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Diet Soap Podcast
Tough On Dirt: Gentle on Philosophy (Now with IDEOLOGY!)
Diet Soap Podcast #198: The Joy Beyond Identity
December 05, 2013 08:03 AM PST
The guest this week is the author and radical Mark Fisher. Mark and I discuss his recent essay for the North Star Blog called Exiting the Vampire Castle. The essay takes on the politically correct reaction to the comedian Russell Brand's recent call for revolution. Many leftists were perhaps overly skeptical of Brand, focusing on gaffes and slips rather than the content of his message (Brand admits to calling women birds, for instance.) Fisher's essay has caused quite an uproar, especially at the North Star Blog itself. There have been six essays written in response and there has been a split causing some editors to resign in solidarity with Brand and Fisher. My perspective, as always, is that Fisher isn't Marxist enough, meaning that his version of class isn't economic enough, or doesn't focus squarely on the way working people are exploited but describes class on the level of appearance only. Otherwise I find myself agreeing with Fisher.
I want to thank everyone for listening to this podcast and communicating with me on Facebook, on twitter, and through my blog that's douglaslain.com. Also I want to thank Andrew Marshall, Jason P and Michael P for their one time donations and also thank Andrew Marshall, Ted F, John L, and Jacob L for their continual monthly support.
November 20, 2013 01:16 AM PST
Professor and author Timothy Morton is the guest on this week's podcast and we discuss his new book Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World.
Kim Stanley Robins (author of the Mars trilogy) blurbed Morton's book as follows: In Hyperobjects, Timothy Morton brings to bear his deep knowledge of a wide array of subjects to propose a new way of looking at our situation, which might allow us to take action toward the future health of the biosphere. Crucially, the relations between Buddhism and science, nature and culture, are examined in the fusion of a single vision. The result is a great work of cognitive mapping, both exciting and useful.
To come on the podcast: Interviews with Noelle McAfee (friend of Rick Roderick), C Derick Varn, Andy Marshall, and many others. This week listen for a message about Paul McCartney.
Pop the Left #10: From Henry Flynt to an Electric Ant
November 09, 2013 12:48 AM PST
This month's Pop the Left features a conversation about Henry Flynt's lecture "An Autopsy of the Left." The conversation, as is typical, wanders, and in the end Varn and I end up mentioning the difficulty of escaping from our current ideology.
Henry Flynt is a musician, a member of Fluxus, and the last Communist standing. I wrote to him and asked him onto the podcast, but this email met with scorn and ridicule, which was really too bad. If you know Henry Flynt please tell him that I did not mean to insult him when I called him a commie.
For your edification here is a definition of Fluxus as lifted from wikipedia:
Fluxus—a name taken from a Latin word meaning "flow, flux" (noun); "flowing, fluid" (adj.)—is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been active in Neo-Dada noise music and visual art as well as literature, urban planning, architecture, and design. Fluxus is sometimes described as intermedia.
In this episode you'll here a song inspired by the Philip K. Dick story "The Electric Ant" and a clip from "The Thirteenth Floor." Here's an essay I wrote for Tor.com about both the short story and the movie.
October 31, 2013 12:15 AM PDT
The guest this week is the economist Andrew Kliman, and this week is rather unique because it is dedicated to answering some criticisms of his book The Failure of Capitalist production. Most leftists today hold that the economic crisis of 2007 and the consequent doldrums are the result of neoliberalism, that is the result of a conscious attack on the working classes by the ruling elite. The story goes this way: The capitalists saw that production, that is the productive part of the economy, empowered workers and opted to stop investing in real productive activity, or at least to slow this investment, as a political project to undermine the working class. Wage suppression was merely another aspect of what was an assault on workers. Kliman doesn't hold with this story. Instead he argues that Capitalist production has a tendency to undermine it's own reason for being, or that the rate of profit has a tendency to decline due to wholly unintended consequences. He has analyzed the economic data on hand and confirmed his theoretical position empirically. This has made many people on the left unhappy.
What you'll hear in this episode is a rather detailed refutation of objections to Kliman's analysis. Please do bear with us as we go through the accusations of bias, inaccuracy, and Jesuitical thinking.
As a special bonus there are a few sound collages and clips along the way, as well as an excerpt of the audio version of my first book "Last Week's Apocalypse." This short story collection is now available on audible and I'm quite pleased by the way it's turned out.
If you'd like to contact me go to douglaslain.com, or follow me on Facebook or twitter. I'm always interested in what people are thinking. Next week you'll hear another episode of Pop the Left, and there is more to come after that.
Some links worth checking out:Diet Soap Podcast #195: Former People
October 24, 2013 12:01 AM PDT
The guests this week are C Derick Varn and Steven A. Michalkow, the editors of the online literary journal Former People. We discuss modernism, neomodernism, and the impossibility of literature today.
