Special Episode: On Some Mental Effects of the Pandemic

Episode 69 · March 25th, 2020 · 59 mins 8 secs

About this Episode

What is there to say about the COVID-19 virus that hasn't already been said, over and over again, all around the world, in quaratined houses and on TV and social media and countless Zoom chats ... what can we say that you haven't heard? Well, probably nothing. But we are now at the point where we realize that the real importance of the things we say is not their content, but the mere fact of saying them. As Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message, and at a time when we have been driven into separate solitudes, we are discovering that the real meaning of our utterances might be something like "hello, are you there?" and "I am here, talking to you." In that spirit, Phil and JF have a conversation about William James's essay "On Some Mental Effects of the Earthquake," partly to discuss the ways that it's relevant to our present circumstances and the ways it's not, but mostly to make human connections, both with each other and with Weird Studies listeners.

As JF says, stay close, but keep your distance.


William James, "On Some Mental Effects of the Earthquake"
William James, Writings 1902-1910
Noel Black (director), "To See the Invisible Man", 2nd segment of episode 16 of The Twilight Zone (1985-86)
Weird Studies no. 29, “On Lovecraft”
Weird Studies no. 64, “Dreams and Shadows: On Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea”
Weird Studies no. 67, “Goblins, Goat-Gods and Gates: On Hellier”
Martin Heidegger, “‘Only a God Can Save Us’: The Spiegel Interview"
Bruno Latour, "An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns"
H.P. Lovecraft, “Nyarlathotep”