Interview with critic and psychoanalyst Mikita Brottman about the terrors of reading

Mark Dery talks with Mikita Brottman, author of The Solitary Vice: Against Reading:

I live in an old hotel, and I’ve recently been researching old newspaper items about the suicides that happened here, and the notes people left. However brief, I find them infinitely suggestive. They’re little vignettes of private tragedy, windows onto the changing century. They contain snippets of peripheral history—the introduction of automobiles, the development of telegraph and telephones, the advent of Great Depression, the injustice of segregation, and the changing nature of the hotel trade. There are also insinuations about social class, alienated parents, sons with too much money, businessmen suffering from existential ennui. There’s a sense of nostalgia in these little case studies as well—of a Baltimore that was both genteel and bohemian, whose kings were society men, tobacco lords and bootleg emperors. Another interesting feature of these vignettes is their reliable supporting cast, consisting of desk clerks, bellboys, maids, doctors and coroners. I find the suicide notes especially touching, with their polite, self-deprecating apologies, often expressing regret to the hotel staff for the necessary cleanup job.

Full Story: Boing Boing: Solitary Vices: Mikita Brottman on the Books in Her Life

Millenials Actually Read More Books Than People Over 30

Some surprising research from Pew:

Millennials are quite similar to their elders when it comes to the amount of book reading they do, but young adults are more likely to have read a book in the past 12 months. Some 43% report reading a book—in any format—on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults. Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79% of those age 30 and older. Young adults have caught up to those in their thirties and forties in e-reading, with 37% of adults ages 18-29 reporting that they have read an e-book in the past year.

Full Story: Pew Research: Younger Americans and Public Libraries

Plus: “The number of independent bookstores in the US rose by more than 20% between 2009 and 2014, according to the American Booksellers Association,” Quartz reports.

(both links via NextDraft)


Debunking The Millennials’ Work Ethic “Problem”

New Survey “Proves” There’s a Generation Gap Between Workers

Why “digital natives” don’t exist

The Revolt of the Comic Books

revolt of the comic books

Excellent article on the attempts of superhero comics to deal to critique American politics, and how they fail:

The Superhero Registration Act is a straightforward analogue of the USA PATRIOT Act; the rhetoric of its opponents could have been cribbed from an ACLU brief. But under scrutiny, their civil libertarian arguments turn out to hold very little water in the fictional context. The “liberty” the act infringes is the right of well-meaning masked vigilantes, many wielding incredible destructive power, to operate unaccountably, outside the law — a right no sane society recognizes. In one uneasy scene, an anti-registration hero points out that the law would subject heroes to lawsuits filed by those they apprehend. In another, registered hero Wonder Man is forced to wait several whole minutes for approval before barging into a warehouse full of armed spies from Atlantis. Protests about the law’s threat to privacy ring a bit hollow coming from heroes accustomed to breaking into buildings, reading minds, or peering through walls without bothering to obtain search warrants. Captain America bristles at the thought of “Washington … telling us who the supervillains are,” but his insistence that heroes must be “above” politics amounts to the claim that messy democratic deliberation can only hamper the good guys’ efforts to protect America. The putative dissident suddenly sounds suspiciously like Director of National Intelligence Mitch McConnell defending warrantless spying.

I haven’t read Ellis’s Black Summer yet (I have issue 0, just need to find the time), but I suspect it falls into the same trap: Horus’s murder of the president is little different from the US’s invasion of Iraq.

Full Story: American Prospect).

(via American Samizdat).

Moorish Science Reading Room

Moorish Science Reading Room

Texts by Noble Drew Ali, Hakim Bey, and other Black or anarchist writings.

Moorish Science Reading Room.

(Thanks Trevor!)

