Podcasts/Sacred Tension-Nyx Fears MASTERED7ajhj
Nyx_Fears_MASTERED7ajhj SUMMARY KEYWORDS people, transphobic, film, gay, life, psychedelics, world, watch, sleepaway camp, horror, movie, experience, sam harris, person, feel, bad, rock candy, absolutely, book, vomit SPEAKERS Peterson Toscano, Stephen Bradford Long, May Leitz
Peterson Toscano 00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast I am Peterson Toscano I host bubblin squeak here on the rock candy network until personal revealing story whispered Did you just masturbate because I felt a terrible presence of evil. Enter the I make prank phone calls to the past. I'm a federal thought Eliza heimbach freaking hammer out into the future because my boyfriend and I are just not having enough sex all the time. You just have to listen to it. It's too hard to describe, check out bubble and squeak wherever you listen to podcasts.
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. In this episode, I speak with May of the YouTube channel Nick's fears it's incredibly hard to even begin to describe this conversation with me. I think it might be one of my favorite conversations that I've ever had on the show because it's presumably about one of my favorite topics, which is horror, and LGBT media. But in reality, it's about so much more. It's about trauma, fascism, psychedelics, childhood neglect the trans experience, gay sexuality May and I cover so much and Mei is such an interesting and even brave thinker. And she's really not afraid to delve into some terrifying places, but with wisdom and humor and joy and appreciating all of the complexity of horror films, as well as difficult life experiences. Now that said, this episode does get into some pretty dark areas, we discuss child abuse and neglect. We discuss horror themes and body horror, Gore, some stuff that you might find challenging. So while this is a fun and enlightening and humorous conversation, it is also a challenging one. So please take care of yourself. If you think any of these subjects will be difficult for you. This might not be the episode for you. But before we get to the conversation, I have to thank my patrons and by going to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long, you can support my work and ensure the long life of this podcast. I believe in the conversations that I'm having on this podcast and I want to bring them to you for free. But in order to do that I need support producing this podcast is incredibly hard work everything from booking guests to the end product and promoting it on social media and everything in between takes hours and hours and hours of work. And to make that sustainable, I need your help. So please, if you're interested in supporting me go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long there is also a link in the show notes, and you will get extra content every single week. Also, this show is sponsored by the satanic temple.tv. If you are interested in the occult and new religious movements, and documentaries and feature length films and weird fringe stuff, there is all kinds of interesting material at the satanic temple.tv. There are documentaries, there are feature length films, there are live streams, lectures, rituals, all kinds of amazing stuff on the satanic temple.tv. And with my promo code, you get one month free. So at checkout, use my promo code sacred tension all caps, no space and you will get one month free. Alright, well with all of that finally out of the way I'm delighted to bring you my conversation with May, of Nix Fears. May welcome to the show.
May Leitz 04:31 Hello. Thank you for having me.
Stephen Bradford Long 04:33 It's so good to have you on the show. I am such a huge fan of your YouTube channel, which is called Nick's fears and you cover like well actually I won't tell people what you do. How about if you tell us some about who you are and what you do? Sure.
May Leitz 04:48 So my name is May. I make videos for the internet. I make music as well. I'm a firm believer that art should challenge you should bring out Have the best and worst in you. And thus I've dedicated my life to exploring that concept to the ground. And I have turned over as many stones as I can at my ripe 28. And I assure you that while I am not in my 30s I have I've seen some shifts. So I have a tendency to come across as a bit more colds and mature than I am
Stephen Bradford Long 05:31 wonderful. You know, I adore your channel because I am a huge fan of horror. And you do this thing in your channel where you are able to approach super transgressive media and I mean stuff that I have not watched I plan on watching it but I have not yet gotten up the courage to watch evening. Yes, I read, I require something I don't know what I require. But you know, I'm, I'm getting up the courage to watch martyrs I'm getting up the courage to watch Solow and, and all the other stuff that you talk about. But you do this thing where you approach it with humor, your channel is really funny, but also with a level of moral complexity that I really deeply appreciate. It is such a breath of fresh air, because art is ambiguous. I mean, I feel like horror, it can be more of an extreme example of that. But art in general, because it's made by human beings, it is ambiguous, it is complicated, there is good and bad there. And you are able to lean into that in a way that I just find so refreshing on the internet right now. Because I don't see much of that. And maybe that's just my little corner of the internet where I'm, I struggle with not seeing much of it, but you have it and so I really appreciate it. So
May Leitz 06:51 first off, I very much appreciate that. But to bounce off what you've said, I genuinely believe that the first like 10 years of the internet seemed to be mostly just people kind of yelling about the things they liked and hated. And now we're in the new period, which is okay, now we're going to actually use the internet as an amazing communication device to talk about these like, frankly, very serious things, as well as the not so serious things. I mean, one one has to embrace humor in this world. And if they don't, they will fall by the wayside. It just is a tendency that we all end up in. And so I feel like it is my it's kind of my duty to not shy away from the things that are meaningful and difficult transgressive, but also remind people that there is always a weird kind of humor to it no matter what it is, and even in the darkness. And so I try to take people by the hand into the darkest things they can experience so that they can laugh about them and be free of them. That's sort of the goal. I think that's, that's,
Stephen Bradford Long 07:57 well I think that's fantastic. You know, my first exposure to you was I think a couple of weeks ago when I discovered your video on tide land, the film tide land, which is like Terry Gilliam's aborted terrifying undead fetus of the film. And you know, I saw tide land when I was oh, must have been like 17 or 18. And it horrified me like it was it was nothing like what I had hoped it would be. And it just left me like cold and horrified. And then you know, over a decade later I come across your video about it and the way you were able to speak about like Child Trauma and the way you were able to speak about just in general the experience of growing up with abuse and neglect in the way you were able to say on the one hand what happens in the in this film is inexcusable. Like what Terry Gilliam presents here. It's inexcusable. On the other hand, here is this depth and nuance that is worth appreciating. I love that and there isn't necessarily a resolution between those two things, right? Like there isn't, there isn't necessarily some reconciliation between the inexcusable newness and the goodness. Sometimes they just coexist.
