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Episode Nineteen – Desert III

The Brilliant Podcast
The Brilliant
Episode Nineteen - Desert III

In Episode 19, recorded January 15th, we have a wide-ranging, rather bleakly-toned conversation that begins with a brief examination of how the Millennial Generation seems dramatically depleted of life (domesticated?) and what that may mean for the prospects of an anarchist future – at least they may not breed as much. A! and B then attempt to hash out a past disagreement that was left unresolved through a duel of monologues – it seems like we both win. After briefly and icily addressing some uninteresting critical responses to this podcast, we turn to our final, oblique discussion of the essay “Green Nihilism or Cosmic Pessimism”, a response to “Desert”, addressing the assertion therein that the milieu ought to be abandoned.

02:15: Table of contents, given unreliably; the bleached souls of the Millennials described amidst the baying of hellhounds

11:15: Millennials engage in the true anti-civ praxis of phasing out the human species by consistently not fucking; Bellamy rides the despair train

16:25: Revisiting the ideology conversation from Dunbar’s Number; Aragorn! can be heard quietly snickering while Bellamy talks; a burst of hostility followed by unexpected, suspicious agreement; Bellamy filibusters about being non-ideological

23:00: Aragorn filibusters about transcending fervently non-ideological orientations with the elusive wisdom of age; Bellamy’s residual scientism; the importance of ideology today vs. functionalist/cybernetic domination

33:00: A!’s “We can’t get there from here” – the limitations of radical imagination; street protesting in Oakland

37:40: Celebrating an abundance of media, lamenting an abundance of uncreative critique; anarchist theory perceived as popularity contest; future of the podcast

43:20: Desert, part III: A! responds to Tiqqun/de Acosta/others’ critiques of the Milieu; “normal monkey behavior”; gender dynamics in the anarchist space across time; conflating anarchism with broader social problems, lack of mentor relationships, and the dynamics of milieux in general; anarchism as existential salve; Aragorn! is defending the milieu!!




  1. kermit kermit

    This isn’t any more substantive than a fuck you screed really, but I listen every week and really fucking appreciate the podcast. It gives me a taste of some of the kinds of conversations I was having in the bay before I left and haven’t been able to replicate where I am now.

  2. mole mole

    Like kermit, I appreciate the pod. Thanks.
    I like JZ’s too. He’s like an old radical grandpa reminding me that there are people out there doing shit that I’m too much of a pussy to do.
    I love FRR. Rydra is my guru of self-righteous indignation. I’m sorry Bellamy and Rydra broke up. Squee is cool but it isn’t the same. An now it seems to have gone “poof” – into the air.

    Me: SoCal born and raised, behind the Orange Curtain, as they say. About Aragorn’s age-ish. So for me, being a loud Democrat was a radical move. That wore off by ’98 and I had adopted sort of a Fuck Authority attitude. But in a long line of contradictions that is me, I had already made some rather conservative life decisions; married, became a high school social studies teacher, bought a house. Was attracted to AnarchISM but hadn’t done the reading. Cheered with joy the kids in Seattle. Read more about ELF, tree sitters, and started to read Goldman and such. The towers fell and I was self-identifying as an AnarchIST. But I still made a mortgage payment, paid into my 403B, and handed out “grades” teach bourgeois history to bourgeois kids in a bourgeois town. But my classroom had started to develop a sort of anti-authoritarian tone. The full-on domesticated millennials were my brood and they hate thinking for themselves and holding out that option and empowering them to make their own choices was the most surreptitious way I could bring anarchy into that world. I ask questions they have never heard asked, posed answers they dare not entertain, and generally watched them learn to hate me, then love me, then hate me again as they see the consequences of thinking. And I said, “Good! This has never been about me. Stop thinking about me!” I still do it today because I am married to a socialist come artist, stuck in the entrepreneurial paradigm that is this modern world, ideology/critical analysis can’t conquer love. So I go to school everyday, paying into the retirement system, “praying” that time will unfold much faster. I tried multiple times to enter the milieu. It never wanted me. The “high school” atmosphere was fearse and I was always a little old, a little too conservative (looking), and maybe a little put off by the “I’m more radical that thee” attitude I felt. Maybe my thoughts on gender and sexuality are a little reactionary. I can except that. Maybe that’s why I loved the AJODA piece, “Against Identity Politics” so much. I read more, I listened more, and I bailed. The Rev ain’t gonna happen. Learn to grow potatoes. Try not to hate your friends, the ones that are true but think your radical ideas are fucked up and CRAZY (yeah, I said IT!) We raise chickens, sell the eggs, and try to disengage from “The Suffocating Void” as much as possible.
    I’m waiting for the fire.

  3. Korvin Korvin

    Well, for a podcast with Desert in the title, very little about Desert was said.

    A pedantic point: my understanding is a generation is about 20 years, not 10. So boomers are folks born ’45 – ’65 . The general idea of boomers was they were born to soldiers back from WWII. But a lot of us were born to parents too young to have fought in the war. I mention this because I think there is more to generations than solely the year one is born in.
    I consider myself a boomer even though I was born in 63 because all my siblings are older than I. It is arguable someone else born in 63 is a gen xer if they are the oldest child and their parents were in their 20s, rather than like me with parents in their 30s .

    Mostly a long way to say this whole generation thing is a bit slippery.

    On the question of the milieu, I think perhaps too much is expected of anarchism. Just being an anarchist in no way guarantees being an adult, and why is that even expected?

    I used to think anarchy was the overarching frame in my life. Over the past few years this has shifted to where now some other orientation, if that is the word I want, is what I look for in trying to make sense of the world. As of yet I don’t have a name for this other orientation. But I think I’m moving that way because if I listened to only anarchists I would die of boredom.

    Anyway, these 3 podcasts on Desert have been thought provoking.

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