The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman by Angela Carter, pt. 1

In “The Realm Where Moral Judgement is Suspended” Milan Kundera writes that “If I were asked the most common cause of misunderstanding between my readers and me, I would not hesitate: humor.” There are books that make us laugh and books that make us laugh at ourselves, and I prefer the ones that do both. In The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman Angela Carter carries a dark laughter as the current flowing beneath the wild seas of her imagination and machinations. To actually read we must suspend moral judgement, we must suspend our notion of reality, and open ourselves to the possible. read more

Buffo the Clown by Angela Carter

Angela Carter is incredible and the only reason you’ve never heard if her is cuz I hadn’t introduced Rydra to her yet. YOU’RE WELCOME. She’ll be back.

Carter was a prolific writer up until hear death in the 90s from smoking too many cigarettes. She left behind radio dramas, plays, short stories, non-fiction (if anyone has a copy of The Saedian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography, get at me) and some profound novels, tackling themes of civilization, truth/morality, and reality itself. read more

FRR Books Podcast: On The Advantage And Disadvantage Of History For Life by Friedrich Nietzsche

What is the point of studying history? The greatest argument I have heard is that if we know history we can change the future. Nietzsche makes this argument, but this ignores the fact that history is often a weight and a burden. Despite what most liberals believe, knowledge is not always 100% positive. Sloterdijk said that “Those who first uttered the phrase that knowledge is power didn’t mean only to make that equation, but to also intervene in the game of power.” This is the positive of knowing history, power! But, knowledge can also be a burden. Knowledge can function as a chain which limits us. What is heavier than history? It weighs not only on our minds, but our bodies. History is a given. We are shackled to the past by the libidinal economy of shared history and the history that lives in our bodies. I am against revolution because in my opinion no revolution has ever led to a society or situation which I find worth affirming, but should this limit me completely from any interest in revolution? I think so, but I am open to the idea that I am wrong. Can we view history from something other than a tautological mindset? Can we reject the gift of the given? What if we reject history, or change it?  What would that look like? What does it look like to make a history for ourselves? Can I view history from one of the many options Kundera provides for us: read more

Boundlessness

On Playing Out the Game Without a Reason

“Nevertheless human life was thus image-graced and image-cursed; it could comprehend itself only through images, the images were not to be banished, they had been with us since the herd-beginning, they were anterior to and mightier than our thinking, they were timeless, containing past and future, they were a twofold dream-memory and they were more powerful than we: an image to himself was he who lay there, and steering toward the most real reality, borne on invisible waves, dipping into them, the image of the ship was his own image emerging from darkness, heading toward darkness sinking into darkness, he himself was the boundless ship that at the same time was boundlessness; and he himself was the flight that was aiming toward this boundlessness…” read more

On Desire and Consciousness: FRR Books Podcast the Stirner Series Episode IX

Here we are again, back on the boat discussing Stirner’s ideas. On my best days I view this project as an attempt to break from the ideological & eschatological thinking that hangs like a pall over anarchists and humans alike. It is difficult to discuss Stirner because most people haven’t read him and also because many believe that they know what is contained in this book from whatever they have read or heard other people say. We are not attempting to do the work for you, but rather to provide a companion with which to interact while reading Wolfi’s rewriting of Stirner’s book. As someone who reads all the time, it is frustrating to have few people to discuss the books with. It is frustrating because I believe reading to both an anti-social(while doing it) and social(it changes me and then I interact differently when socializing) activity. When I read a book that makes me question myself, my idea, my ideals, and what I hold closest, I am compelled to share this new version of my self with friends, fuck it, with strangers too. So here sits our version of sharing, our hope that in talking with each other we can better understand ours elves and how to relate to each other and further complicate our selves and relations to revel in pretending we can see and understand the chaos for just a little bit. read more

The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman, pt. 2

“In these regions, you may observe Man in his constitutionally vicious, instinctively evil and studiously ferocious form – in a word, in the closest possible harmony with the natural world.” — The King

Angela Carter’s Count is back, but not for long. In this chapter, his tempestuous will faces difficult challenges – slavery imposed by the law, chaotic nature, and finally, his mirrored self (and only one of those even has a chance of bringing about his demise).

The morality of this novel suggests that a will of pure negation only has one possible end. Negation leads its beholder to a sort of numbness, a distancing, cutting oneself off from the world surrounding you, seeing it only as a trick to be manipulated. How could you find pleasure engaging with anything weaker than yourself, after all? And if all of reality bends to your will – what could possibly bring you pain?

The Count manifests his own end in the form of himself. He creates and meets the King, a being of unlimited power, who lived his life similarly to the Count, another expert in cruelty. The women of his army devour their first-born children in order to pass “far beyond all human feeling”; their clitorises are “brutally excised” so they “are entirely cold and respond only to cruelty and abuse”. All, of course, in accordance with nature and harmony, which cares nothing for those without strong will.

What happens next is inevitable. Negation, ultimately, must turn in upon oneself in order to feel.

Words, audio, editing and production by September