May Leitz 09:10 Yeah, exactly. And we love we love Love, love, love, love a clean narrative. We love one because then we can go Oh, I like Star Wars. You know what I mean? But but the world isn't like that people aren't like that. And relationships between people aren't like that. It's just the world isn't like that. And so there's always a missing piece that you're trying to kind of just juxtapose or justify. And often it's like most of the time you just have to let it roll off of you but but that I think we also have a tendency to think that because something is really gross and confrontational that we shouldn't engage with it I'm I'm of the complete opposite mind talk about
Stephen Bradford Long 09:50 that some what what is it that leads you to engage with something like I don't know name a name is super water.
May Leitz 09:59 Islamic dolls.
10:01 There you go. Oh my god. I I actually I watched your episode about that. I watched it. I watched it about that trilogy. Yeah. Okay, so what is it that draws you to something like slaughter?
May Leitz 10:13 I think the important distinction to be made here is that typically whenever you're approaching something like very by the very utterance, it's implied that this is something you just happen to somehow be adjacently interested in, which isn't true. Like, that's super not true for me, I have no desire for for violence or vomit. So, so really, I am not the target audience for slaughtered vomit dolls, but that's precisely why it's perfect. Like, I'm not who this is for so I can see it differently than the people that it is for. But most of the people that it is for aren't actually going to critically look at it
10:53 who is slaughtered vomit doll or
May Leitz 10:57 you would be surprised you would be surprised. And also you would not be surprised. And and listen kittens. I I don't care what you mean vomit on each other no care, no
11:11 kink shaming, slaughter those dolls and vomit all over each other. Do you do you children? I am here to support you as long as it's conceptual. vomit on each other conceptually. So but
May Leitz 11:27 future liberals wants
Stephen Bradford Long 11:28 to. So actually, it's really funny, because I had lunch with my producer this morning. And I was like, oh, so I'm I'm interviewing me from NYX fears and she's like this, you know, badass degenerate trash queen from hell, who is who's going to I mean that entirely implement but I accept. Okay, good, good, good, you know, degenerate trash queen from hell. She's coming on to the show to talk about really transgressive media and horror and LGBT horror and so on and so forth. And my producer Dante was like, oh, okay, so what what kind of stuff does she cover? I said, Oh, stuff like Salo. And he was like, Oh, what's that? And I explained Salo to him. And I was like, oh, you know, it's like fascists, torturing children, et cetera, et cetera. I was like, and it's based on a book by the marquis Mossad. And it's one that I've been really meaning to read. And he said, No, you don't need to read that. Why? Why? Why would you do that? Why would you ever do and he was like, he was like, Steven, I've really, I'm really concerned about you. Like you and your partner. You just watch horror. And I'm worried. And I'm concerned about you becoming desensitized, how deep and I imagine that you as the degenerate trash queen from hell, I imagine that you get that all the time. What? So I guess my first question that I have for you is, are you Oh?
May Leitz 13:05 That's a great, thank you. First off, thank you. You're the only person on podcasts with us. Like, let me just make sure that you're fine. Like, have you done anything damaging to your mind? Yes, first off, I've definitely damaged my mind through this, but, but that's okay. That's okay, because I'm going to say something really edgy. But it is kind of weirdly proven to be true for me, which is that life finds a way to mutilate us all. So understand that while I may be looked at as someone who is peculiar for that particular interest, that particular interest is partially what makes me a strong person. And my strength carries me through these experiences, too. So it is an endurance test where you're kind of like, Okay, do I really want to watch the third installment of the slaughtered vomit dolls trilogy this evening? And the answer is never Yes. But yet, I'm the person who must. And so I guess, I do believe that the things that you experience temporary your existence, they color, the way that you look at the world. So, you know, some people look at death, like a like a sad, dark doorway, and other people look at death as like this wonderful adventure to fall into. And so it's sort of just that, and I guess the thing that that just amazes me and I don't know this, this isn't something to tout my own strength. And this definitely isn't some sort of ego trip. But I will say that, you know, for every person that has told me that my interest in in Sao Paulo, or one 120 days of Saddam is is peculiar or shocking or bad like that the person telling me that is the person who needs to see it the most. Could you talk some more We're about that. Yeah. So some some things in this world are very much made palatable for us. This is this is fascism as well, right? So if we were just talking about salvo and specific the difference between Salah and most other traditionally world war two films is that film like the entire sole purpose is to remind the audience of the depravity of nothing more, but the depravity of it. Because every other thing that's going to show you that exact same time period is going to politely and kindly subdue that part of it. They're going to subdue that and make it make sense to you. But if it doesn't make
Stephen Bradford Long 15:45 make fascism make fascism palatable, make it go right.
May Leitz 15:49 Because ultimately, people still want to understand it. But but it is somewhat beyond comprehension in the sense that there's an evil it and the the evil that that people are allowed to do, and then continue to do so. Salchow is a unique film that focuses in it, it has the bravery to focus in specifically on the depravity of it, which makes it great. And also the director died for it, which I mean, I don't think I think if he would have asked him if he would have died for it, he probably would have been like, no, but But he he did, though, and that's the
Stephen Bradford Long 16:26 bit tell tell some of that story of how the director died for Salah. Well,
May Leitz 16:30 so the bid, I believe, and of course, the story, it has been sort of, I guess, developed over the course of time because ultimately, colts film as a worldwide discussion has been going on for a very long time, but in such a way now that that the information is constantly scrutinized. So he was killed, I believe in having something to do with a male prostitute who's gay, of course. And like only only a gay man could make that movie. Yeah. And so that's the thing. I mean, and you can look at the ramifications of it and say was it for the movie, you know, who knows? Maybe it was maybe it wasn't. But I will say this, when he made that movie, he was making a call out post about the people that were his neighbors, people that he lived nearby who were all around him that participated in fascist depravity, and then returned returned home to live as if they hadn't done like this absolute Cardinal evil. And he he made a movie to remind not his neighbor, but everyone else that we have not yet forgotten. And we should never forget. And because of this, he met his end, it only makes equational sense. And so that is ultimately like the the weird tragedy of this genre is like you get you get people like the slaughtered volatiles folks who are very much trying to just, you know, sort of have their cake and eat it too. Literally, literally. And it is pretty much that for them. Like it doesn't really fall too much further than that. And the depravity of it is their own sort of there's their own sort of horse to break. But then you've got stuff like salad or something like the devils can wrestle or like the Holy Mountain is a good example. I mean, there's just a billion movies like this, where the purpose isn't necessarily to satisfy any aspect of you. Satisfaction is the death of this, like this, this particular brand of enlightenment. And if they ever satisfied you, it completely like undoes it. So it very much is a prostration in the face of suffering, which makes it sound like it's worth more than it is mostly it is just sitting on the couch and going you This is gross. So you're
Stephen Bradford Long 18:57 using the word evil a lot when you talk about this, like when you talk about Solow and the fascism that it is representing. One of the things that I think really confuses people about those of us who are horror aficionados is how do we maintain a sense of what is right and wrong in the real world? While absolutely loving and relishing and enjoying horror movies? Right? What's your answer to that? I have my answer to that. But what is your answer to that?
