114 episodes

Professor Phil Ford and writer/filmmaker J. F. Martel host a series of conversations on art and philosophy, dwelling on ideas that are hard to think and art that opens up rifts in what we are pleased to call "reality."

Weird Studies Phil Ford and J. F. Martel

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 52 Ratings

Professor Phil Ford and writer/filmmaker J. F. Martel host a series of conversations on art and philosophy, dwelling on ideas that are hard to think and art that opens up rifts in what we are pleased to call "reality."

    On Skepticism and the Paranormal

    On Skepticism and the Paranormal

    Modern skeptics pride themselves on being immune to unreason. They present themselves as defenders of rationality, civilization, and good sense against what Freud famously called the "black mud-tide of occultism." But what if skepticism was more implicated in the phenomena it aims to banish than it might appear to be? What if no one could debunk anything without getting some of that black mud on their hands? In this episode, Phil and JF discuss the weird complicity of the skeptic and the believer in the light of George P. Hansen's masterpiece of meta-parapsychology, The Trickster and the Paranormal.


    REFERENCES


    George P. Hansen, The Trickster and the Paranormal
    James Randi, stage magician and paranormal debunker
    Michael Shermer, American science writer
    CSICOP, Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, Publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer
    Rune Soup, Interview with George P. Hansen
    Weird Studies, Episode 24 with Lionel Snell
    Weird Studies, Episode 89 on Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo
    Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure
    Wouter Hanegraaff, Dutch professor of esoteric philosophy
    Shannon Taggart, Seance
    Society for Psychical Research
    Weird Studies, Episode 44 on William James’s Psychical Research
    G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
    Robert Anton Wilson, American author
    Aleister Crowley, Magic Without Tears

    • 1 hr 19 min
    On Joy Williams' 'Breaking and Entering,' with Conner Habib

    On Joy Williams' 'Breaking and Entering,' with Conner Habib

    Joy Williams' third novel, Breaking and Entering, is the story of lovers who break into strangers' homes and live their lives for a time before moving on. First published in 1988, it is a book impossible to describe, a work of singular vision and sensibilty that is as infectious in its weird effect as it is unforgettable for the quality of its prose.


    In this episode, the novelist, spiritual thinker, and acclaimed podcaster Conner Habib joins JF and Phil to explore how the novel's enchantments rest on the uniqueness of Williams' style, which is to say, her bold embrace of ways of seeing that are hers alone. Williams is an artist who refuses to work from within some predetermined philosophical or political idiom. As Habib tells your hosts, she goes her own way, and even the gods must follow.


    Discover Against Everyone with Conner Habib on Patreon


    Support Weird Studies on Patreon:
    Buy the soundtrack
    Find us on Discord
    Get your Weird Studies merchandise (t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop


    Photo by Wolfgang Moroder via Wikimedia Commons


    REFERENCES


    Conner Habib, "Joy Williams: The Best Fiction Writer Alive"


    Joy Williams, Breaking and Entering
    Joy Williams, The Quick and the Dead
    The Paris Review, Interview with Joy Williams
    Heraclitus, Fragments
    Joy Williams, “Breakfast” in Taking Care
    Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
    The Phantom Stranger, DC Comics character
    James Joyce, Ulysses
    Eugene Ionesco, Rhinoceros
    Deleuze and Guatarri, What is Philosophy?
    Quentin Meillassoux, French philosopher
    David Mamet, On Directing Film
    David Mamet, True and False
    Nicholas Winding Refn (dir.), The Neon Demon
    Joy Williams, “Congress”
    Joy Williams, “Hawk”
    Stephen Sexton, If All the World and Love Were Young
    Scott Burnham, Mozart’s Grace
    Special Guest: Conner Habib.

    • 1 hr 26 min
    The Wanderer: On Weird Studies

    The Wanderer: On Weird Studies

    In this episode, Weird Studies turns meta, reflecting on the peculiar medium that is podcasting, and how it has shaped the Weird Studies project itself. JF and Phil provide a glimpse into what it feels like to create the show from the inside, where each recording session is like a journey into an unknown Zone. The conversation also occasions sojourns into the flow state, or experience of pure durée, its implications for our conception of free will, and surprising parallels between modern materialists’ adherence to nihilism and ancient religious ascetic practices. Ultimately, JF and Phil explore the archetypal image of the wanderer as representative of Weird Studies’s existence so far, and of the kind of impact and legacy this project can have.


