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Zero Books #81: Decoding Chomsky
August 25, 2016 11:57 AM PDT
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Chris Knight is currently senior research fellow in the department of anthropology at University College, London, focusing his research on the evolutionary emergence of human language and symbolic culture. He lives in London. His book Decoding Chomsky is coming out from Yale University Press in September. Here’s a description from the back jacket: Occupying a pivotal position in postwar thought, Noam Chomsky is both the founder of modern linguistics and the world’s most prominent political dissident. Chris Knight adopts an anthropologist’s perspective on the twin output of this intellectual giant, acclaimed as much for his denunciations of US foreign policy as for his theories about language and mind. Knight explores the social and institutional context of Chomsky’s thinking, showing how the tension between military funding and his role as linchpin of the political left pressured him to establish a disconnect between science on the one hand and politics on the other, deepening a split between mind and body characteristic of Western philosophy since the Enlightenment. Provocative, fearless, and engaging, this remarkable study explains the enigma of one of the greatest intellectuals of our time. If you like this podcast you might leave a review at iTunes and if you don’t like this episode leave a comment on the blog. The membership site is still on course for a September release and, when it is up online, you’ll be hearing lots of calls for you to join. In the meantime you should get your hands on Daniel Coffeen’s Reading the Way of Things, Mike Watson’s Towards a Conceptual Militancy, or Grafton Tanner’s book about Vaporwave entitled Babbling Corpse. In this episode you’ll hear the voice of Noam Chomsky, an instrumental version of Pokemon, and the theme for Roboboogie.codeclub.org.uk.
Zero Squared #80: Porn Panic
August 19, 2016 07:45 AM PDT
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Jerry Barnett is an author, technologist, campaigner, photographer and entrepreneur. With a long background in anti-fascism campaigning, he has become increasingly disillusioned with the new left, which has taken on many of the attitudes and methods of the old right. His book Porn Panic is out from Zero Books this month. In this episode you’ll also hear a collage partially lifted from Stephen Naish’s recent youtube book trailer for his upcoming book Bringing Up Baby. You’ll also hear some pornographic music from the 70s, an excerpt of Kate Brooks debating against the proposition that free speech includes the right to offend, and Tony Babino’s lounge club cover of The Internationale, and a clip from Sexopolis by Jean Pierre Mirouze.
Zero Squared: Radical and/or Racial Politics?
August 11, 2016 02:11 PM PDT
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Glenn Loury is the guest this week as we discuss black anger, white victims of police violence, and the ins and outs of structural racism. Loury is a former conservative who became a man of the left in the 90s. He has a predisposition to go slow and a strong inclination to favor reform over radical change. He is also a good guest. A professor at Brown University, a onetime contender for Undersecretary of Education, the author of the book The Anatomy of Racial Inequality, and the host of the Glenn Show at bloggingheads.tv, we were glad to have him back. Some Zero Books titles that you should check out: Daniel Coffeen’s Reading the Way of Things, Eliot Fintushel’s book Zen City, and Jerry Barnett’s Porn Panic. In this episode you’ll hear about Functionalist Assumptions in Sociology, a clip from the 80s film Repo Man, Iggy Pop’s theme for Repo Man, an excerpt from a speech by Omali Yeshitela at an African People’s Solidarity Committee conference, an excerpt from the comedy sketch program Mr. Show, and the Wellness/Plaza Vaporwave Mix from the youtube star Akanein Tokio TV.
Zero Squared #78: Airplane Reading
August 03, 2016 11:15 PM PDT
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Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich are the guests this week as we discuss their recently released book Airplane Reading. Their book brings together a range of essays about air travel and features the work of Lisa Kay Adam, Sarah Allison, Jane Armstrong, Thomas Beller and many other fine writers. The book was born out of a long term internet project that’s been running since 2011 at airplanereading.org. Harriet Baskas, travel writer for USAToday.com blurbed the book this way: A marvelous story round-up exploring and explaining what air travel does to us—and makes us do. Buy it now, but save it to read on your next cross-country flight. We are still working on our membership site for Zero Books readers. The site will be rolled out in September to coincide with the new school year and will feature members only podcasts, online workshops with our authors, and audiobooks. To find out more follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or check out Zero Books blog at zero-books.net. This episode includes clips from the movie Fight Club, some Philip Glass music played on a ukulele by the youtube star Fourbladeknife, the sound of an airplane landing, a PanAm advertisement from the 60s, brief clip from Brian Eno’s Music for Airports as performed by Bang on a Canand the theme for Airport ’77.
Zero Squared #77: Quitting Bizarre Writing
July 29, 2016 07:37 AM PDT
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Chris Kelso is a Bizzaro fiction writer and he’s the guest this week on the Zero Books podcast. In this episode you’ll hear why Chris is thinking about quitting writing, how Bizarro fiction was mostly just an escapist fantasy Chris used to compensate for his failing love life, and why it is that, in general, writing fiction is a fools errand. Here's a description of Chris Kelso’s upcoming novel Unger House Radicals: When aspiring and nihilistic film-maker Vincent Bittacker falls in love with mercurial serial-killer Brandon Swarthy they decide to embark upon a bloody journey to re-define cinema and create their own sub-culture - Ultra-Realism. In this episode you’ll hear clips from Monty Python, some homegrown vaporwave, a bit of Fry and Laurie, a short clip from Portlandia, a clip from Macintosh Plus again. I can’t get enough Vaporwave.
Zero Squared #76: Black Anger and Black Politics
July 21, 2016 11:31 AM PDT
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Margaret Kimberley discusses black anger and BLM on this week's episode. A regular columnist for the Black Agenda Report, Margaret Kimberley is also a regular guest on the podcast. We discuss broken window policing Michael Eric Dyson, white racism, police brutality, and the politics and the anti-politics of Black Lives Matter.

