Zero Squared Special: Left Forum Panel on Praxis

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Theory, Practice and Praxis was the topic of the first Zero Books panel at the Left Forum last month and this week instead of an interview you’ll hear a recording of that panel. Thanks to Michael Steinberg and his crew/family for arriving with solid audio equipment and for putting up with the interruptions and heckling that came from the moderator. Thanks also to Chris Vitale for participating.

Here’s an Excerpt from the introduction:

There are many definitions of the word Praxis that get kicked around in Marxist circles and most of them are meaningless. Often enough the word is used to signify a half baked notion of a synthesis between theory and practice, touted as a solution for the problem of sterile or academic philosophy. The idea is that people put “theory” on a pedestal when really, as Marx argued, the aim shouldn’t be to merely interpret the world, but to change it. Praxis then is the realization of this necessity, it’s a word that is often spoken with the aim of elevating practice, a word deployed meant to bring the merely practical to the level of theory, when the true insight contained in the word is how utterly entwined theory and practice are from the start.

Michael Steinberg is the author of Enlightenment Interrupted and Chris Vitale is the author of Networkologies.

Zero Squared #22: The Worm in the Core

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Sheldon Solomon is the guest this week. Solomon is the editor, along with Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszezynski, of the book The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. Solomon is a professor of psychology at Skidmore College and a researcher into terror management theory, a field that has developed out of the works of the late Ernest Becker. Becker won the Pulitzer Prive for his book The Denial of Death in 1974.

Solomon’s book The Worm at the Core was published by Penguin last month and Sam Keen, the author of Faces of the Enemy, blurbed the boo:

This is a wonderfully (terrifyingly) broad and deep study of most everything we know or have thought about death. It carries Ernest Becker’s work a long way further down the road.

I’m just back from the Left Forum in New York and you’ll be hearing at least one panel discussion from that event in a future episode along with conversations with Matthew Collins about his book Pop Grenade, Elaine Graham-Leigh on her book “A Diet of Austerity” and hopefully Mark Fisher about “Ghosts of My Life.” In this episode you’ll hear George M Cohan sing, voices from a clickhole video, Woody Allen explaining life to Annie Hall, Rick Roderick imitating Carl Sagan, BS Johnson talking about a motorcycle accident, Morton Feldman’s Clarinet and String Quartet, the theme from the 1980 television show Cosmos, and Chopin’s Funeral March.

Zero Squared #21: Neoliberalism or Determinative Negation?

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Robin James is the guest this week and we discuss her book Resilience and Melancholy which came out from Zero Books in February. Robin James is an associate professor in philosophy at the University of North Carolina and a musician.

David Webster, author of Cross the Water Blues blurbed the book. He wrote:

At the heart of this book is a clever trick: it unmasks the seemingly frothy, passing and marginal as representative and emblematic of deeper, sinister neoliberal phenomena.

In this episode you’ll hear from TheWellChoice youtube channel’s video “What’s Wrong with the Music Industry Today,” an accordian cover of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, an excerpt of Calvin Harris’s Sweet Nothing, a Meow Mix musical soar, and an acoustic cover of Daft Punk’s Harder, Faster, Stronger, and Henry Mancini’s theme music for the Viewer Mail segment on Late Night with David Letterman.

Double Feature Funpack #1: Dave Took Our Show Away

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Jim Farris and I discuss the legacy of Late Night host David Letterman and the sincere melancholy and mourning we’re experiencing as an era ends.

If you too are feeling blue because your favorite TV show is now off the air, remember how Dave reacted to Jimmy when, in the 1983 After School Special “They Took My Show Away,” Jimmy proclaimed that he would never watch TV again.

“Jimmy! Don’t ever say that. Not even as a joke. I tell you what, I’ll show you the new NBC fall schedule. I have a feeling we’ll find a new show for you. Look, this one is about a chimp that lives in Washington. You know that’ll be good. Jimmy, I don’t think we have anything to worry about. This is going to be the best TV season ever!”