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Episode Four – Critique

The Brilliant Podcast
The Brilliant
Episode Four - Critique

The topic of this episode of The Brilliant is critique but really is a journey through Critical Theory from AJODA through contemporary French theory. The great thing about working without a script is that you often find yourself somewhere else than where you anticipated.

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Haters podcast @ 4:04
You are what you eat
Are movies important
What is entertainment?
The MSM is bad but that’s not enough of a hook for this
FRR @ 14:35
The relationship has changed
Bob @ 16:40
Published two books
Behavior vs writing
Shouting snitch as attack
Punching as attack
an essay is forthcoming
Critical thinking @ 24:30
Changing minds
Does it matter that I make no sense?
Are we in a moment of grand ideas
To Our Friends
Critique of Critique
Stories of immiseration
Is anything new under the anarchist sun?


email us
Aragorn! on Bob Black
Wolfi on Critical Thinking
To Our Friends




  1. Firehawk’s responses: Hi y’all.

    It’s your favorite haters, just hatin’ on some hate that’s been thrown our way. First things first; let us clarify what the goal of this “project” is. It’s a silly podcast that Firehawk and Ben do together to a.) have fun b.) provide a cathartic outlet for our rageful, aging anarchist selves that want to channel our anger at meaningless hollywood movies instead of hatin’ on individual fools and c.) better flesh out personal analyses of power and domination as we see them subtly portrayed in just one medium: dumb cinematic spectacles. That’s it! This is not exactly “pop culture critique” as some trolls on @news and the brilliant are framing it to be. We are not looking to change the face of culture or to contribute anything to the pop culture economy, other than to antagonistically say: we hate you, everything is shitty, and fuck off. We find ourselves unable to sit back and mindlessly enjoy the flashy entertainment that hollywood provides. We are never satisfied; and so we rage. There’s something so satisfying about expressing our rage at abstract hollywoodisms as opposed to tearing down individuals or intellectually defaming other anarchist podcasts.

    Second: damn. Bros be hatin’ on pop culture criticisms, ammiright? We have to admit, we also catch ourselves rollin’ our eyes at the jezebel news articles that can’t get enough of the taylor swift and nikki minaj feud. Or is it the nikki minaj and miley cyrus feud? Whatever. We’ll just pretend we don’t know what’s actually going on there (although, srsly miley listen to the minaj knowledge, she knows what she’s talking about). ANYWAYS! Although we prefer the brand of anarchism that involves tiring and endless radical organizing projects that are rooted in transforming material conditions (prisoner support/prison abolition work, anti-gentrification projects, organizing with people and communities experiencing police terror), we DO find it suspect when certain types of anarchists immediately write off so-called pop culture analyses. We absolutely find value in the analyses that outsider knowledge producers bring to the table, particularly when that knowledge is attempting to illustrate the ways that colonialism, heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and neoliberal moralism are taking shape in a cultural arena that produces, reproduces, and amplifies systems of domination. This automatic dismissal of pop-culture critique reeks of political elitism.

    This elitism and self-importance is particularly rancid and obvious when a well-known radio anarchist compares what The Haters are doing to his naive 19-year-old self who, soon after becoming radicalized, thought that consuming mainstream media and developing an analysis around it would make him better equipped to talk to normal, everyday people. We just want to be clear: we know how to talk to normal, everyday people and it typically doesn’t involve talking about pop culture or the media. We have never proclaimed we might dismantle systems of domination or the reproduction of white supremacy, etc. by doing the Haters. We do not hold much importance for what we are doing. Our justification for this project is mostly for the sake of fun and in an interesting border-line case of hypocrisy, our version of “fun” inevitably takes an antagonistic shape (blended with nihilistic humor) because we can’t seem to escape the near-totalizing structures of fuckery that we live in. We also are not your naive 19-year-old self. We are grumpy, rageful anarchists who do not reside in or exclusively associate with the anarchist milieux and therefore find comfort in calling each other on the phone and expressing our cynicism with the world. We break our necks doing organizing work and The Haters is a podcast that we do in our off time. Our critique is not going to change the world, but let us remind you that dropping Debord quotes and doing the “real” work of pontificating on political theories is equally irrelevant. The discussions that we’ve read and heard about our podcast reminds us of who in our broader political circles is drawing the boundary on “important” and “unimportant” analyses/projects and we just want to say: dudes, whatever, knock off that pretentious hierarchical valuation shit and go to a fucking noise demo or something. Our light-hearted podcast (with large doses of heavy-handed cynicism) is directed at a ridiculous spectacle; not at telling viewers what is worth their time and what is not. And that’s the way we like it!

    Ben’s responses: What is The Brilliant if not a creative project producing criticism? What is it about your cultural product that distances it from the exact critique you’re directing at our project? Are we less legit because the thing you talk about (the anarchist scene) is relevant or important to far fewer people than the things we talk about (hollywood movies)? Why don’t you recognize that what you’re doing is creative? Do you prefer to be boring? Doesn’t seem like it, seems like you’d prefer to be brilliant, right?

    Are you actually entertained by dancing robots and explosions? Cuz damn, I wouldn’t be an anarchist if I found satisfaction so easy to come by.

    I’d love to know more about how you turn off socially ingrained expectations while having passionate intercourse with a lover. Forgive me, but i suspect you are describing things you want to be true, rather than things that are actually true. I know that on the internet we can present as flawless heroes who never experience insecurity, shame, vanity or selfishness, but those of us in the real world do carry capitalist indoctrination, expectation and anxieties in our heads wherever we go, including the bedroom. I have found that acknowledging this and speaking honestly about it is a useful way of getting past it. Am I on the wrong track? Is ignorance bliss?

  2. notasdf notasdf

    Whoa an actually great critique of Appelista :3 messianic stuff. I have a pet peeve when people say weird when they mean undesirable or something else. But yeah wow great thinking around critical theory etc I find critical thought extremely desirable, but nothing i’ve gotten out of it is super clear and not complicated by lived experience etc. anyway thanks for the awesome show!

    The academy is kind of like a hot house…an isolating hot house…a inculcating hot house…if you rebel in the academy you make it more pernicious if it is left standing…it is a beacon that folks flock to escape more menial labor, but it’s still fucking work that fucks your head and you body and I’ve met a lot of comrades there, but damn…

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