08 July 2012

A Litany of Litanies: Bogost’s (2012) Alien Phenomenology Litanies

A Litany of Litanies: Bogost’s (2012) Alien Phenomenology Litanies [1]

Page 3: “the Civil War soldier, the guilty Manhattan project physicist, the oval-headed alien anthropomorph, and the intelligent celestial race so much more credence than the scoria cone, the obsidian fragment, the gypsum crystal, the capsicum pepper, and the propane flame”
Page 5: “sea urchins, kudzu, enchiladas, quasars, and Tesla coils”, “harmonicas or tacos”
Page 6: “hammer, haiku, and hotdogs”, “quarks or neurons”, “plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone”, “atoms to alpacas, bits to blinis”
Page 7: “scoria cone and the green chile”, “plate tectonics, enchiladas, tourism, or digestion”, “kudzu and grizzly bears”
Page 8: “Subways flood; pipes cool and crack; insects and weather slowly devour the wood frames of homes; the steel columns of bridges and skyscrapers corrode and buckle”, “plastic and lumber and steel”, “dogs, pigs, birds, and so forth”
Page 9: “plants, fungi, protists, bacteria, etc.”, “the potato and the cannabis [sic]”, “the dog or the raven”, “musket buckshot and gypsum and space shuttles”
Page 10: “molded plastic keys and controllers, motor-driven disc drives, silicon wafers, plastic ribbons, and bits of data”, “Subroutines and middleware libraries compiled into byte code or etched onto silicon, cathode ray tubes or LCD displays mated to be insulated, conductive cabling, and microprocessors executing machine instructions that enter and exit address buses”, “African elephant or the Acropora coral”, “computer or a microprocessor, or a ribbon cable”
Page 11: “The unicorn and the combine harvester, the color red and methyl alcohol, quarks and corrugated iron, Amelia Earhart and dyspepsia”
Page 12: “quarks, Harry Potter, keynote speeches, single-malt scotch, Land Rovers, lychee fruit, love affairs, dereferenced pointers, Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino, bozons, horticulturalists, Mozambique, Super Mario Bros.”
Page 22: “yoghurt or tonsils or Winnie the Pooh”, “the cargo holds, the shipping containers, the hydraulic rams, the ballast water, the twist locks, the lashing rods, the crew, their sweaters, and the yarn out of which those garments are knit.”
Page 23: “cinder blocks and bendy straws and iron filings”
Page 25: “tailgate of a red pickup truck, the drum, handle, tailgate, asphalt, pepper, metal, and propane”, “pepper and iron, tailgate and Levi’s 501s, asphalt and pickup”, “brewing tea, shedding skin, photosynthesizing sugar, igniting compressed fuel.”
Page 26: “extraction, homogenization, distillation, refrigeration, etc.”
Page 27: “a mango, a willow tree, or a flat smooth stone”, “the cell… the revolving feeder… philology of the fictional Languages of Arda...”
Page 34: “Mountain summits and gypsum beds, chile roasters and buckshot, microprocessors and ROM chips”, “grease, juice, gunpowder and gypsum”
Page 39: “lighthouse, dragonfly, lawnmower, and barley”
Page 47: “Mullahs, and monsters, cushioned skyscrapers bent back on themselves”
Page 48: “black lampposts… the Snake River… a young girl…”
Page 49: “floodlight, screen print, Mastercard, rubber, asphalt, taco, Karmann Ghia, waste bin, oil stain”
Page 50: “tire an chassis, the ice milk and cup, the buckshot and soil”
Page 56: “puella, puellae, puellae (sic), puellam, puella
Page 58: “Dictionaries, grocery stores, Rio de Janeiro, La Brea, and Beverly”
Page 59: “doors, toasters and computers”
Page 61: “Smoke… dog teeth of a collar…. Chicken neck…”, “the taste of the honey-sweet ma’sal heated under the charcoal in the hookah’s bowl, or the sensation of foot on clutch as the collar of the synchro obtains a friction catch on the gear, or the smooth, thin appearance of broth as it separates from fat and bone in the soup pot”
Page 65: “Smoke and mouth, collar and gear, cartilage and water, bat and branch, roaster and green chile, button and input bus”
Page 74: “British men…, women, Congalese (sic), horses, and redwoods”, “fried chicken buckets, Pontiac Firebirds, and plastic picnicware”
Page 76: “the snowblower, the persimmon, the asphalt”
Page 109: “volcanoes, hookahs, muskets, gearshifts, gypsum, and soups”
Page 110: “painter, the seaman, the tightrope walker, or the banker”
Page 111: “people or toothbrushes or siroccos”, “words and ink and paper, a painting of pigments and canvas and medium, a philosophy of maxims and arguments and evidence, a house of studs and sheetrock and pipes”
Page 114: “Midgrade dealer D’Angelo Barksdale, detective James McNulty, kingpin Avon Barksdale, police lieutenant Cedric Daniels, stevedore Frank Sobotka, mayoral hopeful Tommy Carcetti, newspaper editor Gus Haynes”, “the Maryland Transit Authority bus that trundles through the Broadway East neighborhood; the synthetic morphine derivative diacetylmorphine hydrochloride, which forms the type of heroin power addicts freebase; Colt .45 (the firearm), and Colt 45 (the malt liquor)”, “dealers, cops, longshoreman, city councilmen, middle-school students, and journalists”
Page 115: “the compression heat of a diesel engine combustion chamber, or the manner by which corn or sugar additives increase the alcoholic content of malt, or the dissolution of heroin in water atop the concave surface of a spoon”
Page 117: “Clinker-built oak planks and fondant, keel, hull, and sponge cake, white-topped waves and spread frosting, oar stay and cookie”
Page 119: “the Kitchen-Aid 5 Quart Stand Mixer, the preheated oven, the mixing bowl, and the awaiting gullet”
Page 124: “religion, science, philosophy, custom, or opinion”, “flour granule, firearm, civil justice system, longship, fondant”, “cinder-blocks, Chicken McNuggets, freighter ships, and graffiti”
Page 133: “quarks, Elizabeth Bennet, single-malt scotch, Ford Mustang fastbacks, lychee fruit, love affairs, dereferenced pointers, Care Bears, sirocco winds, the Tri-City Mall, tort law, the Airbus A330, the five-hundred drachma note”


[1] A litany is also what would be called in computer programming an array. The similarities to the use of arrays in computer programming which enables heterogeneous lists to be compiled and the use in OOP and OOO is suggestive. This litany would not have been compiled without the kind invitation of Jill Rettberg and Scott Rettberg to present a paper on the New Aesthetic at the University of Bergen, 21/05/2012. On the return journey I opted to take the mountain train back to Oslo, which, lasting over six hours, gave me the time and distraction-free environment in which I could compile this list. I also learned that compiling litanies of litanies is at best painful and at worst something akin to mental torture. No objects were knowingly harmed in the compiling of this litany. 


Bogost, I. (2012) Alien Phenomenology: or What It’s Like To Be A Thing, Minnesota University Press.

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