On Concentration and the Poverty of Written Instruction

The Laboratorian:

A great deal of blather about the practices of Raja Yoga exist, and a great way to fuck someone up at worst, or impede their progress at best, is to provide them a gate into a dangerous territory then give them a sloppy map. Much of it, sadly, can be traced back to Crowley’s histrionic rubies-in-the-shit approach to writing. Look at Robert Anton Wilson’s Prometheus Rising, and the confusion leaps out at anyone with experience. Wilson claims that counting the breath, a technique to aid concentration in novices, is a watered-down form of pranayama, which according to him is the real means to achieve these lofty states. He asserts that mantra, a form of concentration, is a device used for achieving pratyahara. While I respect some of Wilson’s acid-drenched project, and realize that he often claimed to have both provided disinformation and hidden messages in his texts to spurn further research (like any Joyce scholar would), I also believe that at times he simply hid his sloppiness (New Falcon was his publisher, for christ’s sake) behind these conceits. I also disagree intensely with publishing a mass-market book with disinformation-it is one thing to send a student on fool’s errands, it is another to knowingly deceive thousands with whom one has no relationship. To provide my personal example, after reading Prometheus Rising I began practicing pranayama with a mantra for ninety minutes a day, getting up at four thirty in the morning to get in the time, then hoping in the shower and going to work. I had no clue that focusing on a mantra would induce all manner of altered states, because I always assumed it was, per Wilson, the pranayama that did that. Likewise, reading a sloppy account of the actual territory of the altered states like the one Crowley offers in Book 4 helps little. The fact that a real madman, Austin Osman Spare, provides clearer instruction in doing this type of thing with his coded passages on the Death Posture-which is really just advice in what Daniel Ingram outlines as ‘Buddhist Magick 101’-should say something about just how clear the advice that the Post-Theosophist crew offer is.

Full Story: From the Lab.

Post-esoZone event: Mystic Mountain Magick Meadow Retreat

Sadly I won’t be able to attend:

Sat thru Wed, August 18-22, 2K7, the week after esoZone in Portland, you should come to the Mystic Mountain Magick Meadow Retreat. After all of the workshops and events in esoZone, wouldn’t you like to spend more Quality time with all of these people you met and networked with in PDX? Wouldn’t you like to continue to meet even more like-minded people along the I-5 corridor? Aren’t you tired of always hearing a bunch of Talk about networking with other Magi, but very little Action? Haven’t you been meaning to get away for at least a few days with like-minded folk in the Mountains, working Magick?

Here’s the simple solution:

As I mentioned a few days ago, I am inviting other Experienced Magi to join me in my yearly Retreat in a location that is absolutely perfect for what will eventually host a yearly gathering of up to several hundred Magickal Practitioners. Not everyone will be able to stay all the way through Wed, but coming for a few days is better than not coming at all! We will be setting up a Temporary Autonomous Zone on Sat, with Closing ceremonies done on Wed.

There have been a few questions as far as what this event will be about, what to bring and expect, etc.:

The T.A.Z. will basically be a “Free Play Zone”.

It will be very Magickally Active–I do some of my most intensive Magick during my Retreats.

There will be plenty of opportunities for both Alone & Social Time.

One Intent I have for this year’s Gathering is to discuss all of these Networking projects that have been gathering Momentum, e.g. the I-5 Occulte’ Empyre, the Willamette Valley Magick Network, etc.

Some of the things that I like to do include Relaxing, Resting, Reflecting, Recuperating, ReCreating, ReJuvenating, Reading, Meditating, Trancing, Journeying, Magicking, Sharing, Teaching, Learning, Exploring, Hiking, Playing, Nothing, Slacking, Just Be-ing, etc…

The few Expectations I have for the Mystic Mountain Magick Meadow Retreat would include:

…no noisy machines, electronics, motors, music, etc. (although natural noises are encouraged!)
…encouraging Physical Safety
…self-reliance/bring what you will need–Sharing is encouraged, but not mandatory
…shedding Identities and truly Retreating for a time in the Mountains
…Respect others’ Space
…being a “Drama Free Zone”
…to Play Nice

To join us for the 2nd Annual Mystic Mountain Magick Meadow Retreat, please respond here or email me at

xi_o_teaz AT chaosmatrix DOT org

In a couple of weeks, we will be setting up a meeting place so that we can all drive to the Retreat together on Saturday afternoon (and then you may leave whenever you wish, should you need to leave early, etc).

Looking Forward!


“Know Thy Selves”

Metamagical Grafitti #1

Wes is brilliant. I haven’t read this whole article yet, but from what I’ve read this promises to be a great insight into his work:

It is my intention that these tracks represent the most available Philip K Nixon tracks, as they form the materials out of which I have hopefully constructed a weapon. This weapon works to destroy conditioning.

