Podcasts/Sacred Tension-Dandyism FINAL6qbyv
Dandyism_FINAL6qbyv SUMMARY KEYWORDS decadence, people, dandy, satanism, decadent, oscar wilde, wrote, book, satanic, bram stoker, satanist, called, society, dracula, literary, line, author, rebelling, wild, point SPEAKERS Vivian de Assam, Stephen Bradford Long
00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast. I am Avery Smith, and I am here to invite you to bless it are the binary breakers and multifaith podcast of transgender stories. Whatever your own relationship to gender and spirituality may be, you will find yourself enriched by the stories shared by my guests who so far have ranged in religion from Christian and pagan to Jewish, Sikh, atheist and beyond and have hailed from the US, Chile, Poland, Australia and more tune in wherever you get your podcasts or read along with episode transcripts by visiting blesses are the binary breakers.com See you there.
Stephen Bradford Long 01:02 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long, and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one, go to rock candy recordings.com. All right. Well, as always, before we get started, I have to thank my patrons. My patrons are my personal lords and saviors. They are keeping me from doing unspeakable things on the street to keep my crippling content creation addiction going. So for this week, I have to thank Bryson Cooper, thank you so much. I truly could not do this without you. And for anyone listening who wants to join their number, please go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long. For $1 A month or $5 a month you get extra content every single week, including my show with the Salvation Army officer turned to Christian heretic Timothy McPherson, where we talk about religion, news, Satanism, Christianity, theology, meditation, whatever is on our minds that week. You also get early access to various shows and different content and you get special access to me as a creator. I also realized today that I'm constantly forgetting to mention my Discord server on the show, which is really sad because the sacred tension Discord server is kind of amazing. It has so many interesting people. There's constant, interesting conversation going on there. And there's a link to that in the show notes as well. So if you need some like minded, degenerate heathen friends to give you company at 3am, then please join my Discord server. And finally, this show is sponsored by the satanic temple.tv. There is all kinds of fascinating stuff going on at the satanic temple.tv. They have an incredibly creative community. And there are live streams, feature films, documentaries, talk shows, there is a cooking show, there is a Satanic puppet show. You should definitely go check all of it out and you can get one month free using my promo code, sacred tension, all caps, no space at checkout. All right. Well, with all of that out of the way I'm delighted to welcome my friend and colleague Vivian to the show. Hi, how are you?
Vivian de Assam 03:24 I'm fairly okay.
Stephen Bradford Long 03:27 We were just talking before we started recording about how exhausted both of us are so this show might be a bit more loopy than usual. So to like put things into perspective, the front bumper of my van just has started falling off like it will just like like it's had terrible mouth cancer and its front jaw is now just falling off. And so I had to but because I can't afford to take it to the shop yet. I got to like snap ties. And I went under and got it like snap tied the bumper onto my van and I'm just like praying to Baby Jesus that it will not fall off. So that's my day. That is like the metaphor for how my day is going.
Vivian de Assam 04:18 I shattered my phone earlier today which has been great fun the feeling that you have glass shards in your hand where they may may or may not be certain that your hands are just riddled with inventoriable slivers and I understand the the the car issue I have I had my arm pinned in the wheel well of my car over the weekend trying to replace a headlight because I am not a person who does things like that. No, no, I am not a handy fellow.
Stephen Bradford Long 04:49 Neither. I am not a handy fellow either. That is what this is straight men are for. To do Karthik yes for me. So anyway, tell us some about who you are and what You do.
Vivian de Assam 05:00 My name is Vivian de Assam and I am one of the members of TSDS ordination Council. I am also a on the Leadership Council of gray faction. And I'm a general wastrel who happens to just consume all of my hours with books. So the the end of my name is perhaps indicative of that's indicative why I chose it because that is name taken from the character in a Horseman's book called honorable or against nature or against the grain, where John de saw, decides he's going to eject the world and build an entire fantasy with inside of his own house, lining it with all of his favorite books, or something called the mouth organ, which is a thing that can send the can stimulate the tastes of music with alcohol, that sort of thing.
Stephen Bradford Long 05:55 Amazing. So we are getting right into it. You are, I would say an expert on dandyism and decadence, and you bring that perspective into Satanism. And it's just fascinating. And I feel like we probably have some crossover and interest because Oscar Wilde is my favorite, favorite author ever. He was a huge influence on me in high school, and he continues to be my favorite writer, your first name, Vivian, especially how it is spelled is correct me if I'm wrong, the also the name of his son. Exactly.
Vivian de Assam 06:34 Two, he had two sons Cyril and Vivian. And Cyril died during World War One. But Vivian Holland went on to be an author in his own right.
Stephen Bradford Long 06:42 So let's start by laying down some definitions. Your area of fascination and expertise is decadence, and dandyism. Let's, let's define both of those.