May Leitz 19:30 Well, I have two one is a functional answer and one is a metaphorical answer. Well, the functional thing is to maintain your empathy. The Empathy part is crucial, because ultimately, horror is an act of empathy. It's like oftentimes we are introduced to a character, something that is going to happen to said character, and through that happening to that person. We safely experience it with them alongside of them and you It teaches us how to deal with that, as well alongside the person who's dealing with it themselves. And often women in specific feel there's this like empowering element to horror movies, not necessarily in that every film ends with like a final girl, like overcoming whatever, but that it's validating their concern, it validates their fear, it demonstrates to them that the things that they're afraid of are very real. And it's not necessarily the Michael Myers is of the world's you know, not you people aren't necessarily afraid of their Jeffrey downers. It's like the Michael Myers, in the world, in society or whatever man, you know, it's like, it's like these particular brands and evil, and I specifically say evil because like, in a woman's world, the the subtraction of autonomy is often perceived immediately as an evil. And it's often truly that. And what is that evil? Where does that come from? It's, it's, it's something that is with us. It's, it is like, in a weird, like, almost ontological way. It's just sort of always been with us. And it's always with us. So like, for a lot of women experiencing horror movies, it's the only thing telling them that they're right. In a world that's constantly telling them to shut up.
Stephen Bradford Long 21:20 It's validating the experience. Is that clear? In other words, it's telling them that they were right about their experience, and that the horror that they experienced is real. Exactly. You know, I had an experience when I was 19 years old, and I've talked about this on the podcast before, but I was in a shooting. I was in a mass shooting. And I was a Christian missionary at the time that everyone can go look it up. It was the Colorado religious shootings in 2007. And I was the fifth person in the hallway and the only one who wasn't shot and two of my friends were killed. So I was literally right there. And it destroyed my life. It completely ruined my life. But about two weeks after I witnessed this, about two weeks after I experienced this, or maybe it was it was three weeks, I had gone home back to the mountains in North Carolina, and was just beginning my recovery, like rebuilding my life from like, from witnessing this horrific act of violence, in which I lost two of my friends. And my best friend, the incredible drag queen, Miss Ida Carolina. She was like, okay, Steven, I know that you just went through a terrible horrific shooting. I know. But we are musical theater obsessives. And the new Sweeney Todd movie is out. And we have to go see, I am making you see Sweeney Todd. Which okay, it may it isn't the greatest movie, it's fine. Whatever. It's, it's, it's an okay movie. But it's also pretty violent, especially for someone who actually came face to face with a real life. mass murderer. Right? And Miss Ida was very sweet. She was like, okay, you know, just hold my hand. If you, you know, you can hold my hand all the way through, just tell me if we need to leave, like so on and so forth. And it was such a powerful, cathartic experience for me. Yeah, because up until that point, it was like the the murderer, the monster had no face. The murderer was this thing that I could not look at, because it was so close. And so horrifying. And Stephen King wrote an introduction to to the shining, where he talks about how real life tragedy and real life violence like has this blinding effect and how we need the ghost story and the horror story to basically be a filter so that we can look at that blinding sun. And that was exactly what I experienced with Sweeney Todd. Like I was able to begin to process it opened up. Exactly It opened up it like it unstuck me it unfroze me. And it was so cathartic, because it's like I was watching the murderer, I was watching the monster, but from safely behind the screen, right? It was like you wouldn't hurt me. I could watch him, but he wouldn't hurt me. Yeah. And you know, I honestly worry about people who are unable to confront darkness in that way.
May Leitz 24:24 Well, so there's two answers to that. One answer is absolutely. You know, to be worried about someone that that has a difficulty comprehending darkness is natural. I think it's natural for us to feel it's almost a protective thing. But on the other hand, life kind of makes us all the same at the end, or whatever. So, ultimately, these people are that can't handle the darkness. They will even they will and so oftentimes it's It's about identifying, not necessarily someone's ability to comprehend their darkness, but when they're going to be ready. And sometimes you have to be invited to the theater to go see Sweeney Todd. And other times, you know, it manifests differently. So to kind of, I guess, connect with you a little bit, I once was inches away from a cop shooting a guy to death. And it very much changed my life too. And, and that's, that's one thing. I mean, everybody's got a life chock full of shit, and no one wants it. But obviously, I mean, I've, I've had a very rough life. And I'm sort of in a different era now. And it's almost like, I'm finally able to look back at it. And I actually think that the looking back has become more of a utility to me, because you kind of can help people that are going through it by your own, sort of looking back at it in a in a very public way, or in a very open way. So I suppose that's the other utility of media, there's some sort of driving force in us that isn't financial, always. And so I think anybody looking at it, to the purely financial is kind of completely missing the point that regardless of money, I'm pretty sure we need to be doing this. And I we need to be doing this as in confronting the dark zactly. We need people to help us do that. And it is very rare that someone can and so I guess what happened for me was I just saw sort of saw the opportunity where I was like, wow, I know too much about this particular brand of pain to not share this. And so that's where tideland comes from, pretty much. I mean, that's, that's why that video exists. It just it's more or less, just no one was willing, because everyone was scared. No one was willing to talk about it, because everyone was too scared of what he had done, or what Terry Gilliam, right? They were too scared of what he had done. And they're also too scared of themselves, they were too scared of like, allowing that to be an aspect of themselves. And I see it, you know, a lot in like journalism, they're very afraid to pull things under their wings that don't invite good vibes, you know, but I think the building blocks of us are not the things we like, not the things we dislike, but the things that we have experienced. Like the things that make us whole, I mean, because like your brain fills in those gaps with all those movies that you've forgotten about.
