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Diet Soap Podcast #225: Were Top Corporate Executives Really Hogging Workers’ Wages?
October 13, 2014 11:23 PM PDT
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CEOs, Supermanagers, and other rich people are the subject this week as Andrew Kliman asks the question "Were Top Corporate Executives Really Hogging Workers’ Wages?" Professor Andrew Kliman is a professor of economics and Pace University and the author of the books Reclaiming Marx's Capital and The Failure of Capitalist Production," and the answer he gives as he discusses his essay at Truthdig may surprise you. Here's an excerpt from that essay: Thomas Piketty attributes rising inequality in the U.S. primarily to huge increases in the salaries of CEOs and other top executives, but he misinterprets the evidence. Rising salaries of top executives actually explain very little of the rise in inequality, and they depressed other employees’ pay by only a negligible amount. It's Monday, October 13th, 2014, and I'm Douglas Lain the host of this podcast. I'd like to thank Andy M, Jacob L, John Lewis, James H, John S, and Phillip L for donating to the podcast, and urge regular listeners to the Diet Soap podcast to find the paypal button at dietsoap.podomatic.com or look for the paypal buttons at douglaslain.com which will be going up in the next few days. Also, the podcast is available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review at iTunes in lieu of a donation.
Diet Soap Podcast #224: Pop the Imperialism
October 07, 2014 12:54 PM PDT
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Imperialism is the subject this week as C Derrick Varn and I bring back Pop the Left and discuss Lenin's pamphlet "Imperialism: The Highest Form of Capitalism."This was to be a discussion of the notion of the labor aristocracy, but we decided to start slow and see if we could understand Imperialism first. From Lenin's pamphlet, here's the definition: [Imperialism features] (1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed. I’d like to urge regular listeners to the Diet Soap podcast to find the paypal button at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is also available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review at iTunes in lieu of a donation
Double Feature Review: Cabin Fever or Cabin in the Woods
September 30, 2014 10:00 PM PDT
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Cabin Fever along with Cabin in the Woods make up the double feature for this month's Double Feature Review podcast. Also featured in this episode are comments on the movie Grosse Point Blank, the television show Roseanne, and the Jim Farris' endless grumbling.

One time pornographer and screenwriter for Universal Studios, Jim Farris begins the episode by noting our hiatus. "What is wrong with Douglas Lain?" Or to quote him directly, "WTF is wrong with you?" Listen closely for Lain's retelling of his thirteenth mid-life crisis nervous breakdown.

Follow Douglas Lain and Jim Farris on ello.co if you can.

Diet Soap Podcast #223: Death and Other Impossibilities
September 22, 2014 10:26 PM PDT
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Death is the subject this week as I talk to Daniel Coffeen about his neurosis, his grieving, and his buddhist therapist. The inevitability and impossibility of death is the subject as the sophist or rhetor and I try to figure out what life is all about and how we might live on in the face of our inevitable end.

You might hear a bit of a difference this week as I'm trying out my new Snowball Microphone and I'd like to thank Andy Marshall for his generous donation. Andy will be receiving the old Snowball microphone in the next week, after I get a chance to sign the thing.

I'd also like to urge regular listeners to the Diet Soap podcast to find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is also available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review at iTunes in lieu of a donation.

Some of the music you'll hear on this podcast includes Lieutenant Kije-Symphonic Suite, Opus 60: IV Troika, as heard in Woody Allen's 1975 film, Love and Death.

Soap Zero 2: Enlightenment Interrupted
September 16, 2014 01:39 AM PDT
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German Idealism and the Enlightenment are the subjects this week as Michael Steinberg discuss his book "Enlightenment Interrupted." Steinberg is an independent scholar and practicing attorney with a PhD in intellectual history from the University of Rochester. His book "Enlightenment Interrupted (The Lost Moment of German Idealism and the Reactionary Present)" came out from Zero Books in July of this year.

Previous books from Mr. Steinberg include The Fiction of a Thinkable World and A New Biology of Religion.

Professor Andrew Nash at the University of Cape Town praised the book. He wrote, "Michael Steinberg’s "Enlightenment Interrupted" is a master class and a rollercoaster ride, all at once. The pitfalls of abstract individualism have been pointed out since Hegel, and explaining them has been central to radical political thought for fifty years by now. But it’s never been easy to grasp concretely how that separation of self and world came about, and what the alternative to it could have been."

