25 Feb 2015, 9:31pm
Zero Squared


Zero Squared #8: Dispirited (how spirituality makes us stupid)


David Webster is the guest this week and we discuss his book Dispirited: How Contemporary Spirituality Makes Us Stupid, Selfish, and Unhappy which came out from Zero Books in 2012. Dr Mikael Askander blurbed the book. He wrote: Annoyed by the phrase ‘I am not religious, but I’m very spiritual’, Dr. David Webster successfully maps out the problems and contradictions it leads to. This is as close to a ‘must read’ as it gets, for the religious as well as the spiritual reader, as well as for atheists.  

Zero Books has titles coming next month: Rebel Rebel by Chris O’Leary and No More Heroes by Carl Neville. Chris O’Leary’s book Rebel Rebel has been getting some attention. It’s a big book on David Bowie, O’Leary runs a blog called Pushing Ahead of the Dame about David Bowie, and he’ll be a guest on Zero Squared soon.

The Radical Theologian Peter Rollins is also coming soon to Zero Squared. I believe my conversation with him will be online next week as we’re scheduled to talk this Friday.

In this episode you’ll be hearing Shirley MacLaine , Johnny Carson, Robert Solomon, the narrator for the instructional video Spiritual Reality, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Steven Shakespeare, Peter Rollins, the Dunkin Donuts guy, Frank Sinatra, the group XTC, the theme from Waking Life, the music of Delia Derbyshire, the soundtrack for the film CQ, and some radio static.

18 Feb 2015, 8:45am
Zero Squared

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Zero Squared #7: The Age of Nixon


Carl Freedman is the guest this week and we discuss his book The Age of Nixon which came out from Zero Books in 2012. The iconic Grand Master of science fiction Samuel R. Delany blurbed the book. He wrote: Nixon continues to fascinate us, and to haunt our dreams, even these many years after his death. Carl Freedman’s compelling book takes the full measure of Nixon the man, Nixon the media image, Nixon the myth, and even Nixon the ideal type, the quintessential expression, and the most capacious representative of the political and economic system under which we continue to live today.

I should mention again there are two new Zero Books titles coming next month: Rebel Rebel by Chris O’Leary and No More Heroes by Carl Neville. Chris O’Leary’s book Rebel Rebel is a big book on David Bowie, O’Leary runs a blog called Pushing Ahead of the Dame about David Bowie, and he’ll be a guest on Zero Squared soon.

In this episode you’ll be hearing the from Bill Murray, Steve Allen, David Frye, and former President Richard Nixon. You’ll also hear the piano music of Richard Nixon, and a clip from Futurama. The music you’re listening to right now is Jo Ann Castle on the Lawrence Welk Show playing Piano Roll Blues as heard through the dialectic but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Carl Freedman and I discussing the Age of Nixon.

Zero Squared #6: Cultural Marxism?


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.

4 Feb 2015, 7:46am
Zero Squared

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Zero Squared #5: Darwin and the Death of God


James Morrow is the guest this week. Morrow is a novelist and literary science fiction writer whose most well known work is probably the novel Towing Jehovah and this week we discuss his newest book, out from St. Martin’s Press, Galapagos Regained. Publisher’s Weekly described this new novel as “a comic blend of Victorian science colliding with Christian faith as greedy folks enter the Percy Shelley Society’s “Great God Contest” to win a hefty cash prize.” And in this episode we discuss atheism, humanism, Darwin as well as the death of God, Peter Rollins, Slavoj Zizek (of course), and the difference between symbolism and allegory.

In podcast news Jasun Horsley has set sail and taken his liminal corner into its own space and own feed. His new podcast is called the Liminal Criminal.

News from Zero Books includes the recent publication of three new titles: Horsley’s “Seen and Not Seen,” David Winter’s “Infinite Fiction,” and Phil Knight’s “Strangled.” Strangled is about the punk band The Stranglers. These three titles arrived on January 30th.

The music in this episode includes musical doodles from Dan Lett, a work in progress from Nik Walton, and the music from a 1970s Doctor Pepper advertisement. You’ll hear Pete Rollins, a man from a question and answer segment at a Zizek lecture, the death of God theologian Thomas Altizer, Mikey from the Life Cereal advertisementand Negativland’s first album Negativlandcirca 1980.