Stephen Bradford Long 27:46 And, you know, I think the point that you made in your video about Thailand, was how, you know, everyone hated that movie, everyone, you know, it was panned, it was universally recognized as bad. And what you said is that they're it strikes such a painful and horrific note of what it's like to experience neglect, right as a child, and and how that neglect, and the abuse and the kind of child sexuality that is represented in that film, and just all of the things all all, you know, that whole bundle of just awful, terrible thing, right? How that struck such a horrible true note when like depth, people just couldn't handle it, right?
May Leitz 28:39 When, like, how how, how do we talk about these things properly? Right? Because because you can, you can, you can protect and put it behind words and walls as much as you want. But at the end of the day, the unprimed the problematic thing is still I think that is true of our universe. And that is this case, I think ticket child neglect and child neglect. How do we talk about it? If not like this, even though, you know, we, of course, can't morally, like support the man who would do this, but at the same time, how else could we have reached this conclusion? How, you know, I needed that film. I didn't want it. I needed it
Stephen Bradford Long 29:26 in the same way that I probably needed Sweeney Todd, it was like I mean, not that Sweeney taught in Thailand, you know, are comparable, but I it was like that thing that thought the ice because that's the power of story. Exactly. And, you know, we're constantly telling stories, and sometimes the only way to get through a trauma is to tell a story about it. And that's the thing that breaks the ice. That's the thing that breaks through and you fabricate it so that you can enter it. Exactly. Yes. I love that and you know, ice sometimes feel like in my experience, I love the ambiance right now the creaky doors in the cats. It's great. Very good. Very good.
May Leitz 30:09 Do you live in a haunted house?
30:10 I do to know I live. I live up here in the Appalachian Mountains Hill in a little cabin with six cats to rats a toad and where are you? In that area? If you I'm in Nashville. Oh shit. Oh, awesome.
May Leitz 30:26 I look better. Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Stephen Bradford Long 30:27 I love Asheville, everyone. Whenever I tell people that I'm in Asheville, they lose their mind course. But no, it's a great place and I manage like a hippie dippie grocery store here. Yeah, yeah, I used to teach yoga before before the zombie plague happened. Yeah, because I'm literally I am literally a Portlandia sketch. I am a gay yoga teacher who manages a small boutique organic grocery store like I am. I am that Portlandia sketch. But anyway, like
May Leitz 30:53 I too, am a Portlandia bit I have to be the crazy edgy goth lady who doesn't dress like a goth lady and also doesn't act like a goth lady, but just is because of osmosis. I guess. Like, I can't avoid that because it's just my mind. And then, you know, completely medicated with like psychedelics. It's just it's a stereotype.
Stephen Bradford Long 31:21 Is there any other way to measure isn't
May Leitz 31:22 and big opinion there isn't? Okay, no. I mean, other than medicine, other than better. Medicine is important. But so are psychedelics.
31:36 Any psychedelics are great. I mean, I live with some pretty crippling mental illness. So I should so I do not do psychedelics, but instead I meditate. Yeah, no, I get I do that I meditate and I'm on some great meds to keep me from, you know, hanging upside down in a bloody wedding dress from from my ceiling.
May Leitz 31:55 Yeah, that's, that's probably the correct way to be.
Stephen Bradford Long 32:00 That is what happens when I'm not on my meds.
May Leitz 32:02
Well, it's so it's so wild, the human mind, because, you know, I feel like some people they desperately need the reassurances of their day to day. It's like, yeah, it's like, and I've done SSRIs a lot, I've had a lot of SSRIs in my life. And so the bed is always you do this to be functional. And the functionality is like the utility of the SSRI, whereas a psychedelic is about drowning yourself in it, and then seeing if you can emerge from it, which is like, they're, they're two very different experiences, both are necessary, I think, to some extent, to in some facet. I mean, if it's not psychedelics or SSRIs, it's something else. We drown ourselves in one thing while we subdue ourselves to function in another way. And it's sort of the that's sort of the duality of it.
Stephen Bradford Long 33:00 That's a perfect segue because I would like to ask you about the relationship between the experience of drugs and horror movie, okay, you do that? Yeah, you have you have a fantastic video. I forget what it's called. Hold on. Let me
May Leitz 33:15 on the black rainbow or wait about drugs. What did I said about drugs? What did they know? Oh my God, what did they know about my habits?
33:27 I know so much about you now. I know all about your thoughts on necrophilia and cannibalism...
