The Anthropoid Condition – The Los Angeles Review of Books

This is one of the best interviews I’ve read in recent months. I could feel my brain stretching and warping throughout. Thanks to @mattthomas for recommending it. Some good morsels, unapologetically out of context:

My modus operandi in general: to try to be as precise and informed as possible while also taking metaphors seriously as paths to insight.


Since mortals cannot read (or write) very many books, I think an author should thank the reader for choosing your book by not wasting their time.


The history of media theory from McLuhan to Kittler was always also an implicit theory of gender. What if the philosophy of technology focused on birth as much as death? What if we appreciated container technologies as much as power technologies, or labor on life as much as work on things? What if we took domestication not as lost vigor but as the site of the hardest and greatest work? The book doesn’t answer these questions at length, but suggests they are essential to any future philosophy of media.


It would take a lot of thought to detail my research techniques but they include the following imperatives: write early in the morning, cultivate memory, reread core books, take detailed reading notes, work on several projects at once, maintain a thick archive, rotate crops, take a weekly Sabbath, go to bed at the same time, exercise so hard you can’t think during it, talk to different kinds of people including the very young and very old, take words and their histories seriously (i.e., read dictionaries), step outside of the empire of the English language regularly, look for vocabulary from other fields, love the basic, keep your antennae tuned, and seek out contexts of understanding quickly (i.e., use guides, encyclopedias, and Wikipedia without guilt). As to tools, the body is the writer’s essential tool, and I have not quite resolved the question of how to write and read and have a body at the same time.

His new book sounds great.

The Anthropoid Condition – The Los Angeles Review of Books