Vivian de Assam 06:54 Well, I have a great thing from zoo zoo, alma de Barbado. Very, where it was a dandy isn't the thing that almost as difficult to describe as it is to define beautiful Barbie wrote an essay on Beau Brummell George Brummell, who is usually cited as the original Danny which is debatable, but it was called called on dandyism and George Brummell.
Stephen Bradford Long 07:18 And what year was that? By the way.
Vivian de Assam 07:20 That would be 1830 something it was not long after Bramble died, but his the entire, the point of this entire piece was to kept he was captivated by the sight of a decaying rumble. He saw it and came and was transfixed by the idea of vandalism, but as even in rumbles, like depleted state before he was institutionalized, he was still trying to adhere to this. The sense of self in this point is and for for dandyism, for me, it's, it's it's hard to define because it is unique to each individual dandy people, when you when you say the word people go, it must be the clothes it must be their clothes horse, then there are many definitions that say they are people who only focus on appearance, they only focus on what they can wear, but they can tend to ignore the aesthetic sense that comes with it, which is not necessarily clothing. The bowler does find a dandy Charles Ball there was also a dandy and friend of Barbie doll belly, and he was going to write about rumble within read what I really wrote and was like, Well, fuck, I can't write Sorry, can I swear on your show?
Stephen Bradford Long 08:39 This is, this is a show by satanist for Satanists, and anyone. So yes, absolutely. It is marked. It is marked as explicit on on Apple podcast for a reason. Yep.
Vivian de Assam 08:53 Like that. The metaphysical phase of dandyism as one who elevates aesthetics to a living religion, that the dandies mere existence. reproaches, the responsible citizen of the middle class, dandyism, dandyism in certain aspects becomes close to spirituality, spirituality, and to stoicism, and these beings have no other status, but that of cultivating the idea of beauty and their own persons, satisfying their passions of feeling and thinking. dandyism is a form of Romanticism. Contrary to what many thoughtless people seem to believe Dan ism is not even an excessive delight in clothes and material elegance for the perfect dandy. These things are no more than the symbol of the aristocratic superiority of the mind.
Stephen Bradford Long 09:39 And that was a quote from Botha lair. Bullet. Yes, yeah. It reminds me of something that Oscar Wilde said, and a profound Profundis which was his letter to Lord Alfred Douglas from prison. And I it's been years since I've read it, but he has this line where he's like, I am, I am in the church of Matisse. I'm in the church of beautiful material things. I am in the chair and it's like elevating, elevating that poise and that material beauty and intellectual beauty to a to a spiritual domain almost to to a religious spiritual level. Am I getting that right?
Vivian de Assam 10:23 Yeah, and and that and then that's only when for me that's only one side of it. Because dandies aren't entirely just people who wear suits. And I have a whole whole bit on that for later in this conversation, because dandies, balblair and do Valley both said this, in certain in different ways that dandies arise as part of their culture and a response to that culture, that they are standing as a remote and rebellious force against what is deemed permissible. For Remo in particular, Brahma was friends with the Prince Regent Prince George, and he set the tone for what fashion became what what fashion was when he was doing when he was Ultra starting his provox and wearing seemingly tight pants and washing his boots and champagne. Allegedly, he was setting us a tone and a standard for how everyone around him would then take on and appear while the Prince Regent's actual tastes were more foppish because he was very much like I like color. I like costume re, I love extravagance and rumble light extravagance too. But Rumble is a very is one side of this coin, when everything else is but it is responsive still to a society that was getting incredibly preposterous and how it was choosing its color. Because if this was on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, so there were more dyes, there were more fabrics. And he was taking it to the staunch place of like, redefining what his self was against all of this.
Stephen Bradford Long 12:02 It makes complete sense to me how this ties in with Satanism for you when we were texting earlier today in about this conversation. It's like, you know, I would like to talk about satanic dandyism, and you were like, well, that's just dandyism, and, or something along those lines. And I'm, and I'm absolutely seeing why. How, you know, kind of standing in not an opposition, but in, in compliment to an in defiance of the fashions of society, and raising the material and intellectual to a religious status. Everything you're saying so far? It makes it makes perfect sense to me how that connects with your Satanism is oh,
Vivian de Assam 12:54 it was always kind of an element of who I who I was, it was, there was a joke, I will have a bunch of Danny's I've spoken to where we talk about the time we realized we were one because you're not really supposed to call yourself when other people call you at the end. But that's not necessarily true. You figure it out early on. It's like, how did you react to the first time you scratched an important object in your life?
Stephen Bradford Long 13:20 Are you are you are you asking? Are you asking me? Are you asking me? So by? You can answer that one I? Okay. Well, the question was am How did you react when you scratched an important object?