It’s Thursday, July 21st 2016 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.
I want to take a moment to let you know that next month’s releases from Zero Books includes Daniel Coffeen’s Reading the Way of Things. If you’re a long time listener to my podcasts then you’re probably familiar with Daniel Coffeen and his Deleuzian guide to reading the world is available in paperback and as an e-book. I also want to announce that our membership site is about halfway to completion and that Coffeen has volunteered to be one of the first authors to lead our upcoming Zero Books’ philosophy workshops.

This episode includes clips from Glenn Loury’s bloggingheads.tv show wherein the author John McWhorter describes the need for a list of white victims who were killed under similar circumstances to Philando Castile or Eric Garner. McWhorter finds his list. There is also a clip from Heather MacDonald discussing her book “The War on the Cops," a clip of Jack Nicholson in
A Few Good Men, and some music from the Vaporwave artist Macintosh Plus. If you’re a fan of Vaporwave (or want to learn more about it) you might pick up Graton Tanner’s book Babbling Corpse which was published in June.

Zero Squared #75: Summer Drone
July 13, 2016 03:08 PM PDT
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Joanna Demers is associate professor of musicology at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where she specializes in post-1945 popular and art music. Her book with Zero Books Drone and Apocalypse was published on December 11th in 2015 and this week her public lecture at the Redondo Beach Central Library is a part of Summer Reading series in public libraries. Zero Books is combatting this idea that summer reading is for escapism and diversion by reaching out to libraries to promote the idea of public reading and public thinking.

Zero Squared #74: Conceptual Militancy
July 07, 2016 08:50 PM PDT
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Mike Watson is an art theorist and curator based in Italy. He writes regularly for Frieze, Art Review and Radical Philosophy and his book Towards a Conceptual Militancy is currently out from Zero Books.This week we discuss his book, Marcel Duchamp, and the idea of freedom in a world of objects.

Zero Books will be rolling out a membership site this month. Members will get access to members only podcasts, online workshops with our authors, and audiobooks. To find out more follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or check out Zero Books blog at zero-books.net.

In this episode you’ll hear clips from a Situationist documentary called Call it Sleep, an interview with Marcel Duchamp, Pharrell Williams interviewing Jeff Koons, an excerpt from the BBC’s television movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Negativland.

Zero Squared #73: Brexit and the Rise of the Right
June 30, 2016 09:54 PM PDT
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Andrew Kliman, author of Reclaiming Marx’s Capital and The Failure of Capitalist Production returns this week to discuss the Brexit and the rise of the far right.

What might be unique about this discussion is that we start out by agreeing that, one way or another, the Brexit vote needs to be tied in to the economic crisis of 2007 and the Eurozone crisis that followed.


The big announcement this week is that a Zero Books membership site is in development. That our new line of interview books “Advancing Conversations” will be made available as audiobooks in the months ahead, and that we will be offering workshops on critical theory, politics, and economics through the site as well as a member’s only podcast. I should also say that if you’re a fan of Zero Books you ought to consider signing up for our monthly newsletter to find out about upcoming titles like Daniel Coffeen’s Reading the Way of Things, Jeff Bursey’s Centring the Margins and Eliot Fintushel’s Zen City. If you are a regular listener to the podcast I’d encourage you to follow us on Facebook and to consider leaving a review of the show on iTunes.

The music in this episode includes an instrumental version of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven as performed by the Vitamin String Quartet as well as sound clips from Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. You’ll also hear a short excerpt from Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd. The music you’re listening to right now is the Django Rock Band covering Pink Floyd’s In the Flesh but in just in a moment you’ll be listening to Andrew Kliman and I discuss Brexit and the danger of a Left/Right Convergence.

Zero Squared #72: Radical Islam?
June 23, 2016 02:29 PM PDT
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Nadim Bakhshov is the guest this week as we continue a conversation about Islam that we started in episode forty-nine entitled Against Capitalist Education. Nadim is the author of a book from Zero with that same title, he is an apostate of a sort, and he was very patient as he discussed the fractured nature of the Muslim faith. This is a conversation that attempts to put the mass shooting in Orlando into a partial context, one that specifically tries to take on the question of Radical Islam from a left perspective, and I want to encourage listeners to respond either with comments on the blog or on Facebook or Twitter.

In this episode you’ll hear a clip describing the philosophy of Emile Durkheim, a clip from the BBC about Nadim’s student who joined ISIS despite Nadim’s best efforts to guide him away from the worst interpretations of the Koran and Islam, as well as some music from the Bezmara Ensemble.

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