May Leitz 33:34 A lot, turns out. I was surprised. But see, this is psychedelics. Right? It's a string. Because most people look at a look at a person having sex with a dead body and they think God Get that away from me. But I think why are we doing this? Explain. Couldn't back your mind. Get in there. Let's Yeah, anyway, to continue what we
Stephen Bradford Long 33:58 were saying. Well, no. Okay, so brilliant. I love that. So the video that you did was thoughts on grossing movies. And you talk about how there is something comparable about psychedelics and then watching deeply transgressive and disturbing media. What is that link for you? Well, you know, as someone who's done a lot of drugs, so what? Yeah,
May Leitz 34:22 okay. So there's the mental stamina I think of, of watching any given movie like this, and then there's the mental stamina of watching that same movie on psychedelics, and then having, you know, watch Salchow on acid and see where that takes you. Because it doesn't take you somewhere that you want to that you want to go. But but it's certainly somewhere I've been. And and and most people can't say that, that that said having gone there. You know, I don't know how much is is down there. But I will say there's An acute awareness that's gained from it. And when you approach something that's deeply, deeply traumatic, like to experience, you know, like any of this in some way is and then, you know, a psychedelic has a tendency to make you feel like the thing you're empathetically experiencing is true of you, which is to say, if you look at someone being hurt, you feel their pain directly as if it's happening to you, as if you are there, like witnessing it directly. And it it's, it's a responsibility is what it is, it's, it's, it's a challenging responsibility to introduce yourself to this, this traumatic event in such a way as you can remove the camera from the equation, and put yourself where that camera is, and look at what you're looking at, and really look at what you're looking at. Yes, it this is, it's shitty, and also I'm gonna butcher it. But there's this weird sort of somewhat principle for enlightenment that it's like, it's like being completely in, in your moment, and an understanding. And so it's not necessarily about the potential dangers of entering that world as much as as it's getting there. And then siphoning every little bit of fruit out of it that you can get. And honestly, there's a lot more to it. And this is true of all film, and also all psychedelics that there's more to it than whatever it meets the eye. But at the same time, yeah, I, I cannot recommend that anyone on Earth, watch a Serbian film or something like that, on psychedelics, I can not recommend this like, and matter of fact, I wouldn't go as far to say, Don't do this to yourself. Don't do this to yourself. But if you must, like understand that when when you're there, and you're you've removed the camera from the scenario, and you are actually watching, genuine like rape, murder, violence against women in such a way that you can't help but look at yourself and think I'm next you know, that that is a it's a responsibility to the world that you gain in that moment that when you reenter your society post this situation, like you have a duty to prevent things like that from ever happening. It's like, you can't help but like, carry it all the time. And it's as if it happened to you, you know, but when you've had a lot of bad things happen to you and your life, like, in a weird, quantifiable way, like putting yourself in a situation like that, that is genuinely more shocking than the things that have happened to you, even though the things that have happened to you are shocking, you know what I mean? When I say you, I mean me, like, the things that have happened to me are shocking, but they are not as shocking as anything in a Serbian film. So, so putting yourself out there. And then when you come back, looking at your own trauma, and you think, you know, there's a unifying factor, there are unifying factors to to pain and violence and all these things. And these are the things that that we must be exploiting. We must, we must be, like pointing at and expressing their garish SNESs instead of running away or trying to make palatable their garish SNESs. We just show them the garish SNESs. You know,
Stephen Bradford Long 38:36 a lot of this is reminding me of something that i It's this feeling that I just can't shake, which is that a lot of a lot of horror people, a lot of people like us it in my personal experience, and I'm sure this is not true of everyone, but a lot of them have a very deep sense of what is right and wrong. Yes. And have a very deep engagement with morality.
May Leitz 38:59 Well, and also this openness to be wrong, this this it's an ego death is what it is. Yes. And it's a it's a removal of the self. And once you can get on at least an inch of that you can start to empathetically connect with the world in a different way.
Stephen Bradford Long 39:16 Yeah. And you know, I think I experienced that personally with and by the way, I really want to get to this topic, soon in this conversation about LGBT representation. I really want to get to that. And this film touches on that in controversial ways, but I personally experienced that when watching the film incident in a ghost land. I don't know if you've seen Gavin's by the same. It's by the same director of martyrs. It's his newest film.
May Leitz 39:43 I didn't know he had a new one. Interesting. He has he has a new one
Stephen Bradford Long 39:47 it is it is accused of being ferociously transphobic and ablest
May Leitz 39:55 Is it is it bumper boats is it like really super sad but In business, is it like, is it martyrs bad? Or is it like,
Stephen Bradford Long 40:03 you know, I have not yet seen martyrs, okay? My partner is the hardcore one in this relationship. He's the one who really goes to the depths. And he said that it isn't as traumatizing as martyrs, but it's still pretty fucking traumatizing. But you know, incident had a ghost land, it's very much about the exploitation and abuse of women and girls and and it shows it in such horrific ways that I was I left that film feeling just completely shattered in such a way that I was reoriented to be aware of the consequences of abuse in a way that I hadn't before consequences.
May Leitz 40:48 I want to pull that word out in specific, it's like, the consequences become apparent where, where in day to day life, the consequences are never apparent. We never know what the fuck we're doing. But for some reason, when we look back on things like this, like a rear view mirror sort of sense. We just, we can we can touch it is is that palatable. But yes, sorry. Continue.
Stephen Bradford Long 41:13 Yeah, no, exactly. And, you know, I've, I've been thinking about this a lot, because I recently listened to a podcast with Sam Harris, who is a I mean, talk about controversial people. He is super, super fucking controversial. And I mean, by the way, everything that we're talking about when it comes to like the ambiguity of human nature, the moral ambiguity of horror that applies to people and to public figures, like Yeah, people like Sam Harris,
May Leitz 41:45 and people, you know, people don't want to make that extension, but that extension is is vital,
Stephen Bradford Long 41:51 it is vital because yeah, I've written so much about this lately on my blog, everyone go read my blog, Steven Bradford long.com. I've written a fuck ton about like, the, you know, this person is good, this person is bad. That dichotomy and how for me, especially through meditation, that dichotomy is really breaking down for me in like, uncomfortable ways that are is kind of, you know, like jeopardizing my social life. Sure. Yes, of course. Because because it makes it does it makes, especially if you're a good lefty, you know, especially if you're like a re not just a good lefty, a good anything. If you are a person of standing in any community, those boundaries of good and bad being broken down makes your life feel precarious in those settings. Does that make sense? Does that make any sense? Does
May Leitz 42:42 it makes too much sense? For the world? Unfortunately, it's, it's yeah, it's something that I deal with a lot. So I have this, I'm told it's significant. So I'm bringing it up. I have this little bear in my car. And it is a it is a George W. Bush. Oh, forbear, I have this and it's sitting on my dashboard, always looking always looking at me just always sitting there forever. Now, of course, I have, I have, I have nothing but hatred for George W. Bush. So having that there is you can only have ever been a token to that, you know, but all the same. It's a cursed artifact that I must possess. For for to understand, and also to look at it as a bear to because in a weird, functional way, it is a beanie baby. It is it is an article of comfort. It is something that's meant to bring comfort. And yet here it is someone has has politicized the comfort. I don't know, these I
Stephen Bradford Long 43:50 don't know, it's complicated, that kind of that kind of complication. And you have to open
May Leitz 43:55 yourself up to have those conversations about those things, like so problematic people, right? You keep them around you to further understand them. Because most people won't make that effort. And then we wonder why we have fucking fascism. You know, we, we wonder why we have a police state? You know, is it because we've been ignoring the problems? Probably, you know what I mean?
