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System of Systems

1
System of Systems

Adam Lehrer and Ben Pseudonym

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"You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third Worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petrodollars, electro- dollars, multi-dollars, Reichsmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the ...
 
Double Vision explores moments of synchronicity between closely released literature and film pairings. Hosted by Timothy Wilcox, Ph.D., and featuring frequent guests, each week we will explore two visions – one from each genre – and discuss moments of multiple discovery and creative distinction. Intro and outro music by York Morgan (https://yorkmorgan.bandcamp.com).
 
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Conservative Curious

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Conservative Curious

Jessica Dang and Anirudh Pai

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How do we find what is good and just? What does the intersection of tech and the counter-enlightenment look like? What does the future look like for a NEET? Conservative Curious explores these questions and more. In this show, Jessica Dang and Anirudh Pai discover the thinkers, seekers and creators in their intellectual sphere and delve into their guests’ thoughts on philosophy, politics, culture and the future.
 
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PREVIEW (Full Episode on Patreon): Electronic music producer, sound artist, and Diagonal Records head honcho Oscar Powell joins the show to discuss imminent fatherhood, his evolution from a burgeoning global DJ to a muted and surreal sound artist, his new album 'Piano Studies', working alongside the late Editions Mego head and experimental music go…
 
System of Systems, at long last, is back. First things first, Ben AKA the Perpetual Self Optimizer is no longer the producer/co-host, and we want to thank him for all the great work done on this program. Replacing him is none other than former guest Will Samson, who takes over production duties and second mic. Welcome him! In our first episode back…
 
In this episode, Adam is joined by Bimbo Ubermensch aka SANDRA and host of the Pleasure Helmet podcast Ilydivna aka Dana to talk about two recent pop culture spectacles equally flawed and fascinating. We are talking about Kanye West's 'DONDA' and the release parties that Kanye threw to celebrate its publication, as well as Leos Carax's new English …
 
Writer Will Samson hangs with Adam to discuss Public Enemy, Throbbing Gristle, industrial and rap music more broadly, and his recent article for Apocalypse Confidential. SOUNDTRACK Throbbing Gristle - Discipline (live) https://music.apple.com/us/album/discipline-reprise-live/1412909636?i=1412909785 Throbbing Gristle - Dead Souls Live https://music.…
 
Alex Bienstock is an artist from Brooklyn, a PARTY BOY, a domestically violent sociopath who hates women, a based swaggot, a tender hearted lover of women, a racist, a homophobe, a homo, a hypochondriac who cant get sick, das ubermensch, a jew, an anti semite, the first person to do art ever. THE STOCK! Bienstock is an IRL friend and his new book o…
 
Adam and Ben kick it old school. No guests, all killer, no filler. Topics of discussion include the removal of Ben's wisdom teeth, Benjamin Bratton's Covid totalitarianism advocacy, the rise of a new medical authoritarianism, and the passing of the great musicians Joey Jordison (Slipknot drummer) drummer and Peter Rehberg (electronic music producer…
 
"Foucault in Warsaw," just out in English translation from Open Letter Books, is a fascinating investigation of the time Michel Foucault spent as a cultural attaché in Warsaw in the late 1950s. The book is at once an intellectual biography of the philosopher during the pivotal year when he wrote much of his first major work, "History of Madness," a…
 
In this exclusive interview, Adam talks to California-based artist Marc Horowitz (husband to previous guest Petra Cortright, a kind of full circle) to talk about his career and his life. Marc grew up "poor as fuck" in Middle America before moving to California to get a degree in business. One thing leading to the next, Marc eventually transitioned …
 
Friend of the show and co-host of the Rare Candy podcast Glen Rockney joins the boys to discuss the career of who we think is the best American filmmaker to emerge in the 2010s, S. Craig Zahler. Discussing all three of his films — Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99, and Dragged Across Concrete — the trio pinpoints the artistically interesting fo…
 
Writer Daniel Oppenheimer joins me to discuss his new book on the legendary art critic Dave Hickey, "Far From Respectable." We explore Hickey's case for the continued vitality of beauty as a criterion for thinking about art and culture, his defense of controversial artist Robert Mapplethorpe and simultaneous critique of Mapplethorpe's other defende…
 
