a philosophy podcast from zero books
Zero Squared #60: Marx/Adorno at the PNCA
March 16, 2016 05:33 PM PDTLast week I gave presentation at the Pacific Northwest College of Arts. After an introductions and a discussion about Zero Books, Doug gave a presentation on the Critique of the Gotha Program and a brief discussion of Adorno. Also included in this presentation was Brendan Cooney's video on Abstract Labor and a 70s advertisement for the Polaroid SX-70. Special thanks for this episode goes to Sarah O'Hare and the other PNCA Critical Theory graduate students and professors. From Adorno: The sociological theory that the loss of the support of objectively established religion, the dissolution of the last remnants of pre-capitalism, together with technological and social differentiation or specialisation, have led to cultural chaos is disproved every day; for culture now impresses the same stamp on everything. From Marx: But the whole program, for all its democratic clang, is tainted through and through by the Lassallean sect's servile belief in the state, or, what is no better, by a democratic belief in miracles; or rather it is a compromise between these two kinds of belief in miracles, both equally remote from socialism. Zero Squared #59: It's Not Over
March 09, 2016 01:18 PM PST
Pete Dolack has been published on a variety of political and literary topics, mostly pertaining to contemporary issues. He has been published multiple times in the peer-reviewed academic journal Working USA: The Journal of Labor & Society, and currently is published regularly by the online popular magazines CounterPunch and ZNet. His book, It’s Not Over: Learning from the Socialist Experiment was published by Zero Books in February of 2016 and he is the guest on this week’s podcast.
Rick Wolff, author of Capitalism Hits the Fan, blurbed Dolack’s book this way: As Cold War taboos on honest discussions of capitalism and socialism lose their force, important books like this are emerging. They ask why capitalism keeps provoking movements to go beyond it, why they have not yet achieved that goal, and what we must learn from them so the next efforts prove more effective. Dolack here contributes to the vital emerging answers.
In this episode you’ll hear clips from Brendan Cooney’s youtube video “Manufacturing Consent” and Coco Briaval’s cover of the Internationale.Zero Squared #58: Memory, Spirit, and Christopher Hitchens
March 02, 2016 10:13 AM PSTStefany Anne Golberg is a writer for magazines such as The Smart Set, the former Critic-in Residence at Drexel University, a multi-media artist, and a founding member of Flux Factory, an arts collective in New York. Her husband Morgan Meis has a PhD in Philosophy is a founding member of Flux Factory as well, and is a recipient of the Whiting Award. Together their book Dead People, a collection of literary and critical obituaries, is due out from Zero Books in June of this year. As this week’s episode is about remembering and attempting to understand the significance of the dead it seems appropriate here at the start to offer up a short excerpt from Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: The dead individual, by his having detached and liberated his being from his action or his negative unity, is an empty particular, merely existing passively for some other, at the mercy of every lower irrational organic agency, and the [chemical, physical] forces of abstract material elements, both of which are now stronger than himself, the former on account of the life which they have, the latter on account of their negative nature.(1) he family keeps away from the dead this dishonouring of him by the desires of unconscious organic agencies and by abstract elements, puts its own action in place of theirs, and weds the relative to the bosom of the earth, the elemental individuality that passes not away. Thereby the family makes the dead a member of a community(2) which prevails over and holds under control the powers of the particular material elements and the lower living creatures, which sought to have their way with the dead and destroy him. In this episode you’ll hear from Thomas J.J. Altizer on Hegel and the death of God, an clip from Gene Martin and Reverend AA Allen and the gospel hymn “God’s Not Dead,”a bit of dialogue from the television show True Detective, a clip from the documentary film “Manufacturing Consent,” and Dan Lett’s “Yeah It’s All Right.” Zero Books # 57: Hegel vs. Spinoza
February 24, 2016 11:53 AM PST
Gregor Moder teaches philosophy at the University of Ljubljana. The original plan for this episode was to discuss his paper about street theater and Althusser but the two of us hit it off so well, so easily fell into philosophical conversation, that my prepared questions on his paper were simply pushed aside as we entertained each other with a spontaneous conversation about Hegel, Spinoza, and, of all things, Donald Trump.
