The third Tedcast takes a break from my Fantasy & Science Fiction lectures to present an interview with me conducted by Erik Davis. Erik hosts Expanding Minds on the Progressive Radio Network, and is author of numerous books, including a great study of Led Zeppelin IV and the new collection Nomad Codes. Erik and I go back to college, where we worked together on a zine. Here we talk about the Centaur Manifesto, critical theory, and the tensions between being an academic and a public intellectual.
I’m writing a book about centaurs and cyborgs – about trying to bring together mythos and logos, magic and science, Carl Jung and Karl Marx, Maria Von Franz and Fredric Jameson. I’m podcasting the book via my lectures on Tedcast. I’m tweeting the book via the #centaur hashtag. And I’m blogging the book here.
The book expands my work on politics, myth, fantasy, and the ideas of Karl Marx and Carl Jung. Theoretically, it’s a marriage of post-Marxist critical theory with post-Jungian depth psychology. My hope is the combination will prove, if not a dialectical synthesis, perhaps an alchemical reaction – what Jung calls syzygy, the marriage of opposites.
Jung like Marx began as a Hegelian. Alchemy is Jung’s own revision of Hegel’s dialectic, just as deconstruction is for Derrida. The Buddhist version is my personal favorite: the middle way. Which leads to emptiness, no-self, nirvana. And as Jack Kornfield puts it, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.
- “Strat-O-Matic & the Baseball Tarot: Sense, Synchronicity & Play.” Flow 9.07.
- “Jung & Lost.” Flow 9.12.
- “Myth, the Numinous & Cultural Studies.” Flow 10.05.
- “Vertigo.” Flow 10.08.
- “The Politics of Magic: Fantasy, Technology, & Nature.” Scope 14
My most recent work has been on games as forms of active imagination. Here’s a short slideshow I made about the social game Farmville and active imagination. It accompanied a piece I contributed to the digital humanities journal In Media Res, “Farmville: the Garden in the Machine.”
Here’s an interview I did with David Metcalfe, who runs the wonderfulOpenMythSource.com. He also wrote a very thoughtful follow-up piece about my work, “Digital Gardening,” and republished “Myth, the Numinous & Cultural Studies.”
And here’s a talk I gave a couple of years ago about the politics of fantasy films.
My rebooted podcast, TedCast, is up and running. The first few episodes will come from Fantasy and Science Fiction, a course I teach at GSU. Future episodes will cover cultural studies, new media, film history, and eventually everything else I talk about in public.
In Episode 2, we discuss the key tropes of fantasy and science fiction: magic and extrapolation.
Here’s Episode 1 of Tedcast, my rebooted podcast. It’s the first class in Fantasy and Science Fiction Media, a class I taught at GSU in Fall 2010. In this opening lecture, I introduce the concept of genre and discuss what distinguishes fantasy and science fiction, and what they share.
I’m in the midst of a blogging-software shift from Movable Type to WordPress, which explains the current inconsistencies between this site (tedfriedman.wordpress.com) and my original website, tedfriedman.com. Eventually I’ll port all of tedfriedman.com over to WordPress, then move this blog itself back to tedfriedman.com, although the tedfriedman.wordpress.com URL should always resolve to right place either way.
In the meantime, until I can unveil tedfriedman.com 3.0, here are links to some of my stuff that’s online:
@tedfriedman, my twitter feed.
My current project, A Centaur Manifesto.
Search the archives of tedfriedman.com,, 2005-2011, including blog posts, book chapters, and journal articles.
Hi, I’m Noisy. Won’t you be my neighbor?
I’m the middle of Ted and Kate’s three cats. The newest is Pilot Squeaky, a three month old kitten. Congratulations to Rebecca Jackson, who won the #namethiskitty contest with the suggestion that we name Pilot after the gas station where Rebecca found her. Rebecca will soon be the proud owner of Kiki’s Delivery Service, plus a bonus Miyazaki DVD since she already has the second official prize, Ted’s book Electric Dreams.
I play Farmville and Frontierville every day. I give out lots of Mystery Gifts. Tell your friends about me, too, because I’m trying to build as big a network of neighbors as possible. It’s part of Ted’s research on social games. He’ll be writing about the experience in the upcoming In Media Res theme week on games. In Media Res is the online journal edited by Alisa Perren of the Georgia State University Program in Moving Image Studies. You can find it here.
Ted’s also curating pages for upcoming 2011-12 In Media Res weeks on Jung, Play, Pop Music, Heroes and Shadows. Ted’s looking for contributors to all weeks from inside and outside of academia. Rock critics, public intellectuals, grad students, filmmakers – please all consider joining in. It shouldn’t be too hard. Start by clicking here to find #IMR-hashtagged conversations. Reply to anybody, adding the #IMR hashtag to the end of your tweet so that your tweet can be found by everybody else. Add a second hashtag like #Jung or an address like @katyperry if it might help people find what you have to say.
Ted’s going to curate the feeds on specific topics, then turn them into the Friday roundtable pages for the IMR weeks he edits.
At least, that’s the concept – we’ll see if it works in practice. You can help in the following ways: – Become Facebook Friends with Ted Friedman and two of his cats: Pilot Squeaky and Noisy. The third cat, The Dude, doesn’t yet have a page – Facebook doesn’t approve of Firstname: The, Lastname: Dude. He may sit this out – he’s an introvert anyway.
– Become all of our Neighbors in both Farmville and Frontierville, if you play. If you don’t play, consider trying both.
– Contribute to <In Media Res conversations by going here and adding to the conversation, hashtagging your tweet by including #IMR in your 140 characters.
– Contact Ted Friedman to discuss curating a day or editing a week. You can tweet him @tedfriedman or send an email to email@example.com. The standard format for the weeks Ted edits will be: Mon – Intro by Ted. Tues – 2nd curator. Wed – 3rd curator. Thurs – 4th curator. Fri – 5th curator.
The idea is to hold this discussion in the Commons, in the sense developed by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in Commonweath. The Commons isn’t exactly public or private – it’s that Third Space that Jane Jacobs described in The Death and Life of American Cities. At its best, it can be a lot more than a Starbucks or mall food court. This will be the explicit subject of some of the discussions, and the implicit context of all of them. On Facebook, we will treat this private company’s network as a resource fairly purchased with our advertising eyeballs (and probably overpriced, given the data mining they do now do with your info). Same goes for our use of Google, which I assume none of us could do without. And the publishing side of this venture is In Media Res, an online journal created by Avi Santo with the help of Media Commons. That’s the concept. If all of you pitch in, we can make it happen. So, won’t you be my neighbor?