(Pop) Cultural Marxism, Episode 1: Elves and Dragons

Introducing Episode 1 of the new Podcast for Social Research subseries (Pop) Cultural Marxism, in which Ajay and Isi (and special guests!) will be exploring the “fantastic form” of pop-cultural commodities—from film and television to toys and games to objects of every conceivable consumer variety. In the premier episode, they turn their attention to the genre of fantasy, and in particular to the recent prequels to The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Listen in as they discuss, among other things, Amazon aesthetics, “the liberal imagination,” beautiful failures, faux and real political realism, gif-able moments, Tolkien for neofascists, mimetic regression, billion-dollar budgets, and potential affinities between fantasy and socialist thought.

You can download the episode by right-clicking here and selecting “save as.” Or, look us up on iTunes.

(Pop) Cultural Marxism is a monthly series of the Podcast for Social Research. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of the podcast.

Pop-Cultural Marxism, Episode 1: Elves and Dragons

Notations

China Miéville interview on fantasy on revolution.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1939 lecture, “On Fairy-Stories.” 

From Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment: “Fantasy withers. The calamity is not that individuals have fallen behind society or its material production. Where the development of the machine has become that of the machinery of control, so that technical and social tendencies, always intertwined, converge in the total encompassing of human beings, those who have lagged behind represent not only untruth. Adaptation to the power of progress furthers the progress of power, constantly renewing the degenerations which prove successful progress, not failed progress, to be its own antithesis. The curse of irresistible progress is irresistible regression.”

Charles W. Mill’s posthumous essay, “The Wretched of Middle Earth: An Orkish Manifesto.”

On Tolkien, Georgia Meloni, and the Italian far-right.

Kirill Eskov’s The Last Ringbearer (1999), an alternative account of LOTR.

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