Stephen Bradford Long 44:23 Exactly. And, I mean, we're going very far afield from what I was going to talk about, but I will go ahead and I'll go ahead and, you know, go further down this road, you know, I feel like I I've noticed this impulse that I've discovered, especially through meditation, where we have a tendency to want to round up or round down when it comes to virtue. So what I'm what I mean by that is okay, take someone like Sam Harris, I wrote a whole article about this about the great untruth of us versus them, which which states that the world is divided between good people and evil people and how that really It is embodied by Sam Harris, for people who have no clue who Sam Harris is. He is a he is a really popular neuroscientist atheist to do Shapiro, who one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse kind of started the new atheist movement. And he's just been like this persistent curmudgeon online, right? Whose whose whole life is just being like a public intellectual online. And but on the one hand, people, I see people wanting to ground up to his good, which is his meditation teaching, which is truly astonishing, his charitable work, his contribution to shining, you know, lights on versus on various kinds of abuse, right, just very he has done tangible important work his bad with being a douchebag about Islam, being a douchebag about you know, being kind of a race realist and promoting Charles Murray's bell curve theory of intelligence, right? Super not to do. That's super gross. And so I see people wanting to round up to his best or around down to down
May Leitz 46:10 the reality worst that Sam Harris is just sort of an entity that is is walking around and talking. He takes shit actually,
Stephen Bradford Long 46:18 he takes a shit. This is important to remember, he takes shifts. Sam Harris wants to stop. Yes, he doesn't deed shit. And he's not going to stop. Same with Jordan Peterson exactly with Ben Shapiro. Same with all of these. Same with all of these people. And
May Leitz 46:38 they all ship weird. We all know that. But they
Stephen Bradford Long 46:42 Oh, yeah. You know, there's there's weird, green, crusty,
May Leitz 46:46 toxic stuff coming out of them. But as we all would expect, but they still
Stephen Bradford Long 46:53 do it. Yes. And you know, I'm at the point where I'm like, I don't want to round up or round down. I want them to just be complicated. Because because I am complicated. I wouldn't want someone to round me up or down. That's a dehumanizing, right? Like, me being rounded up to my best moments. That's a dehumanizing because I am a terrible person. But rounding me down to my worst moments is also dehumanizing, because I'm also a good human being. It's you we can't do either and, and I see on the internet, human nature in general, but I think it's really ramped up on the internet is, especially on social media, this tendency to really round up or round down and I really want to resist that impulse.
May Leitz 47:39 Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, yeah, that's that's me on Well, yes. as well. I mean, that's me on is that called nuance. I believe when I was in college, I believe they call that a nuance, which is I believe, what you gain at the year, when you get like when you reach the age 27 Let's call it that. You grow this unmitigated, unending nuance, and it will never let you go.
Stephen Bradford Long 48:09 And you become, you become that guy wearing a fedora who always just has to interject with knew. Exactly,
May Leitz 48:15 exactly. And no one wants to be that guy, but,
Stephen Bradford Long 48:20 and I am that guy. I am that guy. I am the guy who's always like, but nuance and I hate myself.
May Leitz 48:29 So we all do. It's hating oneself is is to know that you can also be good. Absolutely. So gay stuff. We wanted to talk okay.
Stephen Bradford Long 48:40 Yes. So let's let's talk about gay shit because, ya know, we're just careening through hell right now. And so the audience just has to hold on tight because I don't even know where we're going at this point.
May Leitz 48:53 Fire world, whatever it isn't Dede,
48:57 whatever it is. So you have a fantastic video on Camp. sleepaway is it sleepaway camp? Yes, sleepaway camp. So talk about sleepaway camp and how you interact with sleepaway camp as a trans woman. Sure what watching this horrendously transphobic thing, right? So right, so
May Leitz 49:18 I edited out a bit in that video, and I regret I experienced regret, because I think only sometimes yes, only sometimes Sure, but only after making nuggets, typically. Or a cigarette. Those are the two regrets but what were we taught sleepaway camp so yes, so my big regret with that is that I didn't include a bit where I was talking at length about specifically what makes sleepaway camp transphobic and, and so it is sort of transphobic by design in that everything talking about transness prior to like five years ago, this probably transphobic at this point. So like, number one, we must not defend it, we must not defend it, we must let it be exactly as transphobic as it is, however. And so it's the however that is the key to marginalization. The it is what it is of, but like I can, I can watch this thing that was made to harm me. And yet I can get more out of it than anything that anybody intending to make it could have done and it's a unique role for a marginalized person I believe in I believe any gay person would agree with me in the same way that, you know, I feel like most people on the LGBT spectrum can can agree that seeing yourself portrayed in media is often often harrowing. It's often very, very harrowing. But yeah, enlightening. Enlightening. sleepaway camp is ultimately a movie about a trans woman who gets sick and tired of everyone being transphobic being shits, and trying to have sex with her. So she kills them in self defense. And then when she decides, why am I killing in self defense, I should just be killing people at this point. Because I mean, why not just just do that, because obviously, this is something deep within everybody's heart. And if they know the truth about me, they too will need to die. And and so she experiences this, like complete isolation from society. And in that isolation, she feels comfortable being vulnerable, and being herself and thus we see her for the first time. Yes, so it's, yeah, anyway.
51:55 Well, what's what's so brilliant about it, I mean, not brilliant about the film, but about the experience that you describe watching it is it's like, okay, the the intention of the film seem to have been truly, aggressively transphobic. I mean, it seemed the intention of the film seemed to just straight up demonize, and, you know, spread a more of a moral panic about those sexual deviants. Right. Right. And to spread more of that Aedes paranoia about LGBTQ people.
