Zero Squared #9: Magic Tricks and the Big Other

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 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.

hey dl, realizing that we all have to pay the bills and that you inherited a bit of a backlist i still must say i hope that some of the more experimental/edgy aspects of the old podcast don’t get lost in a flow of more of the same old academic themes.

5 Mar 2015, 6:25pm
by douglaslain


Hey DMF,

I don’t plan on shelving the more experimental/edgy stuff. From my way of thinking Rollins here is edgy in the same way Zizek is, but I’m also open to suggestions.

Coming up on Zero Squared will be a conversation about Hegel and Lacan with Frank Smecker and a podcast about David Bowie (maybe not the edgiest but interesting.)

Overall my aim with Zero Books is to publish exactly the kind of edgy stuff I’m interested in and showcased at Diet Soap. So, for instance, I want to publish Andrew Kliman eventually if possible.

What do you find is missing in the latest podcasts?

ah well matters of taste I guess Rollins always strikes me as the watery lite version of Zizek, but these last maybe 3 strike me as stuff I have heard elsewhere in more mainstream formats and one of the pleasures for me of your work here has been new and unusual angles if not (tho often) new material/personalities.I know it’s a balancing act but when you can I say keep pushing the boundaries and the mashups. thanks, dirk

6 Mar 2015, 6:35am
by douglaslain


okay. I’ll do that. I will say that this particular interview is pretty much exactly the kind of interview I would have done before I started with Zero Books, but your critique holds regardless.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *