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Zero Squared #58: Memory, Spirit, and Christopher Hitchens
March 02, 2016 10:13 AM PST
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Stefany 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
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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 PST
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C. 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 PST
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Jordannah 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
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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 #50: Enjoyment (It's a Trap!)
January 05, 2016 09:15 PM PST
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Alfie 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 PST
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This 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 Squared 49: Against Capitalist Education
December 23, 2015 08:57 PM PST
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Nadim Bakhshov is a member of the museum of thought collective, an imaginal archaeology group specialising in unearthing historical conceptual artefacts and founded a radical post-conceptual art movement with the Argentine pataphysician Kurt César. His book Against Capitalist Education is out from Zero Books right now. The book is written as a philosophical dialogue. The book argues that the education system is being crushed by the demands of capitalism and, in turn, is crushing those who pass through it.

Friedrich Faust, author of Gone With the Crowd blurbed the book this way, “A fundamental challenge to those who argue the humanities have no place in brave new world dominated by the technocrats.”

In this episode you’ll hear a bit of music from a little movie called Star Wars, an excerpt from the youtube video featuring Dr. Bart van Heerikhuizen from the University of Amsterdam as he explains the ideas Émile Durkheim as well as some clips about Jediism, and music from the Awesome8bit.

Zero Squared #48.5: Yasin Kakande's Full Interview
December 16, 2015 08:56 PM PST
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On Sunday we uploaded an interview with Yasin Kakande wherein we stepped in and offered paraphrased narration because we thought that the audio quality of his side of the conversation made it difficult to follow. However, having listened to the conversation with earbuds we find Kakande’s answers comes through clearly and this week we're uploading the full conversation, a conversations we’d shortened because of the time required to edit in the narration.

Kakande is a former journalist for the newspaper the National out of Dubai, a news producer for City 7 TV in Dubai, and a former reporter and assistant editor for the Bahrain Tribune. His book Slave States is out from Zero Books this month. It is an exposé of the Kafala system.

Kafala is a sponsorship system used to monitor migrant workers in the Gulf Arab Region. Kafala requires that a migrant worker’s employer acts as his or her sponsor. It puts the employer in charge of most aspects of a migrant workers life. The human rights organization Amnesty International has documented many human rights abuses by Kafala employers. At a FIFA hearing in July of this year, AIUSA Advocacy Director Sunjeev Bery testified against Kafala. He reported that “The Kafala sponsorship system is a recipe for worker abuse.” The concern was raised in regards to the migrant workers preparing for the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Bery said that “As a first step, Qatar must abolish the inherently abusive policies that give employers the power to decide whether a worker can leave the country or take another job.”

Zero Squared #47: Imperialism or Security
December 02, 2015 06:07 PM PST
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Margaret Kimberley has been an editor and Senior Columnist of Black Agenda Report since its inception in 2006. Her work has also appeared on sites such as Alternet and Counterpunch and in publications such as The Dallas Morning News and The Chicago Defender. She is a regular guest on radio talk shows and has appeared on Al Jazeera English, Russia Today, the Real News Network and GRITtv, and this week she’s on Zero Squared to discuss the aftermath of the Parisian terrorist attacks.

During the podcast I ask why Russia can’t be or doesn’t want to be a member of NATO. There is, as per usual, a specific historical answer to that question that neither of us raise. Specifically, while a partnership between Russia and NATO was established after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO decided to suspend co-operation with Russia in response to the conflict in the Ukraine. Relations between NATO and Russia had been strained since the Russia/Georgian conflict in 2008. What it comes down to is a conflict over how far the European Union should extend and which nations should join. This much is obvious, really, but it bears being said directly here at the outset.

In this episode you’ll hear a clip from Mizzou student protests, Negativland’s hit song Guns, Colin Powell’s comments on the conflict between Russia and Georgia, and an excerpt from Negativland’s 1980 album titled, what else, Negativland.

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