a philosophy podcast from zero books
Zero Squared #95: Žižek and the Double Blackmail
January 10, 2017 07:03 PM PSTSlavoj Žižek is the guest this week as we discuss the flak he’s received for a few of his Lacanian interventions into politics recently, Marx’s Labor Theory of Value, and his most current book Against the Double Blackmail. "[A]n urgent and entertaining diagnosis of the ongoing refugee crisis and global terror threat, highlighting the glaring contradictions in our attitudes and actions." —Mother Jones "Slavoj Žižek’s compellingly persuasive insights into the current refugee explosion...could not arrive at a more urgent time."—CounterPunch Thanks goes out to our Zero Books Club members. Zero Books club members gain access to the Inside Zero Books Podcast and are invited to participate in online workshops in critical theory. Now is always a good time to join. This episode does not feature any sound collages or clips, except for one clip from a youtube video called "Slavoj Zizek Reacts," and the song Raggle Taggle by A Hawk and a Hacksaw.
photo credit goes to Ellis Christopher Zero Squared #94: Free Speech for Dickheads
December 28, 2016 09:36 PM PSTAmber A'Lee Frost is a writer living in Brooklyn, who has written for such publications as Jacobin, the Baffler, and Current Affairs, where she is an editor at large. She is a host on the always funny dirtbag left podcast Chapo Trap House, and this week she pays a visit to this podcast in order to discuss professor George Ciccariello-Maher’s “white genocide tweet” and her essay at Current Affairs entitled “Not Here to Make Friends: A Statement of Support for George Ciccariell-Maher.” Thanks goes out to Yousaf for emailing in a response to a few of the recent Zero Books youtube videos. Yousaf said he enjoyed the videos on the Liar’s Paradox, Vaporwave and Mr. Robot. Yousaf also sent me a link to Levi Bryant’s post “What Badiou Meant to Us.” Thanks also go out to Zero Books Club members. There will be another workshop with Andy Marshall next week, on January 5th, and if you're a member of the secret club you'll get an email with a link to that workshop tonight. In this episode you’ll hear clips from the youtube stars the Amazing Atheist and Coppercab, you’ll hear an excerpt from the Christian youtube channel Life Teen Inc., and a 8bit version of the Normcore standard Kiss Me from Sixpence None the Richer. Zero Squared #93: Shouting at Marxists
December 22, 2016 08:49 PM PST
This week’s episode of Zero Squared features a conversation with Anne Jaclard from the Marxist Humanist Initiative and activist Ravi Bali. The Marxist Humanist Initiative have published a number of statements on the dangers of Donald Trump in their journal “With Sober Senses” and in this conversation I attempt to test their ideas and seek out inconsistencies. You’ll hear that this is a more contentious conversation than is the norm. The reason for that is simple: I respect these obscure Marxists, want them to win, and so I find it necessary to critique them ruthlessly.
That said you’ll find that the conversation ends rather suddenly. I’ve edited out a bit of the more contentious part of the conversation, a bit where I find myself suddenly changing the subject. Regular listeners of the podcast will miss that bit as I think I go off the rails, but I will include it in this week’s members only Inside Zero Books podcast.
On that subject, thanks goes out to Zero Books Club members and we encourage you to join. Zero Books Club members gain access to a second podcast each week. The Inside Zero Books podcast sometimes features a second hour from this podcast, and sometimes features conversations about the left and left publishing with members of the Zero Books editorial team.Zero Squared #92: Margaret Kimberley takes on Trump
December 09, 2016 04:39 PM PST
Margaret Kimberley discusses the rise of Donald Trump on this week’s episode. A regular columnist for the Black Agenda Report, Margaret Kimberley is also a regular guest on the podcast, and she does her best to talk me through the trauma of this last election.
Thanks goes out to Zero Books Club members and we encourage you to join. Zero Books Club members gain access to a second podcast each week. The Inside Zero Books podcast sometimes features a second hour from this podcast, and sometimes features conversations about the left and left publishing with members of the Zero Books editorial team.
On Monday, December 12th, Daniel Coffeen will participate our first Zero Books workshop on Youtube. We will discuss his book "Reading the Way of Things."