May Leitz 52:30 Yeah, on a lot of people kind of, say, the film, well, the film is not transphobic, because technically, Angela was forced to transition by her. And so she's not actually trans. And so what so that's, that's transphobic. That's the narrative, right? And a, that's transphobic, which means you get to choose if it's transphobic, you get to choose whether you get to watch it or not. If it's transphobic, it is no longer like on the table as something you really need for the analysis. Like you can let it go if you want, because, you know, it's bullshit. And then the secondary thing is that regardless of what Angela's prior life may have been, she is a woman in this situation, and she is a trans woman in this situation, and that does not change her reality. Yes. Is is the bit. And so it's not necessarily a movie about a crazy trans woman who murders a bunch of people as much as it's about a society that pulls a murderer out of a young girl. Yeah. So and it's perspectivism I guess,
53:49 and you know, it's like as from from your video about sleepaway camp, it's like as you got older, and as you transitioned, you started to see the film as like bucking and powering because Angela is actually kind of an icon Yeah. And, and it's so it's like, how this film transformed into being about this trans girl who is so fucking sick of everyone's transphobia that she is fucking killing them because they're awful, terrible bullies. And she is just kind of amazing and empowered and I caught I and and that's the kind of complexity that I experience all the time. Yeah, exactly. With with media that is the kind of is so it's I'm trying to think of a parallel to that. There are there is hardly one to tell. Yeah, no, I'm trying to think of there. I don't think that there is an exact parallel for that for like my my gayness my my sexual worry.
May Leitz 54:51 There's certainly a million bad dogshit depictions of gay men in the world. Oh, absolutely. Gilligan and but yeah, why, you know? Go ahead. Well,
55:06 and and I don't know, I think one is this is maybe a softer example but The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Yeah. Where Oscar Wilde was portrayed, are Oscar Wilde was portraying was very strongly coding Dorian Gray as gay. Yes, we're at the very least bisexual, right? Like it is very strongly coded as a gay book.
May Leitz 55:32 It might as well be text Oscar Wilde is gay.
Stephen Bradford Long 55:36 Exactly. And so it is all about the experience of being gay. Dorian Gray is a monster. Yes, in that book. Yes. Right. Dorian Gray is a monster. And the book is about the excesses of temptation and what temptation does to you? And, you know, I think it's significant that Oscar Wilde eventually converted to Catholicism on his deathbed. And the impression that I get is that he never really He, however, shame How could he, I mean, he was living in Edwardian England and then was like, it was he couldn't Yeah, it was. But that book, even though it portrayed homosexuality as something forbidden and dark, that was the first kind of that was because I grew up in kind of a conservative Christian setting, and I could really only expose myself to classics, that was my first exposure to what it meant to be gay, right. And it was incredibly empowering for me,
May Leitz 56:35 right and well, and I like the the what it meant to be gay bit too, because, like, I think you will definitely understand this to an extent and there is there is the like, tricky kind of intersectional asexuality that kind of intersects with all this, but if you subtract all that, like, I feel like being gay, in a way is kind of an act of learning about yourself through sex and through absolutely through your physicality, through your excesses through partners, through like, you know, it's crafting your soul through through sexuality, but the issue immediately, like arrives when when you're like, okay, so it's a it's a thing that is simultaneously encouraging me and empowering me to learn about myself through sex, paint myself through sex, but know also that there is this like, weird rotting core to you, that begins to develop, like when, when you like, choose to let your sexuality kind of I want to say like, justify your shame when it when it kind of replaces your shame, it's taking care of your shame for you, then it becomes ugly, but ultimately, it's it is a good thing. The sexuality is a is a good thing, in that it teaches you, but it also can teach you that habits like using it to overcome your shame.
Stephen Bradford Long 58:05 And that's kind of the quandary of being a sexual minority. Exactly. I mean, that that's the paradox. That's the catch 22 And I don't know, as you were saying that it made me think of Clive Barker. Who is Stan, I adore Clive Barker. I don't know like Hellraiser. I feel like Hellraiser is quintessential gay media, even though all of Clive Barker stuff is pretty heteronormative Yeah, well, but it's extremely heteronormative heteronormativity
May Leitz 58:30 of it is so false, it's garish that
Stephen Bradford Long 58:33 heteronormativity of all of his stuff. Um, and you know, I've read most of his stuff. And no, you're exactly right. The the heteronormativity of it is, is really false. And I feel like there's a deeper queer core that it is pointing
May Leitz 58:48 there's, there's like, you can always tell when a gay writer is writing straight, because Oh, yeah, because that gay writer is going to be a bitch about it. Like, this is gonna be great. And Steven Be bitchy about it. And I just love that. It's like, I think this is why like, we just got I love to read gay men talk about romance because it's such a different color of romance, then I feel like many others are, I guess. But anyway, no, I
Stephen Bradford Long 59:20 completely. I completely agree with that. And, and that's why even though Clive Barker's horror is so heteronormative it is so gay. Like that is not straight sex that is happening between a man and a woman that those those are two gay men fucking even in that book, even though they are presumably a sis woman and assesment. Right, exactly. But no, like what you were saying about that, that paradox of being gay and the rotten core that can emerge that to me is what Hellraiser is, right? You know,
May Leitz 59:55 you can extend I think an element here is that like, weave in word like what seems to be a bajillion years of bad bad press about being gay and also terrible representation almost exclusively, almost exclusively bad representation. So and also look at what's happened in society, gay culture has 100% been colonized in a cultural way. I mean, listen to every sis woman say yas queen, when she walks down the street, like it's so prevalent, the colonization of gay culture into the mainstream, so they will happily take the gold that they can siphon from us, but not the actual reality. So I feel like it's almost a duty of mine to to chronicle through a lot of these things that that are terrible representation and and own them, take them away from them take their toys away, because like, ultimately, the reason people got very pissed off at me because of my sleepaway camp video is big O P, people guess it was for that it was a bloody mess. Online, but the reasoning was because I took their fucking toy away. And they didn't like that I did this, because I made it gay. I and, and it was gay already. But I made it in a good, gay, I solved, it's gay. And now everyone's like, Well, fuck, you know? And so were you.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:01:37 So were you being, like, trashed by straight people or LGBT people? I mean, all of all of the above? Or could you tell?
