Welcome back to The Trenchant Edges, the email newsletter about weird ideas and the people who make them.
Today’s going to be very short because I’ve got a mass of work that needs done asap.
How are you doing? What are you reading?
I’ve had a whirlwind of social activity in person over the last few days which has been both wonderful and exhausting. My facebook ban is over today, but I’m going to hold off a bit posting there again because fuck letting their arbitrary rewards and punishments dictate my life.
But enough about me, what are you thinking about?
Hey there fellow lurkers and lurkermongers.
I'm doing alright. Fending off the big sads ok and getting engaged locally with historic restoration work and a little bit of manual labor before my priviledged existence must come to an end and I have to re-enter the job market.
Lately been reading Michael Brooks' Against the Web and Angela Nagel's Kill all Normies, alongside Richard Seymour's Unhitched, Garth Ennis' Preacher, and Clive Cussler's Devil's Gate. Kinda eclectic, but I gotta balance academia with pleasure. Leaving the ivory tower after my second degree reminded me that it's important to re-acclimatize to being a fucking human being again.
I first noticed the facebook page when I was trawling for good memes to keep me entertained when the pandemic first hit. Turns out I stuck around for the witty analysis and oftentimes downright bizarre topics that kept me interested. This newsletter thing is darn cool. I've been thinking about trying my hand at something similar since I read so damn much.
What am I thinking about lately? Well, I watched Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon the other day and really enjoyed it. There was this nice line that went like "Destroy the Image and you will break the enemy" and that got me thinking about how much organizations/institutions/systems rely upon a myriad of «images» to deflect and redirect criticism, and how it might be worthwhile understanding how these «images» are conceived, maintained, rebuilt, and how they might be destroyed for the precise purpose of ultimately breaking such organizations/institutions/systems. Example being the Federalist Society here in the US. Talked to some regular folks the other day and they thought the group had been around since the founding fathers. Nah - they were founded in 1982 with an express mission on behalf of capital. Every institution projects an edifice
of complex beliefs and rationalities in order to repackage and propagate its ideology and these institutions have their own outwards-facing facades. Sounds like word vomit on the surface but there could be something to it. Also kinda reminiscent of a trippy room full of mirrors from the film that Bruce Lee has to break so he can defeat the impossibly wealthy murdering psychopath.
Looking forward to more postings from the newsletter and seeing other folks' comments.
Today I'm not doing very well. It's hot and humid here. Today I've had mild panic attack. So yeah. But thank you for asking.
I was thinking much about what you have written, about McLuhan, social media & other stuff.
I limited my facebook use around year ago and still didn't fully recover.
When I was very active in some groups that became very toxic what I didn't realized, so now I'm afraid of online communities.
Few months later I realised how stupid my way of using Facebook is and limited it's use to one day a week, and evel less later. And I was on Facebook all day, every day for years.
I wanted to find something more "real" than facebook relationships. Tried reddit as substitute for Facebook, but didn't find much there, it's far less toxic than fb, but it's still addiction to scrolling. So I got rid of it too.
And now I'm free from social media, but what's the point? I don't know how to find people without it. They were here since I remember. And I'm afraid. And I don't see anything good out there.
This newsletter and pretentious discord are one of the only connections with other people I have. I know I'm not close to anyone here, but it's the only place where I can read about something that I'm really interested in.
Eh, I'm sorry for my depressed talk. I just don't know what to do with all of it. I know you're not my therapist, don'tknow my at all and shouldn't even try to solve any of this.
On a more positive note, "why you should read moby dick" is one of my favourite newsletters, it's like in my top 3. Like, I have read it a few times.So if you were thinking if you should do more things like that the answer is yes.