"You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third Worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petrodollars, electro- dollars, multi-dollars, Reichsmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today."
This text - pulled from the late Sidney Lumet’s 1976 masterful cinematic critique of the convergence of American media with finance capital 'Network', in which a ruthless media executive lays the hard reality of postmodern global affairs on the rogue broadcaster trying to expose some truth - perfectly distills the reality of the cultural landscape. All culture is propaganda. Everything you hold dear is connected to that which subjugates you.
This podcast System of Systems, hosted by a couple of sad bois - millennial failed artist and cultural critic Adam Lehrer and zoomer writer/musician Will Samson - deconstruct art, culture and politics, and attempt to understand the pervasive conformism that has saturated it all.
SOS at Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/systemofsystems
SOS at Libsyn: https://directory.libsyn.com/shows/view/id/systemofsystems
SOS at twitter: https://twitter.com/SystemofSystem3
Adam at twitter: https://twitter.com/SafetyPropagan1
Will at twitter: https://twitter.com/_Will_Samson_?s=20
Adam's personal website: http://adamlehrer.com
Adam at Instagram: @adamlehreruptown
Safety Propaganda: https://safetypropaganda.substack.com/
At the Wall of Transgression: A Whitehouse Retrospective (W/ Xylon Otterburn)
Adam has been re-reading David Keenan's historical biography on the rise of Industrial Music, England's Hidden Riverse, after it was re-published with extended material over the summer. That book primarily looks at the rise and legacies of Coil, Nurse with Wound, and Current 93 (and suspiciously, only passingly mentions Douglas Pearce and Death in June.) There is also, however, a plethora of material dedicated to William Bennett and what led the British artist to create the pioneering power electronics project Whitehouse. Formed by Bennett in 1980 and joined by Philip Best in the '80s and Peter Sotos in the '90s, Whitehouse developed both the sound (throbbing bass, ear searing and abused synths, washed out white noise, brutal and screamed vocals) and content (power, abuse, serial murder, war crimes) of the style that we now call power electronics. Though PE has since given us several iconic artists and acts — Con-Dom, Grey Wolves, Genocide Organ, and Ramleh among them — there is still something about the conceptual rigor, thematic depth, and historical mythos of Whitehouse that makes the group an enduringly fascinating area of study. To discuss the legacy of Whitehouse as well as the philosophy and history of industrial music, Adam and Will converse with friend and noise musician Xylon Genesis Otterburn, back for the second time on the show.
SOUNDTRACK Whitehouse "Mindphaser" Whitehouse "Rapeday" Coil "Panic" Whitehouse "I'm Comin Up Your Ass" Nurse with Wound "Two Mock Projections" Whitehouse "Philosophy of a Wife Beater" Current 93 "No Hiding from the Blackbird" Whitehouse "A C**t like You" Waylon Jennings "Freedom to Stay"
LINKS Whitehouse Bandcamp Susan Lawly Xylon on Instagram: @null_disclosure A Conversation Between William Bennett and Dominick Fernow Buy England Hidden's Reverse
PREVIEW New Millennium Men (w/ Alex Kazemi)
Writer Alex Kazemi wrote his first novel, Your Truly, Brad Sela, back in 2013 when he was only 19-years-old. In a true time capsule of the 2010s, Alex published an excerpt of that manuscript on his Tumblr page, and it exploded. He got 132,000 views and signed a book deal with MTV Books. For whatever reason or another, the book didn't come out when it was planned for. Instead, Alex embarked on several interesting projects in the media: contributing to magazines such as The Observer, Dazed and Autre, working as managing editor at Prim Magazine, releasing a series of video ads for Marilyn Manson, and founding the Advisor which collected letters contemporary male icons to young men, with contributions from heroes like Richard Kern, Bruce LaBruce, and Moby.
The initial novel, however, NEVER DIED. And it now LIVES. Alex's debut novel is New Millennium Boyz and it is published by none other than Permuted Press, a sub-division of Simon & Schuster. It is a fast, frenetic and hilarious read, and finds its protagonist Brad Sela as a senior in high school. Brad is a popular good looking kid who feels alienated and bored by his stereotypical and normie friends. His life forever changes when he strikes a friendship up with the Hot Topic'd, gothified new kids Lu and Shane and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and self-destruction.
Adam immediately identified with the novel because it takes place in the year, 1999, when he came into his full pop cultural awareness: Manson, Eminem, Columbine, Y2K fear, Corgan, consumerism aglore! Here, Adam and Alex discuss their peculiar shared work histories, millennials, masculinity, '90s pop culture, Gen X, Gen Z, sociopathy, New Millennium Boyz and much more...