The boys are joined by friend, artist, writer and co-host of the Break the Rules Podcast Gio Pennacchietti to discuss PAINTING. Painting, so much and so little to say. Its history, its dreary present. The tendency towards what Dean Kissick calls "zombie figuration" and what separates the brilliance of Matthew Barney from the average new media artis…
 
Phil Cunliffe, co-host of Aufhebunga Bunga and co-author of The End of the End of History, joins Outsider Theory to discuss the shifting co-ordinates of the post-Fukuyamaite world, the rise and fall of left populism, post-politics and anti-politics, the typology of the political outsider, the exemplary career of Silvio Berlusconi, and much more. Th…
 
Our old pal Geoff Shullenberger, writer and critic extraordinaire, is back on System of Systems to discuss his new piece for American Greatness – 'How We Forgot Foucault.' In it, Geoff describes the irony in Foucault's recent dip in citations and his abandonment as a "hero of the modern left," given that during the pandemic so much of Foucault's th…
 
Writer Sam Munson joins Outsider Theory to discuss the uncanny relevance of Dog Symphony, his prescient 2018 novel of plague and biopolitics, in which a nebulous entity called the Department of Social Praxis has assumed complete control over a dreamlike Buenos Aires. Other topics include the spectral place of Argentina in the North American imagina…
 
A long sought-after guest joins System of Systems to discuss a number of artistic, philosophical, and political topics. Adam and the writer, critic and philosopher DC Miller became internet-linked after Adam demonstrated public interest in DC's writing. The result was that Adam was fired from The Quietus, where he wrote a regular column on the nois…
 
Walter Pearce revolutionized casting in the New York fashion industry as the casting director for the early Hood by Air shows before co-founding the Midland Agency. Recently, however, Walter has gotten hella BASED! Off opiates, he felt serious discontent with the liberalism of the fashion industry. He has now been posting memes, throwing bombs, quo…
 
Illustrator and designer Sterling Bartlett joins Outsider Theory to discuss his comic book "How Did We Get Here?" We explore why recycling is the master metaphor for our cultural predicament, the rise of post-hipster aesthetic of aneasthetized minimalism, why Jordan Peterson and Marie Kondo are two sides of the same coin, and more. Buy "How Did We …
 
Emmet Penney, writer and co-host of ex.haust podcast, joins Outsider Theory to discuss Fredric Jameson's canonical essay "Postmodernism, or the Culltural Logic of Late Capitalism" and its continued relevance, as well as cultural fragmentation, nostalgia, the return of affect, LA architecture, and other themes. More info on my June 10/17 seminar on …
 
Oliver Traldi (@olivertraldi) joins Outsider Theory to answer an important question: is he now or has he ever been a member of the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW)? We discuss the latter formation's place within the online culture war dynamics of the past decade, its relation to the more recent controversies around Substack, what its members got right a…
 
After a host of media hacks are deployed to fear monger the specter of the post-left, Angie Speaks of the Low Society podcast joins the boys to discuss the histrionics of the pseudo-dissidents, lies, smears, cruelty, the kayfabe, and internet censorious fervor. The temporal loop continues spinning. There is also discussion on religion, spirituality…
 
Tom Syverson (@syvology on Twitter), author of the new book Reality Squared, makes the case for why reality TV is the essential cultural form for grasping our bewildering contemporary panorama. More broadly, we discuss the problem of how to undertake a materialist analysis of culture in the face of an increasingly dematerialized and abstract econom…
 
Two of our favorite of gal pals, the beautiful Jana Surkova (of the Hate Fiction podcast) and the lovely Zach Langley Chi Chi (of the I'm so Popular podcast) join System of Systems to discuss the flattening of sexuality in cinema and, by extension, the collapse of eroticism in our society. The crew discusses Tumblr aesthetics (Adam comes out of the…
 
Fiction writer and cultural critic Alex Perez joins Outsider Theory to discuss a mutual favorite writer, Roberto Bolaño, and in particular his short story "Labyrinth." We also cover the contemporary literary prestige economy, the professionalization of literature, the propagandification of culture in the Trump era, and the prospects for literary ou…
 