Diet Soap Podcast #221: The Making of Indebted Man
September 07, 2014 10:37 PM PDT
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Nietzsche and Marx are the primary subjects this week as Daniel Coffeen and I discuss the book The Making of Indebted Man. The MIT press website describes the thesis of the book as follows: The debtor-creditor relation, which is at the heart of this book, sharpens mechanisms of exploitation and domination indiscriminately, since, in it, there is no distinction between workers and the unemployed, consumers and producers, working and non-working populations, between retirees and welfare recipients. They are all “debtors,” guilty and responsible in the eyes of capital, which has become the Great, the Universal, Creditor. You might guess that I, being a wannabe Marxist, take some issue with that description of Capital, but Coffeen and I found points of agreement along the way in this conversation, both with each other and with the author Maurizio Lazaarato. I'd like to urge regular listeners to the podcast to find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review of at iTunes in lieu of a donation.
Diet Soap Podcast #220: Karl Marx's Reluctant Idealism
September 01, 2014 06:42 PM PDT
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Karl Marx and Hegel are the subjects this week as I talk to my friend Andy Marshall about Marx's Critique of Hegel's Philosophy in general. This conversation comes on the heels of a Facebook row with C Derick Varn wherein Varn took the widely accepted position that Marx was a materialist and Hegel was an idealist, while I argued that Marx was too enamored with Hegel's dialectical logic and the unity of subject and object to really escape the Platonic Realm entirely.

I'd like to thank Andy Marshall, Penny R, Reagan S, and Shane S, for their generous one time donations to the Diet Soap podcast, and to thank Andy Marshall, Ted F, John Spillane, Jacob L, and John L for their recurring donations. I urge regular listeners to the podcast to find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review at iTunes in lieu of a donation.

In the words of the Marxist Humanist Raya Dunayevskaya Marx's humanism was neither a rejection of idealism nor an acceptance of materialism, but the truth of both, and therefore a new unity.

Talking Art: Conceptual Art
August 26, 2014 11:57 PM PDT
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Conceptual art is the subject Miriam and I discuss as I try to work on my novel and create a podcast at one and the same time.

We start with John Baldessari's "A painting by Pat Nelson" and with the ideology of the polaroid camera, where the goal was to eliminate the barrier between the photographer and his subject so that all that was left was the simple decision. This is the ideology of art that is on display in these paintings. The artist is the man pointing, and in fact John took polaroids (or at least photographs) of his artist friend pointing at things that interested him enough to point at them. But what we're given isn't a series of these photographs, but a series of paintings. What John did was take the photos to different "sunday painters" who were then given the instruction to realistically paint what they saw in the photos. They were told not to embellish or make art, but just to render the photos in paint. What we were left with is an erasure of the act of painting (because what makes these paintings interesting isn't the painterliness of the painting) and also the erasure of that immediate act of decision (the subject matter isn't interesting either) and instead we have paintings of what polaroid wants to ignore. The mediating step. But what John wants to give us is that mediating step in itself and without mediation. He wants to make it transparently apparent. Paradoxically what he has to do in order to make the mediation of our experience of his work apparent is to create an aesthetic of irony rather than no aesthetic at all.

Soap Zero #1: Film Stills and Unreality
August 17, 2014 09:51 PM PDT
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Zero Books will be the focus of this new new line of Diet Soap specials. Which means this is episode 218 for Diet Soap but it is also episode one of Soap Zero, a podcast dedicated books published by Zero Books. The guest this week is Nicholas Rombes and we discuss his book 10/40/70. The premise of the book is that one can learn about a film by analyzing stills from it,specifically stills lifted from the ten, forty, and seventy minute mark. We take a close look at the Cronenberg's 1999 film eXistenZ. I'd like to urge regular listeners to the podcast to find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review of at iTunes in lieu of a donation. Music and sound clips on this episode include Otto Luening's "Low Speed" circa 1952, Delia Derbyshire's "Love Without Sound," clips from eXistenZ, and a lecture about Deleuze's Film Theory set to the song Skokiaan as played in the film Slacker.
Diet Soap Podcast #217: What's Missing in Psychoanalysis?
August 10, 2014 07:46 AM PDT
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Psychoanalysis and Lacan are the subjects this week and Joshua Cohen is the guest. We specifically discuss the object relation theory of the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein and the knotty theories of Jacque Lacan. Psychoanalytic terms such as splitting, psychic destitution, and the big Other are tossed around as Joshua Cohen is a therapist working in Seattle with training in Kleinian therapeutic techniques, and an interest in Lacan.

I'd like to urge regular listeners to the Diet Soap podcast to find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. Also, the podcast is available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review of at iTunes in lieu of a donation.

The music is this episode includesMozart's The Marriage of Figaro (a work Freud claimed to enjoy despite being, in his own words, "completely unmusical") as performed by Babette Dorn. Also included are clips of Zizek discussing coffee and cream, Annette Hanshaw singing "You're the Cream in my Coffee," a clip from The History of Philosophy without any Gaps, Louis CK on Parmenides and Parenting, and Mister Rogers autotuned.

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