Zero Squared #60: Marx/Adorno at the PNCA

Last week I gave presentation at the Pacific Northwest College of Arts. After an introductions and a discussion about Zero Books, I gave a presentation on the Critique of the Gotha Program and a brief discussion of Adorno. Also included in this presentation was Brendan Cooney’s video on Abstract Labor and a 70s advertisement for the Polaroid SX-70.

Special thanks for this episode goes to Sarah O’Hare and the PNCA Critical Theory graduate students and professors.

From Adorno:
The sociological theory that the loss of the support of objectively established religion, the dissolution of the last remnants of pre-capitalism, together with technological and social differentiation or specialisation, have led to cultural chaos is disproved every day; for culture now impresses the same stamp on everything.

From Marx:
But the whole program, for all its democratic clang, is tainted through and through by the Lassallean sect’s servile belief in the state, or, what is no better, by a democratic belief in miracles; or rather it is a compromise between these two kinds of belief in miracles, both equally remote from socialism.

Zero Squared #53: Thinking Thomas

Thomas Lynn is a youtuber with a new channel entitled “Thinking Thomas.” A few months back he approached me about interviewing Zero Books authors on his channel and since then he has done so at least a few times. The following interview was one of the results of our correspondence and in this conversation you’ll hear us discuss the enlightenment, Adorno, and the perils of “radical” publishing.

I should take a moment now to mention a few of the new books that we’ll have coming in February. Pete Dolack’s It’s Not Over is a 900 page history of socialist revolution in the 20th century with an emphasis on the history of the Soviet Union, Stuart Feather’s Blowing the Lid is a history of the Gay Liberation Front written by a former participant, and Stuart Walton’s “In the Realm of the Senses” is a philosophical reexamination of the notion of materialism. I want to urge you to visit the website and check out these new titles as well as our entire catalog.

In this episode you’ll hear the theme from William Buckley’s Firing Line, an excerpt from a documentary entitled Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking and a clip from Alt Instrumental by Dan Lett.

Zero Squared #51: Drone and Apocalypse

Joanna Demers is associate professor of musicology at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where she specializes in post-1945 popular and art music. Her book with Zero Books Drone and Apocalypse was published on December 11th in 2015. The back of the jacket copy for the first book describes it this way:

Drone and Apocalypse is an exhibit catalog for a retrospective of twenty-first-century art. Its narrator, Cynthia Wey, is a failed artist convinced that apocalypse is imminent. She writes critical essays delineating apocalyptic tendencies in drone music and contemporary art.

In this episode you’ll hear excerpts from an interview with Brian Eno, as well as bits of music from La Monte Young, Fatboy Slim, Schoenberg, and Bach. The David Walton Blues Trio’s song “Adorno: Jazz-Perennial Fashion” and Mark Hosler (of Negativland fame) can also be heard.

Zero Squared #50: Enjoyment (It’s a Trap!)

Alfie Bown is editor of Everyday Analysis, a blog and book series with Zer0 Books. He’s an assistant professor in Hong Kong and he writes on critical theory and comedy. His first stand-alone book with Zero Books Enjoying It: Candy Crush and Capitalism was published on December 11th this year, and the back of the jacket copy for the first book describes it this way.

Using a range of ‘case studies’ from Critical Theory to Candy Crush, ‘Gangnam Style’ to Game of Thrones and Football Manager to Hieronymus Bosch, this book argues that we need to rethink our enjoyment.

Simultaneous with this appearance on Zero Squared, Alfie Bown is also a guest on the always enlightening C-Realm podcast where he holds up well under KMO’s scrutiny.

In this episode you’ll hear excerpts from a conversation with Harold Bloom, a reading of Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming.” You’ll hear clips of the music of Super Mario Brothers, an 8bit version of Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi, and Schoenberg. You’ll also find a bit of a lecture on Adorno’s “Culture Industry” from the youtube star Kevin McNeilly, Cyriak’s meow mix, and What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? from the Ukulele Teacher.