Nov 3, 2022Liked by Ayesha Khan, Ph.D.

book recommendation :) I remember enjoying this one when I read it about 15 years ago...

Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture, by Annalee Newitz

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Dec 10, 2022·edited Dec 10, 2022

Hi! I have been really enjoying this podcast, and this one was a special treat!

I wanted to recommend a few things for whoever might be interested~

first: We're All Going To The World's Fair is probably my favorite kind-of-horror movies released in the past few years. It has a very intimate, personal vlog / youtube hole framing and touches on digital culture, parasocial relationships, the blurring between screenlife and reality, creepypastas and what I can only think of as "terminally online bedroom girl culture."

The takes on gore in this episode also brought to mind for me films that I have connected to, that use an excess of gore and exploitation elements. David Cronenberg's "Crimes of the Future" and "VideoDrome" especially come to mind. If seeing people cut open isn't your cup of tea, Yhara Zayd has a great video essay (with a censored cut) called "The Catharsis of Body Horror" that provides an overview of his and many other films' appeal and the value of gore itself.


This short article "Trans Narratives in Crimes of the Future" that touches on the film's (and body horror in general) appeal to a trans & queer audience, and how the manipulation of flesh and dwelling on the abject (even when in far less artful films than Cronenberg's) can be so meaningful, esp to trans/queer audiences. For instance, when I first watched Crimes it immediately reminded me of my favorite movie as a teen, REPO! the Genetic Opera. The movie is is a schlockey fusion of the operatic and cringe and was literally directed with the "Saw" franchise touch, but it holds a beloved place in many queer people's hearts, and to me it is still prescient in its commentary on capitalism and cosmetic surgery.


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Love you guys but super bummed to hear about 10 mins in that kink is for traumatized people or strictly a way to process trauma! That is just simply not the case. Queerness and kink have been pathologized and deemed mental illness previously and I'd like to see you all dedicate an episode to that.

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Hey Hunter, we never said that kink is SOLELY for people to process trauma and we've never made such a reductive, over-simplified claim. We'd hope that people don't make such assumptions given that everything we talk about is related to complexity and not binaries of good/bad, normal/ abnormal. Just like dancing or a spiritual or cultural practice isn't SOLELY a way for someone to process trauma- it can help with it and it is still rooted in collectivist cultures beyond oppression. We are complex and defined by a lot more than oppressive systems. We don't just embody intergenerational trauma but also intergenerational collectivism, healing, joy and cultural resilience. Also, we are all traumatized to varying degrees under capitalism/ colonialism (this is just the concept of intersectionality) so we wouldn't make statements based on any monolith like "traumatized people".

Queerness is a legacy of collectivist cultures and always has been. Gender and sexual fluidity was exceedingly common, especially in Black and Brown communities prior to colonialism and so naturally abolishing binaries or diverging from colonial norms isn't just a way to process trauma but a way to decolonize and reconnect with our roots. We've talked a lot about queerness in our own respective writings & work and plan on doing focused episodes on the topic.

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