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MEOW Ep. 17 - Jack Skelley, Guy Debord, and LA's Cat Problem

Our relationship with cats mirrors that of the primal unconscious with domestic order: it serves as persistent reminder of the ‘Other’, by whose exclusion we define our own humanity. This is how Michel Foucault – who named his own cat ‘Insanity’ – understood the construction of madness in society. Cats, in this sense, are vehicles for our projections, misconceptions, and suppressed primal urges. The same can be said of Jack Skelley’s latest poetry collection, Interstellar Theme Park. Both, when provoked to conscious recognition, become agents of pure annihilation, eradicating the Debordian schemas of duplicity (Blake’s ‘mind-forg’d manacles’ referenced in Tony Trigilio’s review of Skelley’s work) which amass and delineate our quotidian apprehensions, rendering the mental landscape a palimpsest upon which distorted ego-figurations are gradually refined into an approximation of the Real.

In this week’s episode, we read a selection from Interstellar Theme Park – translated, as always, into cat language – and follow this with a feline-intelligible interview with Jeff Thielman, commissioner of Animal Services in Skelley’s literary homeland of Los Angeles, who has found intriguing correlations between upticks in LA County’s feral cat population and releases of Skelley’s books.

This podcast is sustained by sales of our debut book, Meow: A Novel (For Cats).

Praise for Meow: A Novel

"Breathtaking... a revelation." - Stubbs, Unaltered Domestic Shorthair

"Meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow. Meow? Meow." - Joan Didion

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