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Zero Squared #27: Writing Through Time
July 15, 2015 10:30 AM PDT
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Rudy Rucker is the guest this week and we discuss his recently published book Journals 1990-2014. Rudy Rucker is a writer and a mathematician who spent 20 years as a Silicon Valley computer scientist. He's a contemporary master of science-fiction, and received the Philip K. Dick award twice. His 37 published books include novels and non-fiction books such as THE FOURTH DIMENSION. He composed Journals 1990-2014 over twenty-five years.

Rucker describes his process this way: I turn to my journals when I’m undergoing a personal crisis—I find it calming to write what’s on my mind. And I'm always looking for an easy path to enlightenment...I like to describe the things that I see going on in the daily world around me. I’ve always enjoyed Jack Kerouac’s practice of using words to sketch a scene around me in real time.

In this episode you’ll hear Richard Sandling as he describes doing stand up at a science fiction convention, a ukelele cover of the Star Trek theme, Rudy Rucker describing his novel Soft Ware, and Paradise 3001's Mondo 2000.

Zero Squared #25: A Diet of Austerity
June 30, 2015 11:59 PM PDT
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Elaine Graham-Leigh is a the guest this week. She's a member of Counterfire and a former member of the steering committee of the Campaign against Climate Change. Her book A Diet of Austerity was published by Zero Books in April of this year. Jonathan Neale, Author of Stop Global Warming, Change the World blurbed Elaine Graham-Leigh's book as follows: Who is to blame for climate change? Graham-Leigh says it's not fat people, cows or the working class. A challenging and interesting book, packed with new ideas to make you think again about what you thought you knew. In this episode you'll hear clips from a news report about Belgian Blue cows, a cow saying moo, dueling banjos from the film Deliverance, Brendan Cooney explaining Socially Necessary Labor Time, a nutrious breakfast torture collage, an instrumental cover of the protest standard “We Shall Overcome,” and an audio collage built on advertisements from the 70s, and Green Onions by Booker T and the MGS.
Zero Squared #12: Rebel Rebel
March 25, 2015 01:14 PM PDT
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Chris O'Leary is the guest this week and we discuss his book Rebel Rebel which is coming from Zero Books in two days. With the tag line: “Every single song. Everything you want to know, everything you didn't know” the book catalogs all of Bowie's songs from 1964 through 1976. The Cultural Critic Mark Dery (author of All the Young Dudes:Why Glam Rock Matters) sent me a blurb for O'Leary and I'll read it now: Marooned in '70s suburbia, I and countless weirdos like me awaited every new Bowie record as a deep-space ping from a world where weird ruled—proof that there really was life on Mars, if not in tract-home sprawl. To date, what passes for thoughtful inquiry into the polymorphous, polyvalent phenomenon that is David Bowie has consisted almost entirely of potted biographies and coffee-table photo albums. At last, the Homo Superior gets the exegesis he deserves: Rebel Rebel is the Lipstick Traces of Bowie studies, and Chris O'Leary its unchallenged dean. I should also point out that you can win a copy of O'Leary's book by entering the fictional Bowie lyric contest at DavidBowieNews.com, and I'll put a link to that in the show notes. In this episode you’ll hear a clip from the Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station, a clip of a cover of Kim Wilyde's The Kids in America done by Nirvana, David Bowie with Bing Crosby from Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas, an Andy Warhol/David Bowie interview juxtaposition and Bowie's Warszawa played on a Minimoog by the youtube star orchestron.
Zero Squared #11: Marxist Entertainment
March 17, 2015 10:18 PM PDT