May Leitz 1:01:43 It's difficult to tell? But But I mean, you can almost always kind of assume there's a little bit of a sort of a straight heteronormative thing going on, like, people that are very, like, I don't understand this. And I don't have to, you know, those people love horror movies. Yes, they do. They do. And they love to tell you, you're wrong about them. But here's the thing that they don't realize. I love to tell them that they're wrong and take their toys away. And so, sleepaway camp belongs to the gays now, it no longer belongs to them. And of course, they're pissed off about this, but but get with the times my dude, it wasn't yours anymore. You know,
Stephen Bradford Long 1:02:29 I love that. Yeah. I love that. I love that that sense of empowerment that comes from reclaiming weapons that have been used to hurt us and and listeners of my show will know that that is exactly what Satanism is for me, you know, my, my Satan is a queer Satan. Right? Because Because, yeah, because you know, the term Satan has been used to demonize minorities and religious minorities for centuries. Right. And so it and so for me, that's what Satan is, it is taking the toy away and using it to create my own thing, the way
May Leitz 1:03:02 I feel like I would put it because I personally am not a Satanist. Even though I have read Satanism, and there's certainly moments in my life where I've been, like, feel like there are elements of Satanism that I desperately needed in my life and I'm very happy that I have them. Like Absolutely, you're Satan adjacent. Exactly. Well, and also Satanism is kind of a fun exercise in that that don't round up don't round down thing. It's, it's you know, obviously, you shouldn't be wasting your your energy and time on in grades but at the same time, like, yes, you should. So yes, so you have to marry the two for yourself and that's what I like about the religion in in in in and of itself is it doesn't behave like a religion in the sense that it has dogma but rather it behaves in in like, an almost like a spiritual healing way. Yeah, absolutely psycho magic, which is kind of more my vibe. Like, I feel like I'm I'm more interested in psycho magic than much much of anything else. But what is that? So that's, um, I mean, it's not perfect, nothing's perfect. But it's it's the idea that there's a there's a there's a radical manifestation between one's like psychedelic spiritual existence and also one's mental health, like the direct link between something magical and something tangible. Like how do we affect the tangible and it's usually with like, some sort of, you know, miraculous fabrication like the we invent, like an end regardless of what we call it. And regardless of what it ends up being for us, it it's a necessary thing for us, psychologically, just sort of just to function and like and I feel like a lot of people see this as like, this is like a shovel Jack thing but I think you know, oh I love I love Love is like the bit where he's like atheists are actually very religious in the same way that most people aren't. But I actually feel like, in a lot of ways, an enlightened person can often manifest a in any Christian as much as it can manifest in anyone and it's, it's the removal. It's the removal it's it's the it's to fall silent before it and and now you're speaking my legs zactly Yeah, and most people won't Leesy Most people will not fall silent in front of it. And like, I don't care how you get how you did the work and what your manifestation was. That got you to the point where you realize this is very humaneness, but you have to. So there are ways and everyone does it. It's like the most atheist way to live is ironically, weirdly prostration will weirdly devotional
Stephen Bradford Long 1:06:06 Yes. I so many atheists would kill me, but I I completely agree. Which is why I see myself as a fundamentally religious person. You know, if you're Googling it, you might as well be praying for it. Yes. i Yes. You know, I interview a guy on the show called David dark all the time. He he has the most badass name be he's a theologian who talks about he has a book called Life's too short to pretend you're not religious in the idea is that whatever binding story that is guiding your life, that is your religion. Absolutely. And, and in a lot of ways, I 100% agree with that. I know that all my atheist listeners are yelling at me right now. So this is probably a good note to end on.
May Leitz 1:06:49 Well, but I can speak to that I can speak to readily agree with that. Like, understand that it is the ultimate temptation to look at oneself, and see the world and grab fruit and put it in your basket. But understand that, that life without a basket is is more ideal than forever collecting fruit.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:07:16 I love that. And I one last question. What what movie would you recommend listeners to watch? And it can be literally anything under the sun? What after after hearing this conversation? What parting blessing would you give listeners in terms of which movie to watch? Okay,
May Leitz 1:07:36 I got it. So listen, I know what we really want more than anything in the world is something new. Like we want something that you receive, and you're like, Wow, this was made like today, like I could go see this like now. So luckily, the good people over at shutter have provided a film. And it's not that great. To tell you the truth. It's super not that great. The second half of it is super not that great. But when I tell you the premise of it, you will immediately go I think I must see this. And you're correct, you must. It's called fried berry fried Berry. Once again, that's fried Berry, don't forget, it's important. So fried Berry is the story of an alien who have ducks, the body of a heroin addict not knowing that heroin is a thing on earth, because they're studying earth. So now the alien is Jones isn't around and doesn't know why. And he's also trying to learn about the world. So so he's like, trying to learn, and the only thing that people keep, like giving him are either sex or drugs. And so he quickly learns that that like that he's not really all that interested in sex, to be honest, but he fucking loves drugs. So basically, you get you get an alien jonesing for heroin and can't find it, like near death because of this tripping on everything for the whole movie. They don't want there's a fucking intermission in the middle of it. And they're like, All right, good luck, you know? And, and, boy, what a shit nightmare. The end of it is just not it's just not I don't think it gets there for me. But the first half of it is irreplaceable for me this year. So I would say if you want a complicated viewing experience that you probably not going to like, but you're going to be thankful that I suggested to you watch fried Berry and never ever forget it.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:09:35 I love that. All right. Well, everyone go also to youtube.com and search for Nick's fears that is in why X fears and watch all of her videos because they are fucking bad. Do it Nick's Yeah, Nick's fear is everyone go watch it go and when you comment on her videos tell her that Stevenson Yeah. out there you go. Well May it has been an absolute pleasure and you're welcome back anytime this has been great absolutely
May Leitz 1:10:06 feel free to hit me up if you need if you need a guest I enjoy showing up in the in the, you know, conversational space. I live very much in the weird liminal isolation of watching crazy movies and making videos about it. So it's nice to talk to a person Hello.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:10:25 I understand also one of the one of my favorite things about being a guest is I don't have to do any of the work to show up. It's wonderful. All right, well, that is it for this show. The music is by the jelly rocks and eleventy seven you can find them on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to music This show is supported by my patrons go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long for $1 $3 or $5 a month you get extra content every single week and you ensure the long life of this show. This show is written produced and edited by me and my producer Dante salmoni and is a production of rock candy recording, as always Hail Satan and thanks for listening.
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