The boys are joined by Zac Davis, a musician, thinker and writer who is perhaps best known for the mid-'00s noise rock/psychedelic no wave band Lamsbread, but has also done solo guitar noise and various strains of electronic music. Zac has also been writing some killer stuff and publishing it on Substack, which is linked to below. Fun fact: Zac and…
 
Documentary filmmaker Alex Lee Moyer joins Outsider Theory to discuss her 2020 film TFW No GF and its reception during the year after its release, as well as the film she edited prior to that, The New Radical. We also discuss the broader project of documenting countercultures, the ambivalent role of technology in channeling and enabling the control…
 
Our anon homie Gaye Step Dad comes on the show finally! We talk about the tendency that Step Dad calls "anarchoid neoliberalism," the deliberate incoherence of prison abolitionists, Zero Books publisher Doug Lain's terrible take down video of the Marxist anti-left critique (Aimee, Benedict Cryptofash and otherwise), the new issue of E-flux which is…
 
Lewis Parker is a writer, editor, and the publisher of Morbid Books. Based in the UK, Morbid Books was founded upon the principles of the Surrealist Internationale and applies those principles to the schizoid landscape of our contemporary digital capitalism. They've published writing by poet Jeremy Reed, transgressive writer Supervert, philosopher …
 
The writer Michael Sacasas joins Outsider Theory to discuss what the tech critics pre-Internet generations – especially Jacques Ellul, Marshall McLuhan, Ivan Illich, and Neil Postman – have to say to us today as well as what contemporary tech criticism tends to miss, and how he understands his own critical and philosophical project. We also explore…
 
Artist Petra Cortright joins Adam to discuss discontent with the contemporary art world and her journey from a "girl boss" to a "based and red-pilled girl boss." She emphasizes her romantic notion of an art divorced of politics and social issues, and chronicles her early work with web-cam based self-portraiture and her recent landscape paintings ma…
 
Justin Murphy joins Outsider Theory to discuss leaving academia, his book Based Deleuze, why political correctness is only ones symptom of the real ailments afflicting the contemporary university, what conservatives get wrong about critical theory, and the current prospects of independent intellectual life, especially on the internet. Justin's proj…
 
Released less than one month apart at the start of 1985 are two satires of contemporary bureaucratic and consumer life, one an American novel and the other a British film. Don DeLillo's White Noise and Terry Gilliam's Brazil each stand up as profound visions of their late 20th century moment. With my guest Noah (@trycypress), we bring these two tog…
 
Historian and writer Blake Smith joins Outsider Theory to discuss the teaching theory and the formation of elites; the surprising affinities between Strauss and Foucault; the parallel grooming practices of Straussians and Derrideans; the perverse economy of enjoyment in the Trump era; Obama’s failed use of theory as seduction prop; and why Foucault…
 
Jesse Walker, author of the excellent United States of Paranoia (2013) and books editor at Reason, joins Outsider Theory to revisit his book's arguments in light of Trump era politics. We discuss the Capitol riot and why it reveals not a unified front but a highly fractured right-wing fringe, and the continuities between liberal establishment paran…
 
The boys are joined by Zac Davis, a musician, thinker and writer who is perhaps best known for the mid-'00s noise rock/psychedelic no wave band Lamsbread, but has also done solo guitar noise and various strains of electronic music. Zac has also been writing some killer stuff and publishing it on Substack, which is linked to below. Fun fact: Zac and…
 
In 2014, Alex Garland's film Ex Machina imagines a contest between two humans, structured narratively around an artificially intelligent humanoid robot. At the same time, Roger Scruton explores the concept of the sacred in The Soul of the World, addressing the ways in which we address ourselves to the face of the other and the face of the world, fi…
 
Biz Sherbert, a theorist and writer focused on online fashion and Gen Z subcultures, joins Outsider Theory to discuss the current landscape of digital fashion, the shifting nature of subcultures, and the persistence of hauntological nostalgia of contemporary culture. We consider the acceleration of the trend cycle in online spaces and how it dramat…
 