Vivian de Assam 13:32 The first time you were cognizant of scratching something that was important,
Stephen Bradford Long 13:36 I don't remember. Which is probably an indication of something.
Vivian de Assam 13:42 Yeah, but this is just this is just a form of vandalism. But a lot of dandies have a very clear moment in which they have damaged something that was a thing that they needed, adored. Or there's there's a part of you that just leaves when some of this damage occurs, because you it is damaged the beauty of this thing, and you can appreciate the broken thing as well. What scratched thing, but there's this this this sickness, and there's like, it's not what it should be it it's not correct. Now, that's so interesting. Yeah. But not everyone has that reaction, because dandyism is not necessarily just refinement, but it is commonly a resistance to imposed social standings or imposed ideas of how people should be. This is why you find a lot of prominent dandies that get spoken of in history or problem or are very clearly or probably weren't clear of do Valley and Charles Mulder, they're being notable exceptions. They were very much sis hat men
Stephen Bradford Long 14:46 would would Quinton, what was his name? The British the Quinton, Chris. Yes. Would he would he qualify as a dandy? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Okay, because when I think of like modern dandy He definitely comes to mind.
Vivian de Assam 15:01 Yeah. And there's a huge movement in black communities. Particularly, I'll mention one group. This is in the swan because of South Africa for working class Zulu men, who began hosting fashion competitions as a means of displaying wealth and rebelling against apartheid. So the swing movement was a non confrontational protest and resistance against the oppressive and an impressive and a righteous regime. It was this standing out of I am who I am, and I will cultivate the self. And when you develop this armor, and it doesn't ever have to be a suit, it can just be your aesthetic choices, your sense of self, your presence in your life, or the things that you choose to surround yourself with, becomes a bulletproof screen against the plagues of culture of a culture that doesn't want you or doesn't understand you. And that is very consistent through a lot of dandies throughout history. Because you have Oscar Wilde, you have John Lorraine, who was another who I would I was often likened as like the the French, Oscar Wilde and a lot of his his behaviors, but you also have Radcliffe Hall and her longtime partner, Guna Vincenzo, Lady Trowbridge. They were very out and proud lesbians in a time where that was very dangerous. But no one really knew how to stop, you know, because they were just so such a force of themselves. And you know, when they shouldn't have been stopped, but that's how people defended themselves against unjust laws and the process of society, you become this magnificent, magnificent, untouchable spectacle of a thing. And people go off bullshit, that's rad as fuck, and I can't really do anything about it.
Stephen Bradford Long 16:57 You were carrying on so beautifully, when while I was having to untangle my cat from my headphones through. So I like I heard I heard a lot of what you said and it. And so it, it sounds fundamentally queer in a lot of ways. Like it. It's an act of, of queerness. It's an act of rebellion. It's an act of defiance and kind of an act of overcoming, as you described its armor. How does this intersect with your so I can, I can see how in broad strokes how this intersects with your practice of Satanism, in in maybe more specific detail. How does dandyism intersect with your practice of Satanism?
Vivian de Assam 17:47 Well, it's, it's for me, it starts with a refusal to be anything other than myself. And that is a that is a compromise that people make a lot. And it's something that I've unfortunately had to, for the sake of my own well being, pretend, pretend that it doesn't bother me to do it. But there is an autonomy that goes beyond a spiritual autonomy at the physical autonomy. It is, I will not be defined by what people perceive me as I can cultivate how I am perceived, and with Satanism, that is that aligns very much with like the idea of rebelling against things that are arbitrarily oppressive, be it the restrictions of gender expression, the restrictions of social mobility, the restrictions, of physical limitation of educational limitation, like if you haven't, don't have a degree, things like that. And it puts me in a place where like, I set the standard for my life. Even if I don't have the broadest control over it, there are things that I absolutely can control can improve can be, that does not involve a single other person putting that on me. And I don't have to accept that. And that was my early flirtation with Satanism. Anyway, being someone who was sort of fell between software cracks, I spent a lot of my childhood moving around pretty much like every few months, we would move to move to a different state. So I had to I had to bring many forms of myself to try to blend into society to the point where I went now I'm me and you can either take it or leave it and I will just deal with it because that will be ridiculous and amazing and everything else can back the fuck off and that they may not see me at answer your question is as nicely as you'd want it answered. But it's these things are ingrained. And so it became a a spiritual rebellion. That then very much fell in line with satanic idea.
Stephen Bradford Long 19:54 That makes complete sense to me.
Vivian de Assam 19:56 Also, Byron was a dandy.
Stephen Bradford Long 19:59 Yes, yes he was a dandy. No, I mean, all of that makes complete sense to me. And it, there's there is something really, really powerful about being being like, okay, everything in the world is very much out of my control. I feel out of control, things happen to me against my will. And yet, in spite of all of that, I am still going to comport myself with authority. I'm, I'm still going to carry myself and with with empowerment is basically what I'm hearing you say? It's like, okay, there's an undeniable thing. Sorry, no, no, no, no, please go on.