In this episode you’ll hear clips from Michael Parenti on Fascism, demographic analysis from MSNBC, Russian propagandist Vladimir Zhirinovsky talking to Reuters and endorsing Trump, and a collage of all the supposedly compromised US leftist whose relationship with Russia Today makes them guilty by association.Zero Squared #91: Trump, an Insider’s View
November 30, 2016 08:47 PM PSTFormer NEA Chairman Bill Ivey returns this week and we discuss the unexpected election of Trump. Ivey made the news recently when his March 13th, 2016 email to Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta was published by Wikileaks and he’s returning to in order to give us an insider’s perspective on the election. Here’s a short excerpt from that infamous email: We've all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. Thanks goes out to Zero Books Club members and encourage you to join. Zero Books Club member gain access to a second podcast each week. The Inside Zero Books podcast sometimes features a second hour from this podcast, and sometimes features conversations about the left and left publishing with members of the Zero Books editorial team. And the next Inside Zero Books podcast will feature something of a shouting match between myself and a couple of Portland State University philosophy students as we discuss Judith Butler, Edward Said, and the whiteness of philosophy and scientific reason. In this episode you’ll hear a clip from the @Midnight debate between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders impersonators as well as a jazz version of hail to the chief. Zero Squared #90: From 4Chan to the White House?
November 23, 2016 08:55 PM PST
Angela Nagle is a writer based in Ireland. Her work has appeared in the Irish Times, the Dublin Review of Books, and the Atlantic. Her article “The New Man of 4Chan” for the Baffler was the basis for a book coming out from Zero Books next year tentatively titled “Kill All Normies: The online culture wars from 4chan to Trump.” We discuss her book and research in this episode.
Thanks goes out to our Zero Books Club members. Now is a good time to support Zero Books and left publishing in general and one way to do it is to sign up to be a Zero Books Club member and receive our weekly Inside Zero Books podcast.
Also featured in this episode is an email from a listener following last week's interview with Michael Rectenwald, some thoughts on transgender politics and intersectionality, an excerpt from Norman Mailer's film Maidstone, a quick definition of the word "cuck," and an instrumental version of the Trololo song.Zero Squared #89: Deplorables
November 17, 2016 05:51 PM PST
NYU professor Michael Rectenwald is the guest this week. Rectenwald was recently at the center of a small controversy at NYU because, after being called out on Facebook for posting a link to an article mocking the need for alternative pronouns for all the various genders, he decided to create an alt-right persona and critique SJWs on twitter. When he announced the results of this “experiment” in an interview for the Washington Square News a slightly larger controversy erupted. His colleagues signed a collective letter criticizing his illogical rhetoric, finishing with the line “the cause of Professor Rectenwald’s guilt is certainly no, in our view, his identity as a cis, white, straight male. The cause of his guilt is the content and structure of his thinking.”
His story went somewhat viral. He was interviewed for various publications and penned an opinion piece for the Washington Post with the headline: “Here’s what happened when I challenged the PC campus culture at NYU.” He wrote, “I was strongly encouraged to take a paid leave of absence [and told] that it had nothing to do with my recent media posture. That’s not exactly how I see it.”
"For us to be clear on your needs, we require you to state unequivocally and in a direct, unambiguous response whether you still need the leave you requested. I expect that answer—whichever you give—to be henceforth the same in all settings. If you cannot do that, at this point, I think I have no choice but to make a decision based on your public utterances, and the leave you requested—apparently under false pretenses—is withdrawn, and you are expected to meet your classes as assigned."
I do not know if Rectenwald is now back at NYU and teaching or if his leave was extended, but I do know that all of this went on while the possibility of his promotion was being determined and that he eventually was promoted to the level of full professor.
From the outside, and with the facts that I have so far, it looks to me like Rectenwald pulled this stunt in order to create a context wherein his being passed over for promotion would have negative political consequences for the university. That isn’t a demonstrable fact, and if Rectenwald wants to return to the podcast in order to explain his side of the story more fully I’d be glad to talk to him again.
At the time this was recorded Trump had not been elected and I was very sympathetic to his cause.
I should take a moment to talk about that last fact. The fact that Donald Trump was elected is a game changer. The notion of safe spaces, for instance, has an entirely different connotation now that Stephen Bannon has been selected to be Trump’s chief of staff in the oval office. That said, the need for overcoming racial divides, for creating alliances and struggling together as a people regardless of race is the only way to amass enough political power to effectively fight back.