The 1969 film Easy Rider and the late poetry of Yvor Winters offer a striking double vision of California and its place in both the American landscape and culture. The film stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as two motorcyclists struggling to take it easy in a hostile America, traveling east from California. Earlier, Winters traveled west to Calif…
 
Chris Gabriel, creator of the MemeAnalysis Youtube channel, joins Outsider Theory to discuss why memes are now the royal road to the collective unconscious. We also discuss how the internet traps Dionysian energies in an Apollinian dreamworld; why Burroughs's word virus is a better model than Dawkinsian memetics for understanding the meme form; wha…
 
To get us out of the depressing discourse loop of contemporary politics, we brought on the Scottish writer, academic, and editor of the exciting experimental lit publisher Hyperidean Press, Udith Dematagoda. We discuss Udith's recent novel, 'Horizontal Rain,' literary nihilism, and the rich history of reactionary ideology throughout early modernism…
 
Joined by guest poet Steff (@nameandnoun), we go back in time to explore intimacy, womanhood, family, and more in the year 2000. As seen prominently in Darren Aronofsky's film Requiem for a Dream, despair, addiction, and desperation tears through multiple lives. Meanwhile, Kim Addonizio explores these issues in her own way in her poetry collection …
 
Adam Lehrer is a critic and artist, the co-host of System of Systems podcast. His new substack is Safety Propaganda. He joins Outsider Theory to discuss how we got Marxpilled, how Marx got mainstreamed among the professional class in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and why the "ruthless criticism of all that exists" especially means criticis…
 
In 1966, we find two distinct visions which become foundational for cyberpunk a decade and a half later. In Robert Stone's novel A Hall of Mirrors, a man gets taken on as a radio host, forming conspiratorial patterns in the news to guide public opinion. Then as predecessor to the sort of console cowboys who would later roam cyberspace, The Good, th…
 
Egg God joins the show to talk about the state of contemporary poetry and the culture around it, AOC's emotional warfare and offensive pattern of lying, and his recent Twink Revolution essay 'What Gregg Araki Was Trying to Say,' which leads to a discussion on commercial art at the end of history, and the liquidation of modernism and the avant-garde…
 
Outsider art historian and hypnotist collector Mónica Belevan joins Outsider Theory to discuss her various attempts to track the structures of feeling of the present. We explore the aesthetics and sensibilities of the Baroque and their relevance for grasping the topoi of the Covid era – in particular, the image of the labyinth, the theme of the mad…
 
In recent years, memes have risen to prominence as a medium for witty, irreverent, surreal engagement with the canon of High Theory. At the speed of the internet, memes now circulate the ideas of thinkers from Deleuze to Dugin, from Land to DeLanda, in humorous and fragmentary forms, instantiating in their mode of dissemination the sorts of positiv…
 
Marxist writer and member of the Platypus Affiliated Society Efraim Carlebach joins the show to discuss two essays of his. In one essay, 'Returning to Marxism in the Age of Trump,' Efraim explored the left's defeatist tendencies through the Trump presidency, and 'Forgetting Mark Fisher' is a critique of Mark Fisher's claim to Marxism as well as Fis…
 
The Hungarian countess Erzsébet Báthory (1560-1610), allegedly one of the most prolific mass murderers ever, occupies the border zone between history and legend. She has become a part of the vampire mythology associated with Southeast Europe as well as a subject of fascination for avant-garde writers and artists and a frequent pop culture reference…
 
Two influential, distinct visions of romance and our social structures at the end of the 20th century, Michel Houellebecq’s Les Particules élémentaires and the romantic comedy She’s All That come out half a year and an ocean apart. In one, two isolated half-brothers struggle to find love and physical affection, while in the teen movie, the social o…
 
The boys finally get a sit down with the left's least favorite Marxist and arguably the greatest poster in the history of political twitter, What's Left co-host Aimee Terese. The conversation revolves around the strict discourse policing on the left and its reactionary character, Aimee's experience trying to help the Sanders campaign only to watch …
 
The "contrarian" is an outsider on the edge of the inside: attached to a particular group but defiant of its pieties and orthodoxies. Contrarians often seem to be one of the most despised figures in online spaces – yet strategic contrarianism can also be a career-building strategy. Hence, accused contrarians are often accused of "grifting" and simi…
 
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