Vivian de Assam 20:42 There are some undeniable things about yourself that you have to hold fast to, when things are bad. Even when things are good. You don't want to lose yourself. And so a lot of people, they will also describe dandyism as the cultivation of the self. And so, you surround yourself with things that reaffirm who you are and the person you want to be and the image of yourself you want to project. And it's but it's and everyone does this to some extent, but and dandy as of your very key keyed into what those things are for you.
Stephen Bradford Long 21:18 Yeah, yeah. And, and, I mean, I can see how deeply that syncs up with Satanism and how that that kind of rhymes with religious practice of Satanism, as well. And you know, just listening to you talk it, it reminds me of how often I feel like people don't grasp just how deep Satanism is part of who I am, like, I am a Satanist to my bones to my marrow. I am a Satanist. Because Satanism is so integral to my development of myself, if like, exactly what you're saying, and to that sense of triumph and overcoming, you know, facing, live grow growing up in ex gay therapy in the South. It is so integral to who I am that so often I feel like people don't grasp just how deep a part of a just how deeply I am a Satanist.
Vivian de Assam 22:24 And I think sometimes people don't even think about how deeply Satanism is part of who they are. And if you don't have that conflict where you go, this upsets me on a fundamental level, because these are my principles, and this is what I do. I'm not saying you need to reassess your your Satanism but you need to figure out why it's not as resonant and it's okay, if it's not, you can Yeah, you can be part of a community, you can embrace ideas without being integral. But for me, I don't know a life where that isn't the case. But I also realized at a young age, I've probably been a Satanist since I was about 10. Say, Yes. And it's something that just came out over time. And it was like the Church of Satan never resonated with me, because I didn't. I didn't think it was self creating enough, even though it is very, you're, you're a master of your domain you are, you can strike back, you can take control. That didn't seem fun. That seemed angry.
Stephen Bradford Long 23:29 I know exactly what you mean. It wasn't self generative. It wasn't authentically, like, it didn't have the creativity. Yeah, yeah, you can
Vivian de Assam 23:39 be rebellious. You can be blasphemous, you can like has like, listen, all the Danny's I've mentioned so far have been people who have gone against the grain, or who have upset people tremendously by being so deep in their convictions of who they are. And these things should have aligned. And those those things didn't align too much with the way that like CEOs was presenting these things. So I was I was sort of very freeform romantic and the decadent satanist before I ever found more philosophies that Cohen that sort of converged with my own view, What
Stephen Bradford Long 24:16 lessons do you think the current satanic community learn from dandyism if, if they want to, you know, like what, what lessons are available in terms of aesthetics and so on within Satanism,
Vivian de Assam 24:35 I think being considered and not not conspire not to being considered as a person but you how you are the active choice to consider and analyze and compare how certain things work for you and your community and what these things mean together, and it's okay to be completely again Just a lot of things that don't jive with you. But you also have to analyze when you externalize and internalize that conflict. And for like, am very good at that up until a point where his tension became he was feeling dismissed. He was feeling rejected from society. So he snapped in the worst way possible, which was to essentially call Prince George, who a fat man. Oh, no. He said, Who is that fat man as if, when Prince George was speaking at a party, so being dismissive of loyalty mean dismissive of a guy who was paying all of your debts, and it was you have to know that line, so there's a lot of like, trial and error in the cultivation of the self that you should also learn from past mistakes, we should also have fun with it, it should be something that the the core thing I want people to take away from it is that it's okay to not do what everyone else is doing. It's okay to stand apart from things. If they don't feel okay to you. And rather than being destructive, you find a way of thriving within it, you find a way of making it making a situation yours or finding the thing that brings you joy, or reaffirms that part of yourself that wanted to be a part of this in the first place.
Stephen Bradford Long 26:26 I think that there was something really profound about what you just said, what was his line? Who is that fat man? How one of the pitfalls is dismissiveness. And you know, I was expecting you to say something, you know, when you said, Oh, he snapped in the most terrible way. I was like, Okay, who did he murder? Like, like what did himself drank? He drank too much Absinthe and then went on a killing spree. But no, there's there's like, real wisdom in that of his breaking point was when he said Who is that fat man? And that part of the temptation or part of the one of the easy pitfalls, is standing apart without being dismissive. Yeah. Does that make sense? And yeah,
Vivian de Assam 27:19 and that's something that gets lovely leveled against dandies all the time that they are stoic, they're reserved. They're assholes, because they are. Mis they are very dry, or they are unnecessarily cruel, which is not always the case. If we look at Oscar Wilde he would say a bunch of stuff to rile people up at parties or to say there was an author named Charles Swinburne who said that he was this just horrible sexual predator and monster and Oscar Wilde's response was he has never had sex in his life like that was wild was just like know that cut it
Stephen Bradford Long 28:03 and Wild Wood No,
Vivian de Assam 28:05 yes. It was one of our was trying way too hard. And so yeah, there's a there's a cruelty applied to dandyism that's not necessarily there but it you don't always have to be a wit to be a daddy it does help because it's a defense mechanisms how you fight if you can't do other things, but my man my my train of thought just went off.
