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March 2023

This is a very experimental project. I'd like to see if I can set up a coherent "diary" of my thoughts that don't make it into essays or anything like that right away.

Proceed to


Table of Contents


March 5 - AI, Derrida

March 6 - book sales

March 8 - transphobia

March 13 - animals, Bataille

March 16 - Sicario (2015)

March 5


Several years ago, some guy on the internet (who is also an academic) told me that I wasn't educated enough (read: smart enough) to understand The Animal That Therefore I Am by Jacques Derrida.

Not only am I understanding it now as I reread it, I'm taking coherent notes on it and writing essays using its analysis as well. (I'm thinking about an essay on the movie Prisoners (2013) right now.)

Fuck you, guy on the internet.

Recently I woke up from a dream where I was in a radical political meeting, and each of us were sharing our social justice concerns. I made the case that AI is an underrated social justice issue. For instance, depending on how AI is programmed, it can intentionally or unintentionally lead to unjust outcomes.

I woke up and immediately thought, "Why is it that in so much sci-fi media, these beings we create to serve us inevitably turn against us?" (I'm really not very knowledgeable about sci-fi, but my mind was on HAL or "I Have No Mouth and Cannot Scream.")

This trope and fear is so common that maybe it demonstrates some kind of anxiety that, despite our best efforts to train AI to be ethical and "harmless," or at least toward us, we want to ignore the idea that the beings who work "for us" are in some way exploited.

The AI (probably) doesn't have consciousness, but we project our fears about animals and other enslaved beings onto that.

If a being we create has the intention of being subordinate, it also has an innate motivation to rebel.

I would like to read more on Bataille eventually. Right now I am preoccupied with Derrida though. I feel a bit guilty for not focusing on Spinoza like my professor friend wishes I would.

Oh, and, once I'm more knowledgeable about Derrida, I'd like to return to how Sara Ahmed deploys his concepts in Queer Phenomenology. I was impressed when I read it years ago, but will I still feel the same after finishing more Derrida readings?

TOC March 6

March 6


I've been waiting to get Revolutionary Demonology by Gruppo di Nun (published by Urbanomic) for literally over a year now. I gave up and just decided to check back on some bookseller site in a few months. It turns out that Urbanomic had been selling IRL copies for a while already, and they are now out of stock. Fuck, I'm so fucking pissed.

March 5 March 8

March 8


I don't know how people manage to do research on trans people and transphobia. I just ventured into a reddit thread (/r/psychology) on trans people and it was just an opinion piece about transtrenders and social contagion. The comments weren't much better. One of them compared gender dysphoria to ulcerative colitis. All this stuff just reminds me of rejection, from my family, social circle, society. The world is getting worse for me and other trans people and I will be 0% surprised if I find myself with my basic rights curtailed in coming years because of it. I have nightmares about being harassed, attacked, driven to suicide, etc. by the government, but also by ordinary people who go along with it. I am scared.

March 6 March 13

March 13


I'm still taking notes on Derrida's The Animal That Therefore I Am, but also reading Carolyn Finney's Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (University of North Carolina Press, 2014). I had heard about it from an acquaintance who works with the US government on environmental projects, and it was cited in Aph Ko's Racism as Zoological Witchcraft, if I remember correctly. I'm glad to finally get it from my library.

I want to read Bataille and Nietzsche at some point soon, because I want to see how they mesh (or don't mesh) with the "received" model of posthumanism in animal studies or critical animal studies. My understanding is that, for Bataille, animals live in a state of "immanence" contiguous ("continuous") with the rest of the world, but humans experience "discontinuity" and see the world through the perspective of utility because we have learned how to use tools. Given that we now know that other species (i.e., crows) also use tools, how tenable is this idea? Maybe it is somehow acceptable, if we avoid privileging the notion that discontinuity is unique to humans or that it is a "privileged" capacity altogether. As Sunaura Taylor says in Beasts of Burden, other animals have life experiences, senses, etc. that we cannot begin to comprehend, and maybe continuity vs. discontinuity is one of those. Discontinuity becomes one of many other traits that might distinguish animals from each other, which also destabilizes the human as a "privileged" (?) being.

Per Derrida's animal lecture (mentioned above), humans do not have the pure, inalienable right/ability to bestow humanity or "human" properties upon themselves. If discontinuity is not an exclusively human property (because other animals also use tools), maybe we can think more about the lives of other animals. But what makes humans "unique" in Bataille's view collapses and means we have to rethink what follows, maybe looking to nonhuman animals for new possibilities in an "anti-humanist" (?) project.

Also, I'm hypomanic right now. I haven't actually read Bataille lol

March 8 March 16

March 16


I rediscovered some old notes on the movie Sicario (2015) and posted them here.

March 6 March 17