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Andrew Kliman is the guest this week and we discuss his essay at the New Left Project entitled “Harvey Versus Marx On Capitalism’s Crises Part 1: Getting Marx Wrong.” The Harvey in this essay is the prominent Marxist Geographer David Harvey and not Harvey the rabbit, just in case you're wondering. It's Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 and I'm Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast. In the last week or so I've talked to several Zero Authors including Chris O'Leary (author of Rebel Rebel) and Eugene Thacker (author of In the Dust of this Planet, Starry Speculative Corpse, and Tentacles Longer than Night). In the weeks to come I hope to talk to Aaron Leonard (co-author of Heavy Radicals: The FBIs secret war on American Maoists) as well as Daniela Cascella (author of Footnotes, Mirages, Refrains and Leftovers of Writing Sound), Robert Jackson (author of Bioshock) and many, many others. In this episode you’ll be hearing clips from the Big Chill, Slavoj Zizek, Brendan Cooney, Nirvana and the Piano Cat, a clip from Tom O'Brien's interview with Thom Workman, the history of cell phone commercials, and an instrumental version of a Whiter Shade of Pale. Right now you're listening to the theme from Groucho Marx's “You Bet Your Life” but in just a moment you'll be listening to Brendan Cooney explaining the Declining Rate of Profit and then you'll hear Andrew Kliman and I discuss Marxist Entertainment.
Zero Squared #9: Magic Tricks and the Big Other
March 03, 2015 10:41 PM PST
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Peter Rollins is the guest this week and we discuss his book The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith which came out from Howard Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in January of this year (2015). Rob Bell, the author of Velvet Elvis, blurbed the book this way: What Pete does in this book is take you to the edge of a cliff where you can see how high you are and how far you would fall if you lost your footing. And just when most writers would kindly pull you back from the edge, he pushes you off, and you find yourself without any solid footing, disoriented, and in a bit of a panic...until you realize that your fall is in fact, a form of flying. And it's thrilling. The two new titles from Zero Books this month are Rebel Rebel by Chris O’Leary and No More Heroes by Carl Neville. Chris O’Leary will be on the podcast in two weeks to discuss that Space Oddity who is known as David Bowie and there is also going to be a contest at davidbowienews.com. I'll let you know about that and how you might win a free copy of the book in the weeks to come. I want to mention the passing of Leonard Nimoy. As some of you might know I've been working on a book about Star Trek and Hegel's approach to the dialectic for a couple of years now, or more accurately I've not been working on it. The original title of that book was “Star Trek is the true religion.” I'm saddened by the passing of Leonard Nimoy. I feel similarly to how I felt when Johnny Carson died, only more so. In a way the death of Leonard Nimoy is like the death of Ronald McDonald. It feels like something that wasn't supposed to happen. In this episode you’ll be hearing from a youtube magician, a clip from the David Fincher movie The Game, from the Woody Allen movie The Purple Rose of Cairo, from a lecture by the death of God theologian Thomas Altizer, from Late Nite from David Letterman, and from the album Mister Spock's Music from Outer Space, but in just a moment you'll be hearing Peter Rollins and I discuss Magic Tricks and The Big Other.
Zero Squared #6: Cultural Marxism?
February 11, 2015 12:14 AM PST
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C Derick Varn is the guest this week. Varn is a reader at Zero Books, a University lecturer and teacher currently living in Mexico, and my co-host on the Pop the Left podcast. In this episode of Zero Squared we briefly discuss his new podcast Symptomatic Redness and then discuss the notion of Cultural Marxism. Cultural Marxism is, as Varn puts it, a concept and misunderstanding held by paleo-conservatives and fascists, it's the term the far right deploys to describe a mishmash of often contradictory thinkers and concepts, including thinkers from the Frankfurt School, Gramsci, Lukas, and late 20th century feminist thinkers and “stand point” epistemologists.