    N.B. Weird Studies will be on a haitus for the month of September, and will return on September 29. In the meantime:


    Support us on Patreon:
    Find us on Discord
    Get your Weird Studies merchandise (t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
    Buy the Weird Studies soundtrack


    References


    Robert Sapolsky, Interview with Pau Guinart
    Bruno Latour, French philosopher
    Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
    Peter Sloterdijk, You Must Change Your Life
    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow
    Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith
    Nina Simone, “Feeling Good”
    Robert Anton Wilson, Illuminatus
    Richard Wagner, Siegfried
    Lewis Carol, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
    John David Ebert, American cultural critic
    Patrick Harpur Daimonic Reality
    Marshall McLuhan, The Global Village
    Phil Ford, “What was Blogging?”
    Weird Studies, Episode 71 on Marshall McLuhan

    • 1 hr 26 min
    Fire Walk with Tamler Sommers

    Fire Walk with Tamler Sommers

    The Twin Peaks mythos has been with Weird Studies from the very beginning, and it is only fitting that it should have a return. In this episode, Phil and JF are joined by Tamler Sommers, co-host of the podcast Very Bad Wizards to discuss Fire Walk with Me, the prequel film to the original Twin Peaks series. Paradoxically, David Lynch’s work both necessitates and resists interpretation, and the pull of detailed interpretation is unusually strong in this episode. The three discuss how Fire Walk with Me, and the series as a whole, depicts two separate worlds that sometimes begin to intermingle, disrupting the perceived stability of time and space. Often this happens in moments of extreme fear or love. Through their love for Laura Palmer and for the film under consideration, JF, Phil, and Tamler enact their own interpretation, entering a rift where the world of Twin Peaks and the “real” world seem to merge, demonstrating how Twin Peaks just won’t leave this world alone, and can become a way for disenchanted moderns once again to live inside of myth.


    Support us on Patreon:
    Find us on Discord
    Get your Weird Studies merchandise (t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
    Buy the Weird Studies soundtrack


    References


    David Lynch, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
    The Sons of Sam: A Descent into Darkness, Netflix documentary
    David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
    Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double
    Mark Frost, The Secret History of Twin Peaks
    Mark Frost, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier
    Jason Louv, occultist
    Duncan Barford, Occult Experiments in the Home podcast
    Weird Studies, Episode 67 on “Hellier”
    Weird Studies, Episode 78 on “The Mothman Prophesies”
    Sound mass, musical technique
    Michael Hanake (dir.), Caché
    Courtenay Stallings, Laura’s Ghost
    Special Guest: Tamler Sommers.

    • 1 hr 32 min
    We'd Love to Turn You On: 'Sgt. Pepper' and the Beatles

    We'd Love to Turn You On: 'Sgt. Pepper' and the Beatles

    It is said that for several days after the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in the spring of 1967, you could have driven from one U.S. coast to the other without ever going out of range of a local radio broadcast of the album. Sgt. Pepper was, in a sense, the first global musical event -- comparable to other sixties game-changers such as the Kennedy assassination and the moon landing. What's more, this event is as every bit as strange as the latter two; it is only custom and habit that blind us to the profound weirdness of Sgt. Pepper. In this episode, Phil and JF reimagine the Beatles' masterpiece as an egregore, a magical operation that changes future and past alike, and a spiritual machine for "turning us on" to the invisible background against which we strut and fret our hours on the stage.


    Support us on Patreon:
    Find us on Discord
    Get your Weird Studies merchandise (t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
    Buy the Weird Studies soundtrack


    REFERENCES


    Weird Studies, Episode 31 on Glenn Gould’s ‘Prospects of Recording’
    Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art
    Brian Eno, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
    Weird Studies, Episode 33 On Duchamp’s Fountain
    Emmanuel Carrère, La Moustache
    Rob Reiner, This is Spinal Tap
    Richard Lester, A Hard Day's Night
    Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2
    James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games
    Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, What is Philosophy?
    Arthur Machen, “A Fragment of Life”
    David Lynch, Lost Highway
    Zhuangzi (Butterfly dream)
    Ian MacDonald, Revolution in the Head

    • 1 hr 22 min
    On the Tower, the Sixteenth Card of the Tarot

    On the Tower, the Sixteenth Card of the Tarot

    Continuing their series on the tarot, Phil and JF discuss the card nobody wants to see in a reading – The Tower. Featuring lightning bolts, plumes of ominous smoke, and figures plummeting from the windows, the Tower’s meaning at first glance seems clear: “pride comes before a fall,” as the old adage goes. But as JF and Phil delve into the details, they note not only the card’s connection to the Biblical tower of Babel and the fall of man, but also its relevance to the present era’s systems of control and communication breakdown. This discussion leads them to search for an antidote to the Tower's message of destruction.


    References


    Anonymous, Meditations on the Tarot
    Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Way of the Tarot
    Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
    Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian composer
    Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on the Societies of Control”
    Wilco, “Radio Cure”
    Richard Dyer, Heavenly Bodies
    George Cukor (dir.), A Star is Born
    Performativity, sociological concept
    Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
    Jaques Ellul, The Technological Society

    • 1 hr 16 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

Gor1 ,

161157gor

Great Show !

michelleolley66 ,

“WE are the primitives of an unknown culture”...

THIS level of insight is why Weird Studies is fast becoming my favourite listen. Bravo fellas - fantastic episode this week. I went in thinking exotica is cringe- came out thinking about positive future narratives. Also the Stravinksy bit was 🎻🔥🔥

cwhaggarty ,

Astounding

Many thanks for this truly thought provoking podcast. I love the range of topics and the perspectives of the two hosts...It is absolutely wonderful, by and large my most favourite podcast.

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