Tag Archives: trans issues

Hot Allostatic Vampire Castle

I’m gonna have to do a version of Exiting the Vampire’s Castle that doesn’t suck shit huh. One that isn’t just crypto-rightist grievance.

I’m not saying he describes the thing badly, I’m saying you shouldn’t have to be forced to sympathize with fucking Russel Brand in order to get that point

I’m probably not the right person to do this though because I haven’t experienced this specific kind of trauma. Like, when I read it, I see all the bad parts but I’m not sure that I would actually be able to construct a new version of this that’d be useful.

One thing I will say is that I see that there are two main conversations when he’s talking about the vampire’s castle, he combines them but they’re separate. On one hand there’s his basic incuriosity and bitterness at the world. On the other hand is the struggle session.

A bunch of Fisher’s argument is just like “I think X but other people said Y and I think they shouldn’t get mad at me”, that fucking sucks. That part of it is useless to me. The part that is useful is the aspect of it which is struggle session, which is apart from that.

The struggle session is a kind of violence that I think we only recognized when it got that name in China, but it probably isn’t new exactly, it’s just that that’s when it sort of got codified. And that *is* a leftist thing inasmuch as it is not a central power at work.

It’s about making you sort of reckon with the things you’re supposed to believe, a kind of weaponized accountability. That sort of confrontation is something that I think we don’t have a robust language or theory for, and Exiting the Vampire’s Castle is a stab at it. A bad stab but a stab.

Because if you just read through it… Fisher is just mad that people yelled at him on Twitter and he wants to accuse them of being non-leftist because of it. That’s it. There’s nothing else really going on. He describes struggle session because he went through it, not cause he has good thoughts.

I am eventually going to read Capitalist Realism but, as I’ve said before, I’m not really looking forward to it. Finding out it’s only 80 pages is both a relief and extremely typical. It’s a shame that it seems he never really ran himself against a big brain cause ah… woof.


Reprise: The article Exiting the Vampire’s Castle came up in the context of another piece, Hot Allostatic Load, which is about being accepted into trans/queer spaces and how that can simultaneously open one up to being disposable. Both describe the anxiety at the root of community: what happens when the community turns against you? Or, perhaps more accurately in reference to Hot Allostatic Load, what if it was against you from the start? This is an extremely valid concern for all communities. The issue that both articles share is that they are building specific grievances into that discussion. This is not to say that these grievances (I use “grievance” to make their position here distinct) are invalid, only that they are specific and, perhaps more to the point, personal. To use Castle as an example here, it is very clear throughout that piece that a primary preoccupation for the author is that they were criticized and they view that criticism as being unjust. Though that does touch on the issues with community, the author obviously can’t simply build on their irritation at being criticized in order to form solutions that actually deal with the problem of community rejection, but that’s what he does. The fact that he begins by saying “it’s ridiculous that people think you are minimizing race and gender just by mentioning class” and ends by saying “this is why class must always trump identities like race and gender” should make it very obvious that he’s not proposing any real solutions, he’s just venting his irritation. All of his solutions are like that. His analyses involve laying out why his opponents are ideologically wrong and his prescriptions are all “shut up”. Hot Allostatic Load is similar in many respects. It never analyzes why something should or should not be done — for example, certainly some people should be ostracized (or otherwise handled) if they are dangers to the community — it simply lays out things that happened to the author and says they are bad and should never happen.

The reason that this distinction is important is because both Vampire’s Castle and Allostatic Load locate the issues as specifically being within leftism, progressivism, trans identity, etc.: generally left-wing politics. This identification is a result of their specific grievances, not because leftism itself has a problem. These problems are problems of community in general. Looking at them as being a problem with “tolerance run wild” or people “weaponizing their politics” will always fail because it isn’t actually addressing what is going on. All communities, not only leftist ones, provide the opportunity for their members to utilize ideology as weapons against other members.

This is not to say that I think these grievances should not be aired. I think Allostatic Load has a good case to be aired: abuse happened, people’s lives were actually ruined, and that is a real issue beyond the political/rhetorical hairs I’m splitting here. I don’t think that Vampire’s Castle had a good case because I do not give a shit that people yelled at Mark Fisher online. Be fucking serious. The point is, again, to understand that these works are not primarily works of analysis, they are expressions of specific grievance, and they should be understood on those terms.