Rectenwald’s claim that identity politics on the left feeds and strengthens identity politics on the alt-right is worthy of consideration outside the context of Rectenwald’s shenanigans. Standing in solidarity with all the different people who Trump is scapegoating, making sure we protect and defend each other from attack, is necessary. Combating racism is an immediate priority even as we return to the task of changing the economic foundation that generates racism and divides us.Zero Squared Special: The Election of Trump
November 09, 2016 05:15 PM PST
This week’s Zero Books podcast is a conversation between Zero Books publisher Douglas Lain, Tom O’Brien of the Alpha to Omega podcast, and Zero Books reader C Derick Varn. The discussion is about what everyone is discussing--the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton and the democratic party and the election of reality TV Star and tycoon Donald Trump.
Thanks goes out to our Zero Books Club members. Now is a good time to support Zero Books and left publishing in general and one way to do it is to sign up to be a Zero Books Club member and receive our weekly Inside Zero Books podcast. You can find a link to our membership page in this week’s show notes.
No excerpts or music this week. Just an hour and forty minutes conversation on the ramifications of the election of Trump.Zero Squared # 88: Wikileaks, Bill Ivey, and Demeaned Politics
October 26, 2016 11:13 PM PDTFormer NEA Chairman Bill Ivey is the guest this week and we discuss his March 13th, 2016 email to Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta, an email that Wikileaks recently published along with thousands of other emails from the Clinton campaign. Here’s a short excerpt from that email: We've all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. Thanks again to all the members of the Zero Books club. Zero Books Club members gain access to a weekly Inside Zero Books podcast which is a second hour of the Zero Books podcast every week. This second hour usually features conversations about the left and left publishing with members of the Zero Books editorial team. You’ll hear from Ashley Frawley, C Derick Varn, Alfie Bown and every once in awhile guests like my son Benjamin as we discuss political theory and the ups and downs of radical publishing within a clickbait culture. Inside Zero Books will also feature interviews with radical thinkers and authors from around the world. And the next Inside Zero Books podcast will feature clips from this conversation with Bill Ivey that ended up on the cutting room floor. This episode of Zero Squared includes a clip from the 1997 film Bulworth, a computerized reading of Neera Tanden’s email to John Podesta that’s dated Januray 20th, 2016, an excerpt from MIA’s song Wikileaks, and a clip from a Karaoke version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop." Zero Squared #87: Sam Harris vs Noam Chomsky
October 14, 2016 07:03 PM PDTC Derick Varn is the guest this week. Varn is a reader at Zero Books, poet, and teacher currently living in Cairo, and my co-host on the now defunct Pop the Left podcast. In this episode of Zero Squared we discuss last year’s online debate between Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky as well as our tendency on the left to avoid difficult arguments. The Motte and Bailey doctrine is mentioned and utilitarian and deontological/Kantian ethics are discussed. Here’s a description of the Motte and Bailey doctrine from “Rational Wiki”: Motte and Bailey is a snarl word purporting to describe a particular form of equivocation wherein one protects a desirable but difficult to defend belief or proposal by swapping it with a more defensible, perhaps trivially true interpretation when the former comes under scrutiny. The trivial version is only temporarily proposed to ward off critics and not actually held. The "difficult" (bailey) version always remains the desired belief, but is never actually defended. This gives the belief an air of being counter-intuitive yet somehow true. In this episode you’ll hear clip from the online course “Law and Justice,” the song Telestar by the Tornados, a clip from the Waking Up podcast with Sam Harris, and a short clip from the film “Fight Club.” Right now you’re listening to Nmesh : Nu.wav Hallucinations, but in just a moment you’ll hear C Derick Varn and I discuss Sam Harris and Chomsky.
Zero Squaredis a philosophy podcast from Zero Books. Zero publishes radical philosophy, aesthetics, film theory, experimental fiction, and anything else that smells faintly of the avant-garde. Our books aim not only to demonstrate how philosophical ideas are relevant to every day life, but also to change the terms of it. Douglas Lain is the host of this podcast and the publisher of Zero Books. He hosted the Diet Soap podcast out of this feed for five years. Zero Squared will continue the tradition of Diet Soap while giving Zero Books authors a chance to talk about their work.
Douglas Lain is the publisher of zero books. He is also a novelist and podcaster. His novel “Billy Moon” tells the story of Christopher Robin Milne’s fictional involvement with the French general strike in May of 1968, and was published by Tor Books in 2013.
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