In the United States the reality TV show known as the presidential race is dominating our political imaginations as the hollowness, the silliness, and the unreality of the spectacle proves to have its own mesmerizing power. However, our aim at Zero Books shall be to, as much as possible, think and evaluate the problems this spectacle is designed to distract us away from even as we try to suss out what secret meanings even these distractions contain.
Having mentioned distractions I should also point out that listeners to this podcast might want to take a look at the 8 bit philosophy youtube channel. There is a video in the works about Alfie Bown’s book Enjoying It: Candy Crush and Capitalism as well as a fun vid about Donald Trump and the end of politics that’s online now.
In this episode you’ll hear a clip from Mel Brooks’ Hitler Rap, an excerpt from an old Diet Soap podcast wherein I describe Hegel’s phenomenology to my son Benjamin and my wife Miriam, the music of Cyriak, and Slavoj Zizek pontificating on Hegel. The music you’re hearing right now is from Cyriak’s video “Something” but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Gregor Moder and I talk about Hegel and Spinoza.Zero Squared #56: Trolls and Tumblrites
February 19, 2016 09:27 AM PSTC. Derick Varn is a reader at Zero Books, a poet, blogger and podcaster. His podcasts include Symptomatic Redness and Former People and he is a frequent guest on Zero Squared. This week we have yet another politically incorrect conversation about the dysfunction of a political discourse that all too often can be reduced to an opposition between Trolls and Tumblrites. Jordannah Elizabeth is appearing at In Other Words bookstore today. She’ll be reading from her book out from Zero entitled “Don’t Lose Track, Volume 1,” and she’s been nice enough to invite me to take part and read from my book “After the Saucers Landed” at her event. If you’re in Portland I urge you to turn up for the event at 7pm. It’s at 14 NE Killingsworth St. In this episode you’ll also hear a fair use excerpt from Beyonce’s Formation, the voice of Slavoj Zizek, the voice of Professor Gregory B Sadler explaining Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, a piano version of the Nyan Nyan Cat theme, Woody Allen discussing Nietzsche, the late Terence McKenna, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as performed by a flash mob, and Tom Brier playing the Super Mario theme. Zero Squared #55: Losing Track
February 02, 2016 11:03 PM PSTJordannah Elizabeth is a musician, entertainment journalist, author, model and the founder of the literary nonprofit, Publik / Private. Her writing has appeared on VICE, Nerve.com, SF Weekly, MTV Iggy, Ms. Magazine and more. Her book Don’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 Selected Articles, Essays and Q&As, is a mixed tape version of her articles, interviews and reviews, and she’s currently on her book tour. On Feb 8th: New York, NY - Bluestockings Bookstore Feb 11th: Baltimore, MD - Red Emma´s Bookstore (Baltimore Guest Speakers - Playwright, Theresa Columbus & Musician, Afia Lydia) Feb 16th: Seattle, WA - Left Bank Books Collective (Seattle Guest Speaker, Sub Pop Artist, Cat Harris-White) Feb 17th: Portland, OR - In Other Words Feb 19th: San Francisco, CA - Amnesia Feb 20th: Los Angeles, CA - Private Event/Book Reading (Los Angeles Guest Speaker - Fashion Blogger, Candy Washington) February 27th: Pittsburgh, PA - Straybook TV Author Panel March 17th: Baltimore, MD - Maryland Dept. of Labor's Brown Bag Lecture Series In this episode you’ll also hear about the time I won first place in a national mansplaining competition, the voice of Hunter S. Thompson, excerpts from The Morning After Girls, Tim and Eric, Bill Burr, Jordannah Elizabeth’s Cello Experiment, a piano cover of Drake’s Hotline-Bling, and a warped version of Marc Maron's WTF podcast theme. Zero Squared #54: Liberty in a Holding Pattern
January 26, 2016 08:25 PM PST
Brendan O’Neill is the editor of spiked online and a columnist for the Big Issue and Reason. He also writes for a variety of other publications, including the Telegraph, the Spectator and the Australian. In this episode we discuss how spiked started off as a Marxist publication and where it’s ended up.
According to spiked’s own self-description the magazine is a fan of reason, liberty, progress, economic growth, choice, conviction and thought experiments about the future, and not so big on eco-miserabilism, identikit politicians, nostalgia, dumbing down and determinism.