FULL EPISODE HERE
SOUNDTRACK: Marilyn Manson "Kiddie Grinder" The Prodigy "Serial Thrilla" Blink 182 "Emo" Tool "46 and 2" Eminem "Role Model" Fiona Apple "Limp" Limp Bizkit "Nookie"
Buy NEW MILLENNIUM BOYZ
Alex interviewed by Vanity Fair
PREVIEW The Death of a Socerer (W/ Bradford Kessler and Benjamin Kellogg)
One of the greatest American film artists, William Friedkin, has passed away at the age of 87. The son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrant parents (who fled their country after the antisemitic pogroms of the early 20th Century), Friedkin was a s****y student and a great basketball player until he discovered cinema in the '60s. He then rose from a Hollywood journeyman doing s****y films for studios until it all came together with The French Connection and the greatest horror film of all time in The Exorcist. Friedkin would evolve from being the most celebrated auteur in America, to a scrappy indie arthouse director who warred with studios with financing, to an even scrappier arthouse auteur adapting transgressive plays in his later life. What. A. F*****g. Career.
To discuss his entire oeuvre, Adam brings on his friends and former guests: artist Benjamin Kellogg and artist and filmmaker (and director of the Botched Chadification Masculinity Under Threat music video.)
FULL EPISODE HERE
National Philharmonic Orchestra "Polymorphia" (from the OST to the Exorcist) Peste Noire "Commune" (accoustic live in Kiev)
David Kilgour "Filter"
Wang Chung "To Live and Die in LA" (from To live and Die in LA OST)
Jugra "Darah and Maruah"
Tangerine Dream "Vengeance" from Sorcerer OST)
Bradford Kessler on Instagram: @bradfordhurstkessler
Benjamin Kellogg on Instagram: @benjamin_kellogg
Botched Chadification Masculinity Under Threat
William Friedkin Obituary, by Adam Lehrer
All Along the Lonesome County Highway (W/ Walter Kirn)
Celebrated novelist and essayist Walter Kirn, author of works of fiction like Up in the Air and non-fiction such as Lost in the Meritocracy and veteran of major media outlets ranging from GQ to Esquire to Vanity Fair and beyond, has seen his place in the media landscape evolve in the last few years since he was early to recognize the truth about the hysteria driving the Covid "pandemic". Since then, he's written important essays for Compact (where Adam has a monthly column) and started a podcast with Matt Taibbi called America this Week.
Most recently, Kirn has teamed up with the celebrated writer and journalist David Samuels to found a new publication called A County Highway, which is in the style of a 19th Century newspaper and will focus on the totality of America, not just its primary cities. Walter and Adam here discuss that new publication, the middle of America, Cape Cod, San Francisco, Covid, psy-ops, the opioid epidemic, Danny McBride and much more.
SOUNDTRACK: Thin Lizzy "Boogie Woogie Stance" Swervedriver "Sci-Flyer" The Dead C "Sky" The Velvets "Heroin (Live at the MatrixI)" Mercyful Fate "The Oath"
LINKS: Walter at Substack
Walter at Twitter
Walter and David Samuels introduce County Highway
America this Week
Walter "Paranoia is our Duty"
PREVIEW Married Mid (w/ Scott Litts)
Scott Litts is a New York-based writer, linked tangentially to Expat Press who also publishes a literary site called Violence Café. While the reason for this discussion was Scott's excellent piece on the Angelicism01 movie, Film01, we ended up discussing drugs and writing far more.
Links: Follow Scott on Twitter: @cafeviolenza
Scott on Film01
F****d Up in 20 Different Ways (w/ Jack Skelley)
Jack Skelley is a writer and a poet that has been publishing books since the 1980s. His career began in the early '80s in LA when he worked at the Venice-based literary and arts center Beyond Baroque. Beyond Baroque was put on the map by Dennis Cooper who created a scene around it that included late poet and performance artist Bob Flanagan, the late conceptual artist Mike Kelley, the hilarious late poet Ed Smith, Guggenheim Fellowship winning poet Amy Gerstler, painter and novelist Benjamin Weissman, and Jack himself.
The crux of this conversation revolves around the publication of Jack's new book, The Complete Fear of Kathy Acker, which was released by Semiotext(e)in May. Jack started writing the book in the 1980s, and as such follows a protaganist named Jack as he traverses the Los Angeles art world of the eighties that Jack himself was indeed a part of. The figure of the late writer Kathy Acker who provides the book's namesake only actually appears briefly in the novel but her method of postmodern literary collage is assumed as a means for Jack to deconstruct the signifiers of the Los Angeles dream factory and the formation of mass culture as the protagonist flits from book readings to punk rock shows to art openings to misbegotten sexcapades. It's a weird and thrilling novel.
Jack and Adam here discuss this new book, Los Angeles, Kathy Acker, locating an avant-gardist sentiment in pop culture, the problematization of male heterosexual desire in literature, fictionalizing historical figures, Mike Kelley, SST records, punk rock, and much more.
Black Flag "White Minority" Blasphemy "Ritual" Mike Kelley, Violent Onsen Geisha, and Paul McCarthy "Upstairs" Eddie Crisis Group "Killer" Lawndale "March of the Melted Army Men"
Jack at Twitter: @JackSkelley
Jack at Instagram: @HelterSkelley
Purchase the Complete Fear of Kathy Acker
Jack interviewed by Hobart Pulp
These guys are dope. Keep it up
appreciate the content, but the background sounds/music provide too much dissonance.
Good Content but fix your audio mixing
At times, I could hardly hear the discussion because the music was too loud.