What is Former People? According to their manifesto Former People is about bangs and whimpers. They wrote:
The past is not dead, it is not even past, to invoke Faulkner. And yet the past is obscured with dust, dross, and delusion. This seeming contradiction is but the inevitable process of human progress. The patina of confusion is make-up our world, the present merely being the current lie agreed upon. So too with “modernism”–a word whose archaic and historically limited reference strikes us already as self-parody. “Neo-modernism” seems no better – yet another joke of the post moderns. The kind of joke we now laugh at with no more vigor than in a reflex. “The new modern” – a redundant phrase, and yet on that has relevance to us. The goal of the Former People is to explore the future even as we look upon the past through the glass darkly. We aim not for nostalgia, but to combat the mid-brow and middle mind as well as the flippancy or over-seriousness of so much literary art. The literary arts are always intertwined within the new and the old, the high and the low, the experimental and traditional: we found all this already in the various modernism all over the world despite the pretensions to “modernism’s” difficulty.
We aim to be pluralists in our exploration of things neo-modern. This is not a movement nor is it a pretense to a clear aesthetic criteria as much as a zeitgeist and a de-personalization of the arts. We do not declare war against the philistine or the mid-cultist as that war is already lost–we are but an exploratory remnant that benefits from no want to make money on this endeavor and thus to be obscure or as popular as individual taste allows. We are like the orphaned children of deposed nobility, walking in the aftermath of their advances and retreats; their hundred visions and revisions. We are former people, who acknowledge that perhaps modernism has ended with both bangs and whimpers, and thus perhaps it can be appreciated and renewed as only something of the past truly can be: after all the mortar of future dreams is mixed water and quickener with ashes and pith of dead cities.
C. Derick Varn and Steven A. Michalkow
This week you'll hear from TS Elliot, William Butler Yeats, Allen Ginsberg, and Christopher Knowles. Remember, Literature is power.Diet Soap Podcast #194: Raising Our Collective Consciousness
October 09, 2013 01:59 PM PDT
The guest this week is the radical thinker, writer, and editor Anne Jaclard. Anne Jaclard is a long-time activist in the U.S. women’s movement and international solidarity movements and her current work concentrates on the theoretical and practical relationship of philosophy to revolutionary organization and we discussed her paper and lecture 'Let’s Mobilize the Left to Reject the Dogma that Workers Need their “Consciousness Raised".'
I want to reiterate my thanks to everyone who donated to the Think the Impossible book and podcast tour through Kickstarter because this weekend you're sending me back to San Francisco where I'll be reading or performing as a part of the Writers with Drinks variety show at the Makeout Room along with Kim Stanley Robinson, Tom Barbash, Kim Wong Keltner, Mollena "Mo" Williams, and Tatyana Brown. If you're in San Francisco I urge you to turn up. The Makeout room is at 3225 22nd. St.
There are a couple of sound clips in this episode. You'll hear the New Seekers and Chad African talking Coca-Cola along with Joan Baez and Noam Chomsky.Diet Soap Podcast #193: Kierkegaard and the Crisis in Religion
October 02, 2013 11:29 AM PDT
This week on the Diet Soap podcast the internet archive comes to the rescue. I'd planned on running an interview with Jason Horsley this week, however there were so many technical difficulties (Horsley couldn't hear me and I had to type my questions to him through Skype's chat feature) that editing the conversation into something interesting proved to be too time consuming. Instead I'm running a lecture by the late Walter Kaufmann. The lecture is on existentialism, Kierkegaard, and the crisis in religion.
Per wikipedia: Walter Arnold Kaufmann was a German-American philosopher, translator, and poet. A prolific author, he wrote extensively on a broad range of subjects, such as authenticity and death, moral philosophy and existentialism, theism and atheism, Christianity and Judaism, as well as philosophy and literature. He served for over 30 years as a Professor at Princeton University.
It's Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 and I'm Douglas Lain the host of this podcast. I should point out that Diet Soap was recently picked up for rebroadcast on WPRR, that's Public Reality Radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I want to say hello to listeners in Grand Rapids and if you're listening to me on the radio there I want to encourage you to contact me. You can use the contact form on douglaslain.com, friend me on Facebook, follow me on twitter, or, if you're in Portland, you can just sit next to me on the bus. I'm often to be found on the number 19.
Next week there should be a conversation with Anne Jaclard on the subject of Left Activism and consciousness raising and after that I'm hoping to talk to Mark Fisher about Capitalist Realism, to Noëlle Claire McAfee about both her friend Rick Roderick and her book on the unconscious and democracy, and to my son Benjamin about Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and the television program Breaking Bad.Pop the Left #9: Is Žižek Dreaming Dangerously?