There are several titles in production now for April. Eugene Thacker has two more Horror and Philosophy books coming after his success with “In the Dust of this Planet,” and Justin Barton's book “Hidden Valleys: Haunted by the Future” is due out as well. Barton's book suggests that the future is always alongside us, sometimes closer, sometimes further away, which I guess means that all six titles due out in April are, in a sense, already here.

You'll here the voices of Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Rick Roderick, Suey Park, Laurie Penny, Nikita Kruschev, and Che Guevara. You'll also hear the music of Theodore Adorno, reedited sounds from Mungo Jerry's hit “In the Summertime,”some Calliope Music, as well as the theme from Rick and Morty as run backwards through the dialectic.

At the start of the podcast you'll hear a few minutes from a youtube video about the Frankfurt School and Cultural Marxism, but it doesn't last too long.
Zero Squared #4: The Semiotics of Happiness
January 28, 2015 07:20 AM PST
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Ashley Frawley is the guest this week. Frawley is a lecturer at Swansea University, her book "The Semiotics of Happiness" is coming out from Bloomsbury in February, and we discuss how happiness was made into a political problem in the UK and how the aim of increasing "happiness" has become a substitute for real progressive politics. In podcast news, I'm hoping to double my workload. I've got a couple Pop the Left conversations in my archive as well as a few other archived interviews meant for Diet Soap, and if I can convince Jim Farris to do it after that long unannounced hiatus I'd like to carry on with the Double Feature Review. So here's the thing: Zero Squared has a feed over at the Zero Books blog and on iTunes, but if you search for Zero Squared on iTunes you'll find two feeds, one is the podomatic Diet Soap feed and has a picture of Philip K. Dick with his, cat and the other shows a painting of Jasun Horsley and a guy who looks like Seth Rogen. The guy is me and that feed is the Zero Books blog feed. So, here's what's going to happen…I'm going to phase out the old Diet Soap feed, the one with the picture of Philip K Dick. By April that feed will be gone. Most of you are probably subscribed to that feed. That's the podomatic feed and for a variety of reasons I think it's time to leave podomatic behind. However, while I am going to phase out the podomatic feed I'll be bringing back Diet Soap, Pop the Left and The Double Feature Review over at douglaslain.com. So, if you want to listen to all of it, to Zero Squared and everything else you can subscribe to douglaslain.com through iTunes or some other podcatcher. If you just want to listen to Zero Squared you can subscribe to Seth Rogen picture feed on iTunes or in another podcatcher. Again, my own blog douglaslain.com is where you'll find every podcast I'll do. This feed is slowly going away. Now, while I'm at it I should mention that there is one other podcast you might look for while you're on iTunes or wherever…actually there are two more. One is the Former People podcast. That used to be hosted on this feed and it features conversations about movies and literature. The other is Symptomatic Redness. That podcast is new and it features my co-host from Pop the Left interviewing theorists and writers from the left. The music in this episode includes pieces from Nik Walton, you just heard his piece Martha on the Move in the new intro, Dan Lett, and the youtube star Christian Grasslin performing a trumpet loop version of Pharrell Williams' hit Happy. You'll also hear a longish excerpt from a American Enterprise Institute talk by Arthur Brooks called "The Secret of Happiness," David Harvey talking about the Zero Growth economy, and Sam Binkley at the Department of Psychosocial Studies talking on "Happiness as Enterprise," and finally Jasun Horsley from his liminal corner will be heard, and the music you're listening to right now is Mark Hosler from Negativland mixing life at the Ghostprint Gallery in Richmond, Virginia.
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.

Diet Soap Podcast #214: The Religion of Identity
July 05, 2014 02:33 PM PDT
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Amber A'Lee Frost is the guest this week and we discuss her essay "Bro Bash" which was recently published in Jacobin magazine. The essay created quite a stir in twitter social justice circles as a criticism of Sarah Kendzior was mischaracterized and this led to false accusations. Here's a link to an infographic explaining the debacle. This week I'd like to thank Daniel A and David for their one time donations, and also thank Ted F, Jacob L, Andy Marshall, John Spillane, and John L for their regular monthly donations. And 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 also 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 #204: Breaking Bad All the Way
January 30, 2014 01:24 AM PST
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The guest this week is Mark Fisher. Fisher is the author of the book Capitalist Realism and Ghosts of My Life (writings on depression, hauntology and lost futures). Fisher is also the author of an essay on the hit television show Breaking Bad for the New Humanist magazine and it's this essay which will be the subject of this week's podcast. I want to thank my subscribers Jacob L and Andy M for their recurring donations and remind you that if you'd like to support the podcast you can find the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. To set up this interview I thought I'd paste in an excerpt from Mark Fisher's essay: Who needs religion when you have television? On soap operas, unlike in life, villainous characters almost always face their comeuppance. TV cops may now be required to have “complicated” private lives and dubious personal ethics, but we’re seldom in any serious doubt about the difference between good and evil, and on which side of the line the maverick cop ultimately falls. The persistence of the fantasy that justice is guaranteed – a religious fantasy – wouldn’t have surprised the great thinkers of modernity. Theorists such as Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche and Marx argued that atheism was extremely difficult to practise. It’s all very well professing a lack of belief in God, but it’s much harder to give up the habits of thought which assume providence, divine justice and a secure distinction between good and evil.

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