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Zero Squared #34: Defending Modernity
September 09, 2015 01:24 PM PDT
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Leigh Phillips is a science writer and EU affairs journalist. His writing has appeared in Nature, the Guardian, Scientific American, and the Daily Telegraph. His book Austerity Ecology and the Collapse Porn Addicts is coming from Zero Books in October.

According to Phillips: modernity is not the cause of climate change and the wider biocrisis. It is indeed capitalism that is the source of our environmental woes, but capitalism as a mode of production, not the fuzzy understanding of capitalism of Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Derrick Jensen, Paul Kingsnorth and their anarcho-liberal epigones as a sort of globalist corporate malfeasance. 

In this episode you’ll hear from Derrick Jensen, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Stephen Fry reading from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. We'll also flip down and up the dial on mainstream ecological paranoia and hear a clip from Negativland and The Grateful Dead's instrumental hit Cold Rain.

Zero Squared #31: Dialectic of Defeat
August 12, 2015 08:28 PM PDT
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Russell Jacoby's Dialectic of Defeat: Contours of Western Marxism is the subject this week and C Derick Varn is the guest. Varn is a poet, teacher, theorist and a reader at Zero Books. This is the second time we've spoken about Jacoby's book. We're taking it one chapter at a time. Russell Jacoby asks us to reexamine a loser of Marxism: the unorthodox Marxism of Western Europe. The author begins with a polemical attack on 'conformist' or orthodox Marxism, in which he includes structuralist schools. He argues that a cult of success and science drained this Marxism of its critical impulse and that the successes of the Russian and Chinese revolutions encouraged a mechanical and fruitless mimicry. He then turns to a Western alternative that neither succumbed to the spell of success nor obliterated the individual in the name of science. In the nineteenth century, this Western Marxism already diverged from Russian Marxism in its interpretation of Hegel and its evaluation of Engels' orthodox Marxism. The author follows the evolution of this minority tradition and its opposition to authoritarian forms of political theory and practice. In this episode you'll here a list of moder political philosophers set to Life is a Rock by Reunion, Frederic Jameson set to music from the Manson Family Opera, an excerpt from an old episode of Diet Soap wherein I discuss Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit with my son Benjamin, and Glenn Gould playing Bach's Partita #2.
Zero Squared #30: Participation or Revolution
August 04, 2015 11:38 PM PDT
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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 two seemingly separate subjects. First we talk about the Greek economic crisis and then we cover a small incident at the Netroots conference involving leaders from the Black Lives Matter movement and US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. On this topic Bruce Dixon, the managing editor at the Black Agenda Report, wrote: All in all, the NetRootsNation confrontation wasn't the stirring of black women activists “taking their rightful place at the front of the progressive movement,” as one breathless tweet called it. It didn't tell us anything we didn't know about O'Malley or Sanders, or about hypocritical Hillary. It was about flying the #BlackLivesMatter flag to jockey for positions inside the machinery that is the Democratic party and its affiliates. In this episode you’ll hear a clip from Rick and Morty, the music of Negativland from their album Negativland, a clip from an interview with Michael Nevradakis at the Real News network, Blonde Redhead's For the Damaged Coda, Mazzy Star's Look On Down From the Bridge, Bernie Sanders as he's interrupted by Black Lives Matters, and another Negativland song called Booper Symphony.
Zero Squared #29: Shooting the Moon
July 28, 2015 11:54 PM PDT
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Brian Willems is Assistant Professor at the University of Split, Croatia, where he teaches literature at the Faculty of Philosophy and film theory at the Arts Academy and his book Shooting the Moon was published in May this year from Zero Books. Laurence A Rickels, author of Germany: A Science Fiction, blurbed the book this way Shooting the Moon shows how our most abiding object or objective on reality’s horizon was overshot and displaced by the other reality of realization of our wish fantasies. When we ask for the moon we travel a jump cut from an idealized past to a future of wish fulfillment lying deep inside the film medium and its ongoing history. In this episode you’ll hear a clip from Futurama, Slavoj Zizek explaining a bottle of tea, Chris “Isto” White singing the jazz standard “It's Only a Paper Moon,” The Evolution Control Committee's “The Fucking Moon,” a clip from the auralgraphic entertainment “Dreamies” by Bill Holt, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner performing in “The First Men in the Moon,” Doctor Who and the Monolith reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, Negativland, and in tribute to Don Joyce, one of "Crosley Bendix's" Arts Reviews.
Zero Squared #28: Imaginary Games
July 22, 2015 10:07 AM PDT
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Chris Bateman is a game designer, outsider philosopher and author. His book Imaginary Games was published by Zero Books in 2011. Bateman is also the blogger behind Only a Game and he posts regularly in between writing how to manuals on game design and lecturing at the University of Bolton. Jon Cogburn, Director of Philosophy at LSU blurbed Imaginary Games this way: Chris Bateman’s Imaginary Games may just do for videogames what Noël Carroll’s The Philosophy of Horror did for scary books and movies.... not only philosophically compelling and interesting; it is also a great read. In this episode you’ll hear a rerun of a conversation about the movie Tron between me and my then thirteen year old son Ben, theme music from Super Smash Brothers Melee, Chad African explaining Zizek and his idea of ontological incompleteness, clips from a youtube documentary about smash, a short clip on Hegel from the 8-bit philosophy series, and the theme music from Super Mario Brothers.
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.

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