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February 12, 2019 11:23 PM   Subscribe

As 'LeftTube' becomes a thing (Previously) you might've heard of Olly Thorn/Philosophy Tube (Previously heard in the Contrapoints Video "Incels", previously) He has his own channel where he discusses Witchcraft, Marxism, and the history of being anti-feudal and anti-capitalist. (27:25) Systems Of Vulnerability is Why The Left Will Win (12:30) How to Fix the Housing Crisis as a Superhero Battle (20:36) When will Security Go Back To Normal and national systems of control (26:12) What Was Liberalism? (9:47) 2 3 4. Steve Bannon and Neofascism: An Explanation (44:57), drawing heavily on Max Frisch's play the Arsonists/The Firebugs.
posted by The Whelk (17 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
OOoooooo! Thanks for posting this. That could make for some interesting watching.
posted by rednikki at 12:27 AM on February 13, 2019

I kind of liked his older stuff better, where he was playing more of a straight bat. The conceptual hooks and metaphors he's been using in the last year or so of videos have mostly made it harder for me to follow the argument, and there have been a couple where I feel like they're disguising weaknesses in the core argument, which makes me trust it less overall. Or maybe they aren't, and I've just missed that part of the argument.

I don't feel this way about, say, Contrapoints, who also uses characters and weird metaphors in service of an argument, but I feel like there it helps clarify (or at least break up the paragraphs a bit).
posted by Merus at 1:24 AM on February 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

Housing Crisis was a bit too cheesy, but the last one (the Bannon one) was amazing.

LeftTube is really growing, /r/BreadTube is at over 31k subscribers right now. There's a lot of "rising stars" in addition to established favorites like Olly and ContraPoints.
posted by floatboth at 2:43 AM on February 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

If you like Olly, there's a sort of kinship between his channel and the now abandoned PBS Idea Channel. The backlog is long and good if you're in the mood for that kind of thing. It's not so much philosophy as it is pop culture literary criticism, though.
posted by goner at 6:10 AM on February 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I get recommendations for him from time to time from youtube, but I'm so suspicious of youtube recommendations that I've been avoiding him in fear that it might be a channel that seems all right from the description but then BAM it's actually nazis. Glad to hear that is not the case!
posted by dinty_moore at 7:25 AM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've been going back and forth on making a post about the YouTube left, built around hbomberguy's amazing 40-hour stream of Donkey Kong 64 to raise money for Mermaids, a UK non-profit charity that supports teens with gender dysphoria. Olly was one of the event's hosts, and is part of a loose affiliation of cultural leftist critics of popular culture: Bonus! Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dropped in on the stream to talk about the shutdown, trans rights, and vidyagames.

As with most things now, the event seemed to be blueshifted even as I was writing, accelerated into the past by the increasing too-muchness of the present moment, so I appreciate the opportunity to add it here. Thanks very much for the post, Whelk!
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 8:32 AM on February 13, 2019 [12 favorites]

I supported Thorn's patreon until I decided to spread out my patreon bucks on less recognized creators, but he comes off as personable, eloquent, and cogent and seems eminently suited for YouTube fame. I'm fascinated by his trajectory from philosopher to actor to YouTuber.


Bread is a thing, right? I see "bread" and "breadmom" all over weird twitter, etc., and I can't tell if it's a Kropotkin reference or what because I'm old. I love that there's this whole culture that's a mix of left theory, action, memes, videos, twitch streams and such. I don't always get all of it, but then I think of that line from Neuromancer—"Don't let the little fuckers generation gap you."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:51 AM on February 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

On the subject of LeftTube in general: one of my roommates is someone who I think is probably a Trump supporter in a parallel universe where he didn't have just the right sorts of conversations with people close to him. I've been gradually making my way through donoteat01's videos, usually watching them on the TV in our common room. A couple of times he has chuckled at a joke or two as he walks past.

The other night, though, I was re-watching the organized labor episode and my roommate, an engineer by profession and disposition who probably hasn't thought about unions a day in his life, sat down and watched the whole ~45min video with me and even made some positive comments and asked questions! ("What's a scab, again?")

Muahaha! World domination!
posted by XMLicious at 9:33 AM on February 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

I see "bread" and "breadmom" all over weird twitter, etc., and I can't tell if it's a Kropotkin reference or what

I think so? "The Bread Book" has been a meme for a while.
posted by atoxyl at 2:17 PM on February 13, 2019

Yeah “The Bread Book” has been a lefty meme/injoke for a while now - it’d being connected to The Red Pill terms and philosophy incels and the altright use (see video above) via the joke we need to “breadpill” people by exposing them to leftist politics and theory.
posted by The Whelk at 4:49 PM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Left tube sounds like a great idea, don't have access right now to watch, but what the hell does witchcraft have to do with it?
posted by blue shadows at 9:20 PM on February 13, 2019

It’s a touches on “Caliban and the Witch Women, The Body And Primitive Accumulation” by
Silvia Federici which is “...a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the late Middle Ages to the witch-hunts and the rise of mechanical philosophy, Federici investigates the capitalist rationalization of social reproduction. She shows how the battle against the rebel body and mind are essential conditions for the development of labor power and self-ownership, two central principles of modern social organization.”

A lot of peasant rebellions we’re led by women and women where accused of witchcraft and witchcraft could be seen as trying to upend the forming capitalist mentality by getting something for nothing.

It’s an good introduction to the idea and Caliban And The Witch is a great book.
posted by The Whelk at 9:58 PM on February 13, 2019

Thank you, The Whelk, so it's more The Crucible than Intro to Wicca, that makes sense.
posted by blue shadows at 10:12 PM on February 13, 2019

No problem, although most of my witch friends are also Marxists but that’s beside the point
posted by The Whelk at 10:43 PM on February 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

Olly is good. Idea Channel was also good and I actually learned about Philosophy Tube when Idea Channel was on the way out and suggesting similar channels.
posted by asnider at 2:21 PM on February 14, 2019

Yeah “The Bread Book” has been a lefty meme/injoke for a while now

Hey, thanks. (Been meaning to that Federici for a while, too.)
posted by octobersurprise at 2:42 PM on February 14, 2019

New video

Brexit Or What Is Democracry?
posted by The Whelk at 7:51 AM on March 8, 2019

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