To understand why I believe this construct is important, I’m going to need to get into some depth. I’ve dug into my files and bookshelves and pulled together the sources listed at the end of this article to help me articulate what has been until now mostly a metalinguistic experience. Working with collage and cut-ups does something seriously uncouth to the analytical brain. Coming down from this neurolinguistic high required serious grounding, and reading through what others have said has proved to be an excellent form of psychic reintegration.

Wes Unruh: Metamagical Graffiti

Psychiatric treatment of ghost possession

I can’t remember who sent this along, it was a while ago and I just got around to reading it. Interesting comment at the end:

It’s not clear to me why the cure of possession by the use of psychoactive drugs would seem unreasonable if, in fact, the vulnerability to this state had been induced by some ingested substance. I believe that practitioners of Voodoo, as well as shamans of numerous cultures, are reported to use ingested substances to facilitate their possession by discarnate entities. Many pharmaceuticals have an antidote which produces the opposite effect, and the anti-schizophrenia drug administered could well have brought about this effect, closing the open portal in the central nervous system of the patient.

Full Story: Mind Hacks: Classic case: Psychiatric treatment of ghost possession

I’m taking a break from blogging

I’ve decided to take a break from blogging for a while. At least a week, maybe more. I’m trying to juggle a lot right now: work, blogging, excercise, writing, reading, magic, having a social life, not to mention those day to day things like cooking and cleaning. So something’s got to give. I’m also starting to feel that fabled “blogger fatigue.” I’ve been doing this for like 6 years now, so I don’t feel too bad about a break.

Also, I’m starting at least one new blog and all my existing blogs need some sort of work done to them: Klintron’s Brain needs to be upgraded to WP1.5, Technoccult’s comments are broken, Coffee and Caffeine’s posting funtion is broken, and all my blogs need to be re-designed. So all that technical and design work needs to be done, and after spending 40+ hours a week dinking around with computers, I just don’t feel like doing these tasks most of the time. So now’s a good time to just say “forget about it” for a little while before coming back to it all and getting serious about “going pro.”

Entertainment Through Pain: Industrial Records Remembered

Their catch phrase “Industrial music for industrial people” was dubbed by collaborator Monte Cazzaza. It is doubtful Cazzaza had any idea how widely used the term “industrial music” would be used. It is even more doubtful that he had any idea how it would be used. These days it seems industrial has been used to describe pretty much any band that uses any sort of electronics in their music. But in 1975 Industrial music was fucking bizzare, something completely new, and probably not what most consumers think of when they hear the word “industrial” these days.

Throbbing Gristle used primitive electronics coupled with a few traditional insturments to make soundscapes for what they considered to be urban life at the time. Even after the end of the label and the end of Throbbing Gristle, their music lives on the numerous re-releases and the current works of the former recording artists.

Further Reading

The Throbbing Gristle Pages simple yet extensive Throbbing Gristle resource

Entertainment Through Pain – Another Throbbing Gristle Page another excellent resource (from Brainwashed)

Official Clock DVA Web Site The one and only Clock DVA resource

Cabaret Voltaire Brainwashed’s excellent Cabaret Voltaire and Richard Kirk site.

RHK Page Large Richard H. Kirk web site.

Axis Monte Cazazza site quite a bit of info here

Monte Cazazza pretty small page

All Music Guide’s entry on Beatnik Beach has a listing for a Beatnik Beach release on Industrial Records.

All Music Guide’s entry on Leather Nun

All Music Guide’s entry on Thomas Leer

Related Artists

Invisible Record’s Psychic TV page Genesis P Orridge and Peter Christopherson started this band after Throbbing Gristle broke up.

Psychic TV discography very extensive

The Next New Way On the official Genesis P. Orridge site

Disinfo’s Genesis P. Orridge site an article and a huge collection of related links.]

Brainwashed’s Coil site Peter Christopherson (of Throbbing Gristle) and John Balance started this band after
leaving Pyschic TV

Chris and Cosey Christ Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti’s post Throbbing Gristle project

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