Stephen Bradford Long 28:26 No, no, no, no, I but I hear what you're saying how it's it's always you know, that there's been a you know, cruelty assigned to dandies, but it is, that is not necessarily true. That is, that doesn't necessarily end there's there's a place for which there's a fine line between wit and cruelty. Like there's severe it is a razor thin, microscopic line. I absolutely hear what you're saying about how the, the, the breaking point can be. snideness, the breaking point can be dismissiveness, and honestly, standing apart without being dismissive, and honestly, you're so good at that, like you're, you're very very very good. You know, I watch you interact with people online and I see you and you're just so very good at just not dismissing people. Like you're you're very good at just letting people have their thing. Like you don't trash other people's things.
Vivian de Assam 29:28 I believe everyone needs that space to create their own thing and, and I mean, whatever I feel on the inside. I might might be you know, upset by something. I might be like, Oh, I wish I had that. I wish I had that idea. This was a big, this is a big deal when it comes to like literary dandies, the there's a competitiveness and a fighting as it's to it. I mean, back going back to wild and his relationship with Bram Stoker about this. Oh, they were childhood friends. All Frenemies.
Stephen Bradford Long 30:00 I had no idea. I knew that I knew. So I here's a piece of before we get to that a really fun piece of while trivia is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde met with a publisher or had a had a dinner party. And it was during that meeting, that the publication for Dorian Gray and Sherlock Holmes was decided. It's like, it's like Sherlock Holmes and Dorian Gray came into existence at this at the same night at the same dinner table. Anyway, sorry, go. That's very, very cool. So that's my piece of trivia.
Vivian de Assam 30:46 So stalker and wild like Oscar Wilde mother was very fond of Bram Stoker, Oscar went to the United States and famously kissed Walt Whitman, because Bram Stoker had been a just 19th century fanboy for Whitman, so wild wit and just one up them on that. And it was a tension that kept going and growing and growing and being very petty and lit and literary. And then Wilde was in prison. And that's when Dracula happened. And there are some there's one, I cannot remember the name of the person who wrote this paper but there is a an academic paper that is making the the connection that Dracula is Oscar Wilde and that the not in like direct action, but in like what Stoker saw that he symbolized in a corruption that corruptive seductive, like this is why it's really great that the the 90s Bram Stoker's Dracula film is so heavily keyed towards a decadent color palette. Yeah, because they were making that case and he was making it very clear that like, decadence is in this Dracula is this like, knowing decadence? And so that's why on my arm here, this is sorry for the listeners. So
Stephen Bradford Long 32:09 he's so he's showing me a tattoo on his forearm on the inside of his forearm. Yeah,
Vivian de Assam 32:16 so this long, the long lines here that kind of looks like a tower. This is actually Aubrey Beardsley, a signature from the back of Solomon.
Stephen Bradford Long 32:24 Oh, amazing. And then there
Vivian de Assam 32:27 are bats here to wreck to symbolize the possible connection to to write while being.
Stephen Bradford Long 32:34 So let's, let's put all the literary connections here together. Sallie Mae is one of Oscar Wilde's most celebrated plays? And then of course, Dracula, you know, the bats representing Dracula. But yeah, so, so Bram Stoker basically seeing the potentially possibly painting Dracula as like this excessively decadent figure who is kind of to his core predatory. Yeah. And, you know, is there some truth to that when it comes to Oscar Wilde because good. I brought this up last week in my conversation with Ben Burgess, where it's possible that a lot of the sexual activity that Oscar Wilde engaged in with rent boys would today be considered child sex abuse. Yeah. And so was there a there was obviously a dark side to Oscar Wilde and so to what degree do you think Bram Stoker is correct?
Vivian de Assam 33:47 I think he's probably not entirely incorrect but I also think it was him painting the picture of wild being corrosive and destructive to him as well. There's there's on this is I don't I don't know if the stoker estate is still particularly litigious but there was an ongoing theory that broker himself was was probably clear in some some capacity
Stephen Bradford Long 34:14 am I about to get sued by the stoker state anyway? They'll go on
Vivian de Assam 34:20 but no one was at one point I don't know if they still are.
Stephen Bradford Long 34:24 No one knows no one knows. i No one knows I exist, so it's fine.
