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.

Zero Squared #15: Twerking to Turking (EDA)

Alfie Bown is the guest this week and we discuss the book from the EDA Collective Twerking to Turking which is coming from Zero Books this month. With the tag line: “Analysing the signs of everyday life” this is the second collection by the EDA. It is a follow-up to their book “Why Animals are funny.”

Jamie Mackay, writing for Review 31, praised the EDA, writing:

It is not often that theory is this fun to read, and less often still that satire is so well versed in the language of its assailants.

It’s Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

In this episode you’ll hear a longish clip from Radiolab on the subject of Yellow Rain. The podcast was originally aired on September 24th, 2012, and I’ll provide links to it in the show notes. If you go to the site you’ll find an apology from Robert Krulwich wherein he apologizes for the way he aggressively questioned the Mr Eng Yang regarding reports that “yellow rain” was used on people in Laos after American forces left Vietnam. I want to make clear that, in my opinion, Robert Krulwich should not have apologized. If the oppressed of the Earth are going to find a voice that matters they will, simultaneously, have to be open to the truth and to pursuing the truth. This will require transcending their own experiences even as they act in their own collective interest.

You’ll also hear clips of Philip Glass’s Photographer, an excerpt from a documentary about Audrey Hepburn entitled “World’s Most Photographed Woman,” the comedian Godfrey Chi, Phlearn Photoshop’s “The Basics of Studium and Punctum in Photographs,” and “Got a Good Thing Going” by the Beetletown Players and Mister Show.