September 25, 2013 01:01 PM PDT
This week I'm presenting the latest Pop the Left Special wherein C Derick Varn and I discuss Slavoj Žižek's little book "The Year of Dreaming Dangerously." Neither of us found the book to be either coherent or useful. My main complaint would be Žižek's failure to take Marx's critique of Capitalist political economy seriously and his abandonment of the Labor Theory of Value. The conclusion we reach is that Žižek is a worthwhile philosopher, but that his philosophy is not a firm foundation for the development of a politics or a movement. What Žižek does deliver is an imperative: "THINK!" It turns out that this imperative will require us to think beyond him.
In this episode you'll hear clips from the movie trailer for The Spectacular Now, a youtube mash-up of Zizek's lectures, Zizek at Occupy Wall Street, and a bit of a Diet Soap interview with the art historian TJ Clark.Diet Soap Special: Bluestockings Event
September 20, 2013 10:14 PM PDT
The Think the Impossible tour was a great success. I met up with many incredible people including Kevin Dole, Brad Potts, Andy Marshall, and Eilidh Bradley. Also, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Charley Earp, Terry Bisson, Daniel Coffeen, Margaret Kimberley, McKenzie Wark and Andrew Kliman all participated in the actual readings/events.
This week rather than a regular episode of Diet Soap you'll be hearing the audio from the Bluestockings event on Sunday, September 15th. Here's a description of that event as it was listed on the Bluestockings website:
Presentation: “Think the Impossible: Christopher Robin and May 1968″
September 11, 2013 10:00 AM PDT
Since I'm travelling on the Think the Impossible tour this week's podcast has been preempted by a reading at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. Today I am in Chicago getting ready for a reading at the Book Cellar at 4736-38 N Lincoln Ave. If you're in Chicago please do attend. Featured guests will include Charley Earp and Mary Anne Mohanraj.
Promo material from Borderlands Reading:
Douglas Lain, BILLY MOON (Tor, Hardcover, $24.99) with guests Terry Bisson and Daniel Coffeen Saturday, September 7th at 3:00 pm - We are happy to welcome Douglas Lain and guests Terry Bisson and Daniel Coffeen! Doug's new book is getting glowing reviews, including this starred Library Journal Review: "Christopher Robin Milne, aka "Billy Moon," has never quite outlived the image of him presented to the world by his father, the illustrious A. A. Milne. After service in World War II, Christopher and his wife operate a low-key bookstore (sans the tales of a certain stuffed bear). When a French college student invites him to Paris to witness the student uprisings in 1968, Christopher accepts on a whim -- and enters a scenario every bit as "magical" and much more dangerous than any from his fictional childhood. Lain's first novel combines two unlikely topics to form a tapestry of life in the late 1960s, when Europe, as well as America, experienced the revolutionary fervor of youth. Milne's friend and guide, Gerrard, has a curious relationship with time and space, and Milne finds himself caught up in the transient nature of both while seeking desperately to anchor himself to his real present. VERDICT - Luminous storytelling and brilliant period descriptions make this fictional biography a priceless addition to the American magical realism canon; the book should be recommended to fantasy and general fiction readers." Doug also brings us special guests Terry Bisson and Daniel Coffeen, who will add additional depth and dimension to the conversation with their own insights on the events of 1968 and magical world-building. Don't miss this extraordinary novel and this very special event!
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Hosted by Douglas Lain, the Diet Soap podcast explores surrealism, marxism, anarchism and continental philosophy through noise art or sound collages and interviews. Dedicated to applying imagination and intellect to what Lain thinks of as “the problem of Late Capitalism” the podcast is in its 4th year and reaches well over a thousand listeners every week.
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Find out more about the host of this podcast at douglaslain.com
Douglas Lain is a fiction writer, blogger, copywriter, and most recently a “pop philosopher” for the popular blog Thought Catalog. His work has regularly appeared in nationally distributed literary magazines and journals such as Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and Amazing Stories since 1999, and his first book Last Week’s Apocalypse was a collection of these stories published by Night Shade Books. His second short story collection is entitled Fall Into Time and was published by Fantastic Planet Press (an imprint of the Bizarro publisher Eraserhead) in June of 2011. A novella entitled “Wave of Mutilation“is due out from Fantastic Planet Press in October of 2011. His surreal nonfiction book “Pick Your Battle” was published in July of 2011 with Kickstarter funding. Finally, Lain’s first novel, entitled “Billy Moon: 1968,” tells the story of Christopher Robin Milne’s fictional involvement with the French general strike in May of 1968, is due out from Tor Books in 2013. His wife Miriam Lain, who is somewhat reluctantly also involved with the podcast, knows a great deal about the Titanic.
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