Vivian de Assam 34:28 Yeah. But yeah, there was the implication because that's why the the anecdote about Walt Whitman and wild going out of his way to meet him and you know, pop off about that was also trying to clap back at Stoker and fading his family and big being rather his mother being rather fond of Brom circa so it's like, no, no, this is getting way off the rails for what the show is but no, no,
Stephen Bradford Long 34:56 no, I mean, I love I love all of this stuff, though. And I I totally forgot how we even got on to this tangent, but this, this is the kind of lore that I love. And it's my favorite literary period. I love like late Victorian, early Edwardian period. That's my favorite period of writing. So, ya know, I, we could go on about this forever. So the so so at the beginning of the show, we threw out another word, which was decadence. Yes. So we've discussed dandyism, some of the defining features for you about dandyism, and that dandyism is queer, it is rebellious, it is, it stands in defiance, it is more than simply clothing. It has the pitfall of snideness on occasion. So we've gone over all of that, what is decadence?
Vivian de Assam 35:52 Well, in the the more historical view, it is the it is decline is decay. And the biggest period of decadence people refer to when they particularly in the timeframes that we're talking about the famous Dannys and decadent literature. The fall of Rome is like the pinnacle of decadence. It was this glorious, expansive empire that crumbled into darkness and Christianity. And and there's a there's actually some leading theories on what causes periods of decline. And one theory is that Christianity itself causes this because it is removing the your agency in the world. Why do you why do you care of things last if your eternity is not here?
Stephen Bradford Long 36:44 Yeah, yeah, that's super interesting. And so decadence having to do with decline with moral decay. So I personally associate the word decadence with my experience growing up gay in the church, because gay people and trans people were always accused of being decadent of ushering in decadence into society. And so whenever, so if, if ever people hear me, you know, say hello degenerates on my show houses on my Patreon show, that's how I start every show, you know, degeneracy and decadence, those have become terms of empowerment for a lot of queer people, because it was they were weaponized against us. And it's kind of a for me, it's worth questioning whether what society calls decadent and degenerate actually is whether it actually is those things whether it is actually the decay of society, it's worth questioning that
Vivian de Assam 37:51 Yeah, so the the the first quote unquote decadent piece of literature that people cite is our abour by by Horseman's and he wrote it in a response to naturalism. Because naturalism was very obsessed with the lives of the ordinary, the destruction
Stephen Bradford Long 38:08 of Zola. Zola was like the dead just making sure that I have all my figures, right. Okay.
Vivian de Assam 38:17 Yeah, so Zola and the naturalist school. Horseman's was originally a part of that, and he kind of got fed up with it. Because it wasn't, it was making a point, but it was very, it's very repetitive to be like, yes, this woman is slowly starving to death on the streets of Paris. How many times can we write that story?
Stephen Bradford Long 38:36 Yeah, so So naturalism was a literary style, that kind of focused on the hyper realism, it was like hyper realism and the like, the mundane hyper reality of life of like, living in the city, you know, providing for children. So on and so from doing a job, that kind of stuff. Am I right? Yeah. Okay, very much. So why is his mom who Satanists will know, is the author of law. Isn't law or LA bas? La. Okay, so, he is the author of What Satanists will know as the author of La bas law, which is the first literary depiction of the black mass. But why why is he considered decadent, like why is that genre considered decadent, like when you read LA, it's like dark and spooky and degenerate, and they're prostitutes and like they're, and they're all have like these filters, and there's the coltan is like super badass like it I've fucking love that book. But why is that considered decadent literature?