In this episode you’ll hear Hussalonia’s “Everybody Should Stop Doing Everything,” an excerpt from the Fixx’s “One Thing Leads to Another”, Noam Chomsky describing the problem of free will, and Captain Kirk reading from the constitution of the United States of America.
The music you’re listening to right now is the theme for Barney Miller and is being played in tribute to Abe Vigoda who, this time, has really died, but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Brendan O’Neil and I discuss how to hang on to bourgeois liberty.Zero Squared #53: Thinking Thomas
January 20, 2016 09:00 PM PST
Thomas Lynn is a youtuber with a new channel entitled “Thinking Thomas.” A few months back he approached me about interviewing Zero Books authors on his channel and since then he has done so at least a few times. The following interview was one of the results of our correspondence and in this conversation you’ll hear us discuss the enlightenment, Adorno, and the perils of “radical” publishing.
I should take a moment now to mention a few of the new books that we’ll have coming in February. Pete Dolack’s It’s Not Over is a 900 page history of socialist revolution in the 20th century with an emphasis on the history of the Soviet Union, Stuart Feather’s Blowing the Lid is a history of the Gay Liberation Front written by a former participant, and Stuart Walton’s “In the Realm of the Senses” is a philosophical reexamination of the notion of materialism. I want to urge you to visit the website and check out these new titles as well as our entire catalog.
In this episode you’ll hear the theme from William Buckley’s Firing Line, an excerpt from a documentary entitled Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking and a clip from Alt Instrumental by Dan Lett.Zero Squared #50: Enjoyment (It's a Trap!)
January 05, 2016 09:15 PM PSTAlfie Bown is editor of Everyday Analysis, a blog and book series with Zer0 Books. He’s an assistant professor in Hong Kong and he writes on critical theory and comedy. His first stand-alone book with Zero Books Enjoying It: Candy Crush and Capitalism was published on December 11th this year, and the back of the jacket copy for the first book describes it this way. Using a range of ‘case studies’ from Critical Theory to Candy Crush, ‘Gangnam Style’ to Game of Thrones and Football Manager to Hieronymus Bosch, this book argues that we need to rethink our enjoyment. Simultaneous with this appearance on Zero Squared, Alfie Bown is also a guest on the always enlightening C-Realm podcast where he holds up well under KMO’s scrutiny. In this episode you’ll hear excerpts from a conversation with Harold Bloom, a reading of Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming.” You’ll hear clips of the music of Super Mario Brothers, an 8bit version of Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi, and Schoenberg. You’ll also find a bit of a lecture on Adorno’s “Culture Industry” from the youtube star Kevin McNeilly, Cyriak’s meow mix, and What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? from the Ukulele Teacher. Zero Squared: A New Year’s Special
January 02, 2016 10:47 AM PSTThis special January 2nd, 2016 episode of Zero Squared explores why Critical Theorists deploy the word "problematic" and what they are REALLY saying when they talk about your fave. Clips in this episode/collage include KMO from the C-Realm, John Berger, The Wireless Philosopher on the Problem of Perception, Michel Foucault Beyond Good and Evil (1993), music from the Truman Show, Laci Green, Tori the Queer, Evan Edinger, Noam Chomsky, Robin Williams, and clips the film A Day in the Afterlive of Philip K Dick. Here's an excerpt from the collage: What’s problematic in today’s Critical Theory? That is, what is it that motivates the critical theorist to call something “problematic?” According to the Philosophy dictionary online (that’s www.philosophy-dictionary dot org) something is a “problematic judgement” when it involves “the consciousness of the mere possibility” or, when it does not contain the consciousness of actuality or necessity. To clarify, something is a problematic judgement, when it is subjective. In Hegel’s Science of Logic he labels the problematic as “assertoric.” This just means that it is an assertion given by a particular subject. Hegel’s logic is quite complicated, but the claim here is that when one asserts something, like “twerking is bad” one is asserting more than a particular fact about one’s own subjective experience. One is also making a claim about a universal notion. To make this clearer still, something is problematic or problematized when it can seen to be self-generated and thereby self-interested rather than objective or necessary. Again, the problem in the term “problematic” is the subjectivity of experience. A claim is problematic when its relationship to a universal notion or an objective fact has not been determined. We might wonder then why it is that so many people use the term “problematic” a bit differently.
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.
Subscribe to this Podcast