On My Friend Aragorn!

Last night, right before going to bed, I learnt that Aragorn! has died. I have woken up with the same feeling of grief I went to sleep with.

When I first messaged him asking if he thought Little Black Cart would be interested in publishing the book I was writing at that moment, he told me yes. He then took interest in the next book I had written and, while it was a bumpy process, Feral Iconoclasm was published. Aragorn told me that it felt like I wasn’t “complete” and that it needed to be a trilogy to finish the idea. This encouragement was what started the process of writing the 50,008 word manuscript, which his last communication to me was that he’d started reading and that we’d be video chatting soon.

With an ocean and a continent between us, most of our communication was through video chat. Either early in his day or late in mine – twice at 2am for me – I would get a sense of who the guy was, behind this public persona and emails and messages that give very little personality away. I struggle to listen to podcasts, for the same reason I struggle to listen to the radio – the ghost like absence feels too dead for me to really enjoy. If I do as I intend now, and listen through The Brilliant as a means of appreciation for what he brought the anarchist conversation, I don’t know if this struggle will be worse or better. I’ll have to see.

In the last conversation we had through video chat, much of the conversation focused on the idea of anarchists needing time and space for anarchist-stuff, away from other life pursuits, like work and family. Like a lot of our minor differences in thought, I felt appreciation for his. When he spoke about himself he said “I’ve dedicated my life to anarchism”, between different complaints about how boring the anarchist scene has been recently.

Aragorn told me once that he loved the film of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – not the Johnny Depp one! My response was that, when we met face to face, I’d like to watch it with him. This will never happen – though I intend now to watch it at the earliest opportunity.

I imagine those who love him and knew him more intensely than I do are in far more severe states of grief than I am. I imagine those who do not appreciate what he brought in the way of news platforms and digital libraries and more, to the anarchist space, as well as political enemies, will not.

As far as challenging provocative people go, who are prepared to pursue the anarchist conversation to some of its most intensely uncomfortable, honest and radical spaces, he was provoking and a challenge.

My feeling right now is of love and sadness, uncertainty and a cruel sense of absence, which must be explored.

In a radical monist sense of birth and death, creation and destruction, he is not gone. Energy is always in processes of transfer. He is becoming different to who he was, as he dissipates into the nihilistic void, for regrowth to occur. I think of Aragorn as a destructive wildfire, burning away to make space for new life and regrowth, with the cruel thought and conversation he brought – in this way, he is much of what I mean in the term feral iconoclasm. As far as the process he is now in, I’d be lying if I denied that my desires are for more of who I knew him to be.

Aragorn was more than the editor/publisher who made books I wrote objects that people can hold and smell and taste and look at and so on, to me. He was my friend.

I can’t really say more than that!

2 thoughts on “On My Friend Aragorn!

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    Aragorn Exclamation Point was a Grand Poobah of the Harry Potter fan and role-playing gamer subculture that gets called anarchism in today’s United States. He died last Thursday. This most august and solemn occasion elicits the following humble enconmium:

    I was in or around the United States anarchist subculture for 34 years. I have never encountered any persuasive argument against the possibility of an anarchist society or authentic anarchic social relations from apologists for capitalism. Unfortunately the United States anarchist subculture is a repetitive long-running persuasive argument here. The U.S. Circle-A-playpen is a wholly owned subsidiary of the all-entertainment, all-of-the-time ethos of mainstream US consumer capitalism. The contemporary United States anarchist subculture is also a lock-step loyal expression of the tendency to extreme narcissism and infantilism in United States culture. The anarchist subculture appeals to people who need to pretend that the world revolves around them. Its main audience is children who haven’t become adults yet, children who are hell-bent on never becoming adults, and pathologically self-involved sub-par types who would have be to carried by everybody else in any actual anarchist or communist society.

    My more than a third of a century long experience of the U.S. anarchist scene and its scenesters is that this scene consistently lives down to the most bovine aspersions that might be cast on anarchism by a pig-ignorant country club Republican. U.S. of A-style anarchism is a grease trap of incapacity and terminal disengagement. It is a militantly counter-subversive phenomenon in that it channels young idealistic people into the reproduction of a puerile and foolish subculture instead of catalyzing collective public action that can make a difference in the real world. I had many, many encounters with the late Aragorn Exclamation Point. After I did a presentation about attempts at collective, credible, real world direct action among mainstream wage-earners at The Long Haul, in Berkeley, California in the late autumn of 2012 Aragorn Exclamation Point got to say his peace, perspectives indistinguishable from that of any other reactionary-by-default middle class slob asshole in the United States, garnished with stale frosting about anarchy, personal autonomy and similar Romper Room nostrums.

    Aragorn Exclamation Point epitomized everything that stinks about this subculture; he was a veritable High Pontiff among the spuds and duds of the putrid and politically worthless U.S. anarchist cosplay scene. For this guy everything was all about ego-gratifying play dates with his fellow indifferent-to-the-big-bad-world subculture slobs. People who help this algal bloom of a scene to spread in its full effulgence are a blight on the social landscape. I’m not exactly happy that Aragorn Exclamation Point died — what kind of adult goes through life named after the mighty warrior hero in a Tolkien novel? This mighty rebel against all authority with a highly abstract capital A couldn’t even rebel against his hippie parents for hanging such a stupid handle on him. The shit encountered in this scene is beyond lampooning in cheap shot caustic fiction — but his demise doesn’t harm in the slightest the prospects for a real world conscious, collective opposition to capitalism among those of us who must sell our labor power for wages and have nothing to lose but our pains, under the most promising circumstances that have ever existed for this in the now fast-declining main problem country of the world.

    Kevin Keating


  2. Kevin Keating, I will personally fight you. Please, please leave your hole just once. I am smaller than you, but you are so flagrantly disrespectful, so petty and toxic, that even your significant problems with mental illness don’t excuse you in this situation. You could never say such garbage if you ever spent time around any other human beings. Reprehensible and disgusting.

    RIP Aragorn.

    Liked by 1 person

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