Vivian de Assam 39:54 Well, it's, it's sort of embracing and said Celebrating a juxtaposition of decay and the beauty that you can find within it, as well as corruption and subversion. So after he was was wrote law, he just nosedive directly into the hardcore Catholicism to the point that he was actively trying to accuse priests of being satanic being satanic like he went from not really giving a shit to Christian, a Catholic fundamentalist. But the reason this is important to me is that there's a, a Dutch primitive painting I forget the painter, if you have it's been a bit since I've read LA. I could look it up. It's right here. But there's a Dutch primitive painting of Christ, that He goes into excessive detail on the grotesqueness of the depiction of Christ and it's and how we're moving it is. And this, this painting became one of the things that like, pushed him over the edge and in directly back into Catholicism, Catholicism. So there's this luxuriating in the vileness of the mind of the world of the tensions and just disgusting behaviors of humanity. And it's decadent, because it sort of rebels in that. And a lot of decadence is jarring. It is the worst people of John Lorraine wrote nightmares of an ether drinker, after he drank ether for a while. And he was basically recounting through through fiction, though the nightmares and horrific visions and the anxieties and mental frustrations and just abs, the obscene horrors that were being forced into his mind through this experience. And so decadence is just a kick the door down. You want to talk about what people are feeling? Well, let's really think about what makes people feel disgusting, how people rebel in that how people find beauty in death, and the destruction of nations. And
Stephen Bradford Long 42:19 this, and there's, there's also a positive spin on it, which is what I brought up earlier, as well, not that that isn't positive, like I'm definitely into all of that. I'm here for it. And it's, it's worthwhile asking how many of those things are actually destructive. And I think that that that is very, very satanic. And I also see that kind of connecting with dandyism in a strange way of well, society says, this thing is, is decadent and destructive. Is it really we're going to, to drive that car off the cliff and see what happens. And, and we're going to test the limits. And I think that there are times when that is really important. There are times when society needs to be pushed like that. And I think Satanists play that role. Now, it sounds like Satan, dandyism Dan dandies have played that role through history, as well and decadent literature. Yeah. And
Vivian de Assam 43:21 it's, it's, it can be hard to get into, because a lot of that can authors are considered not particularly great. Because it's like, their, their prose is, is just plotting their imagery is borrowed from somebody else. It's, it's very incestuous when it comes to ideas and imagery and notions. But through that, I love it too. Because it's a it's a response to naturalism, which was this very much, here's the struggle and the existence of life. And then decadence came along with like, you know, everyone's actually an asshole. And let's talk about that. And so a lot of these characters, none of these characters are likable. You see people being consumed by jealousy, by rage by pettiness, you see obsessions with just fabrics and color, and things that are destructive to a point where you're unmaking yourself to the consumption of goods and services. And all of this is just to make the case that like, yeah, things are a bit bad. And everything is everyone shares this burden of being a bit fucked up.
Stephen Bradford Long 44:30 It seems like every, every one of them has to have what I like to call the curtain chapter. You know how in Dorian Gray, I think it's chapter 14, or 15. I know that because it's seared into my psyche. Well, we'll have to like double check if that's right or not after the show, but how there's that one chapter is like the massive speed bump in the book where it's just like, and then he got into religious vestments, and then he got into Orientalism, and then he got into that He got into Oh, I don't know mob curtains and then he got Eddie's like it it just goes on and on and on and I've noticed that that's a trend in a lot of these books.
Vivian de Assam 45:12 Yeah and there's there's a an intense nostalgia aspect to a lot of what people being seen as decadent or decadent literature gets into because when we have so one of my favorite authors Jane did over there. So Jane della were there was another was one of the few women in the French decadent movement. And she was in a this is somewhat of people now think it's somewhat apocryphal, but she was not on good terms with John Lorraine. Neither here nor there, but she wrote a lot of period pieces of like Palace concubines in foreign lands. Yeah. She also wrote an amazing and amazing thing called the the Android the Android den Andrew. And I cannot say the word now. That's okay. It's about spelling. Women who get hysterectomy is to be relentless, demonic lesbians.
Stephen Bradford Long 46:12 Ooh, that sounds amazing. Yes, that sounds like it needs to be a movie by Lars von Trier. Yes.
Vivian de Assam 46:20 But that's like she was very it was it's also like rebelling against the status quo for what women should be doing and literature. Because a lot of her stories are raunchy and completely botched. She also in that in the same collection, that's Natalie books put out, wrote a hit piece on Lorraine being predatory the same way. Oscar Wilde was accused of being predatory.
Stephen Bradford Long 46:42 Yeah, that's fascinating. And so yeah, I mean, some of these people aren't great. It's kind of like the beat poets. How brilliant incredible writers a lot of them were creepy, awful people. But yeah, cuz
Vivian de Assam 46:55 like Lorraine made his job turning word. So he was he was a journalist. He wrote short stories. He wrote poems and what plays I have a book back here called Lord villian black masses, which is a written by an author who lost his status in the world because he was accused of holding black masses. But he was really just an unrelenting pedophile. And John Lorraine took, like, made it a point to make his life hell because of it. So that guy, in response, wrote a hit, wrote a hit piece on Oscar Wilde, and John,
Stephen Bradford Long 47:33 goodness, all of these people are just at each other's throats. And I love all of this lore because it, it doesn't sound important. But I think it actually is, I think that these people are a lot of these people are like the secret architects of society. These people have an enormous amount of influence over pop culture, and subcultures, which then eventually, like emerge into the mainstream. And so it's like, in the same way, I think Aleister Crowley and Madame Blavatsky and several other you know, occult giants are kind of the secret architects of society in a lot of ways. So are these various writers they've had such a huge influence, but in a, in a way that we might not realize so to anyone who might be listening to this thinking this is this is who might want to dismiss this as unimportant I actually think is very interesting and very important.
