and Contemporary Philosophy as Trauma-Response

Of course, Jameson and Ernst are different from myself insofar as their discussion is falling more on the Eu Topia side of the equation, whereas I'm more interested in the Ou Topia side of the equation (not that I don't look for the good and don't have a utopian urging, just that I'm a fantasy and science fiction writer by inclination; I'm obviously going to gravitate towards the no-place.) And why shouldn't we be interested in places that don't, can't, or won't exist? The world is spanned and mapped and there are no horizons left to cross – much less for a smoker with bad eyes.

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On Reactionary Cute: How Childish Images and Nostalgia Hack Our Minds

One might ask how we got here, but that's a topic for a historian (May's book seems to be a good trailhead.) If I were to have to venture a guess, I would look to the addition of liminal states between child and adult: the teenager, the "emerging adult", and so on. Another suspicion would be the emphasis placed on youth culture since the 1950s, and especially the youth culture of the 1950s and 1960s. If your life is effectively over at 30, then of course you're going to live in denial about being over thirty, of course you're going to tell war stories about what you were doing when you were nineteen, of course you're going to lie to yourself.

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Crafting a Healthy Masculinity (Part 2): Ending Martyr Culture

Martyr Culture is not particularly masculine, but it is endemic in American masculinity. It's the mindset that says you have to sacrifice everything to have any worth. In that way, it's sort of at the crossroads of capitalism and toxic masculinity.

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Lessons from Architecture: What not to do with Paradigm and Syntax

For us, this is the end result of an unconsidered aesthetic: a building is not a sculpture. It is something that actual people have to use, and if it makes them feel anxious or depressed to be there, then it's a failure as an artistic project. It makes it so that they can't function, because a building envelopes the people within it – it becomes the totality of their environment. If it's bad, then they don't have a choice but to feel bad because we don't get to choose jobs based on the architecture.

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The Collapse of Possibility: The Problem of Aesthetics and Ontology in Science Fiction

But all of this is beside the point: the fact that we can pick out two dominant aesthetics in the visual media form of what is supposed to be a “literature of ideas” is a problem. It indicates, if anything, a lack of ideas. If our options are just a visual vocabulary iteration of the old Star Wars vs. Star Trek debate that no one but the people having it are interested in, we've got problems.

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Reality Gives Way to the Real: The Epistemic Crisis and the Damaging Omnipresence of the Sublime

While the news media sometimes talks about an Epistemic Crisis, or discusses the caustic effect that social media has on discourse, or features a think piece about how kids these days don't share the values of their elders, et cetera, et cetera. This isn't what I'm talking about, or not the whole thing. I feel that we are in a dangerous and critically important period of epistemic uncertainty. To whit, in addition to the examples that I mention, I want to introduce some anecdotes (which is an ironic move as far as proof goes; more on that some other time.)

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Ex-Child Prodigies and Broken Promises: The Millennial Meta-Narrative of Coping with Failure

I think that this resonates with many of us because we were given such reason to hope for the future when we were younger and it didn’t pan out. We were born in the “End of History,” when western liberal democracy had triumphed over the Soviet Union, and the future was supposed to just be an asymptotically perfecting version of the present with no huge revisions.

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No More 5AMs: On Trash Television, Suits, Disco Demolition, and Cryptids

This is the last 5AM I have for the foreseeable future – I'm not coming back next semester, as Edgar and I are moving. While I don't like waking up early, I think being up early is quite nice: in the dawn light, during what John Steinbeck called “The hour of the pearl” in Cannery Row, there's a pleasant, unfinished quality to the world. Almost like a level in a video game that isn't done rendering: a sense that anything can slide into existence, remade and renewed. Of course, the effects on my health are more than I like. Falling asleep at 9PM, and becoming incoherent for a time before then, has taken its toll. I already have enough bad habits, I don't need this on top of it.

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A Wind Out of Nowhere: The Utopian Impulse

That’s a bit of a left turn, there at the end, but it’s on my mind a lot lately. Give a well-educated person not one but two jobs where their major duty is reading signs to people and you’re bound to get weird.

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Cameron's Book Reviews: Spring 2019

Alex is hard at work on the next episode — as Episode 8 is to Edgar, so Episode 9 is to me, so I’m very excited for it. Of course, we’re admittedly a bit behind: it’s inevitable. Alex works tech support, I’m an Adjunct, Charlie has a job at a museum. We’re not always able to put the time towards our creative endeavors that we would like.

One thing, however, that we can manage, is to read: we’re all avid readers, and we try to stay abreast of what’s going on with the written word. Here are some highlights from what I’ve read this Spring.

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"Do You Consider Yourself Anti-Capitalist?": On Making Political Art

My parents are renovating the house I grew up in, and their kitchen has been unusable for some time. As Edgar can attest, one of my primary means of showing affection is making food for people: for me, nothing shows care quite so much as sharing a home-made meal, so I brought them dinner (vegetarian chili, with a small container of browned beef alongside it, in case they didn’t want to have it vegetarian.)

While there, I spoke to my mother about the ongoing loneliness epidemic that has been on my mind lately: I’m an adjunct instructor, and I’ve recently gotten a crop of so-called “Generation Z” students. These young people are (according to experts,) the most isolated generation in recorded history, and who have the most precarious mental health situation of any living generation, succumbing in record numbers to anxiety and depression. I am I feel, not improperly, worried about them.

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How Creativity Works: Bisociation and Dreaming Playlists

This is going to be quick and dirty, but it’s a repeatable method. At this point, where the barrier of entry for making a podcast, comic, or similar is so low, you need every edge you can get, and a lot of people think that you can skimp on writing, or that any artist or musician or whatever can do it (you can’t do that any more than the writer can make the music or draw the art.) Like I said, you need every edge. You have to use Bisociation.

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The Stranger: Vanishing Hitchhikers and Other Possibilities

The Stranger, the ghostly figure who picks up Seeger and delivers him back to Malpais in episode seven, is an echo or a remix of several figures throughout literary and holy texts. He is, possibly, the most folkloric figure within Perdition's Teeth: more rooted in the American -- and, admittedly, some older -- legends than many of the other characters.

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