Vivian de Assam 48:37 Yeah. And if you look at like, a lot of decadent authors, influenced the works that you you want to read now, like Robert W. Chambers is listed as a decadent author. He was a decadent writer. And the king in yellow is a highly like, sought us cited book for authors like HP Lovecraft
Stephen Bradford Long 48:58 and Neil Gaiman, and then it just trickles down to like Stephen King and to all of these, you know, to all of the tastemakers as well in various cultures, ya know, it this stuff is huge.
Vivian de Assam 49:13 Yeah, and then and all of these guys were mean like ballplayer was one of the foremost translators of pole into French. And pole, being in that very gothic style, sort of laid like painted the scene, that decadence been copied, and distorted and made grosser somehow. And so these things are, and Poe was also influenced by writers who work who came before him who are then tied into preset are how we talk about romantic Satanism and we talk about just literary freedom and vision and all these things. So in terms of decadence, and why I obsess over it is that So it is this like little treasure trove of things that are the unknown influence of everything you've probably ever read. Yes. And sometimes things for people who write don't know they're influenced by those things.
Stephen Bradford Long 50:11 Absolutely. In the last few minutes here, for someone who is interested in developing their own satanic aesthetic, point their ship in a specific direction,
Vivian de Assam 50:27 well, for I will start with for me, and a lot of people are already doing it, it is just the things that you like. Yes. And you you assess the things that you like in the friend through line, is it? Is it just the imagery that you're resonating with? Or is it the prose? Is it the sound? Is it the taste the smell, the the feeling when you walk into a room, and it's a certain color, or a certain temperature? How do these things make you feel these things are not disconnected from your sense and your identity as a Satanist. And they're not disconnected from how you book how you enhance your own Satanism.
Stephen Bradford Long 51:06 I love that. And, and because Satanism is what our mutual friend penname, who calls a carnal religion, it is a religion of the body of it is a religion of the material of the material world. Those things, those sensations, those kind of sensual experiences are very important. And as you said, they aren't disconnected from our Satanism. So I think that's a brilliant place to start.
Vivian de Assam 51:35 Yeah, and so and that's also the key point of dandyism. Like, if you, it's that same cultivation of the self. So if you want to, if you want to cultivate your own satanic aesthetic, you just need to think about what actually motivates you as a person. And it doesn't have to be wearing every black craft shirt, you see. But if it is that dope, you go ahead. You rock it, you can wear those prints all day. And there's nothing wrong with that. It you don't have to listen to metal, if you do. Awesome if you don't, what else is there? And how do these things tie into your perception of yourself and how you engage the world.
Stephen Bradford Long 52:16 I love that. All right. Well, I think we are at the end of our time, but this has been great. You're welcome back anytime.
Vivian de Assam 52:23 I had a lot of fun. Hopefully I wasn't too rambley i Oh, this is the problem when your your Satanism and your aesthetic view are very tied to one another. It just becomes this one like miasma of influence and ideas and interests.
Stephen Bradford Long 52:39 I totally get it. But no, I don't think you we're rambley at all. And also I just absolutely adore you like we see each other on a near weekly basis because of ordination council. So it's great to have you on the show. Now I think all of ordination Council has been on the show, which is great. I'm just tapping all of my colleagues for content. That's good.
Vivian de Assam 52:59 Also, I remembered the name of that book isn't Demi sexes is the one about the hysterectomy is creating demonic lesbians.
Stephen Bradford Long 53:06 Oh, also one last question before we wrap up three books that you would recommend to our audience, three books on this on this or any topic?
Vivian de Assam 53:17 Okay. Well, I highly recommend that you get or try to find who is a dandy by George Walden. This is a analysis of dandyism from his perspective. And it also read he translated Dr. Bailey's essay on both ramble. So that's a great one nightmares of neath a drinker by John Lorraine, I think that's a great dislike, do you want some decadence? Do you want some decadence in your face? So you should you should read that that's if you don't like that you probably won't like anything else. And that's not true. You will probably like other decadent things, but you probably won't like a lot of French decades. And my last one is an awful wall one. It is the Vesuvius club by Mark datas.
Stephen Bradford Long 54:07 What is that?
Vivian de Assam 54:09 It's Mark Davis wrote a three novel series about a man named Lucifer box. And Lucifer box is a Edwardian super spy. This sounds amazing. Who gets pressed into being a secret agent because he's clear as fuck. And it follows each book is a different stage of his life. So he starts as a young painter, super spy than he's a middle aged father. And then he is a decaying James Bond.
Stephen Bradford Long 54:45 That sounds absolutely incredible. So I will put all of those in the show notes for people who want to check them out. All right, well, that is it for this show. The theme song is wild by eleventy seven. You can find it on Apple Music Spotify, or wherever you listen to music. This show is written, produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and is a production of rock candy recordings. As always Hail Satan. And thanks for listening