Zero Squared #137: On the Radical Empiricism of Rhetoric

Daniel Coffeen is the author of the Zero Books title “Reading the Way of Things” and a frequent guest on this podcast and many others including the Partially Examined Life.

In this episode we discuss his essay: “On the Radical Empiricism of Rhetoric.”

Here’s an excerpt:

A rhetorical reckoning riles many people up as it doesn’t try to ground itself or its going in anything outside itself — in a truth or axiom or universal claim. It is indifferent to such things except in as much as such things are arguments, things to reckon. And so rather than ever being tethered or even seeking a tether, the rhetorician begins to enjoy all the different ways different things can go. It reads multiple ways to reckon a puppy or ballet or chair. Rather than stake a single claim, she — our rhetorician — takes delight in the going of things, in the possible ways of things. Which can be infuriating to someone who’s adamant in a single belief. This is what ballet is!

Zero Squared #12: Rebel Rebel

Chris O’Leary is the guest this week and we discuss his book Rebel Rebel which is coming from Zero Books in two days. With the tag line: “Every single song. Everything you want to know, everything you didn’t know” the book catalogs all of Bowie’s songs from 1964 through 1976.

The Cultural Critic Mark Dery (author of All the Young Dudes:Why Glam Rock Matters) sent me a blurb for O’Leary and I’ll read it now:

Marooned in ’70s suburbia, I and countless weirdos like me awaited every new Bowie record as a deep-space ping from a world where weird ruled—proof that there really was life on Mars, if not in tract-home sprawl. To date, what passes for thoughtful inquiry into the polymorphous, polyvalent phenomenon that is David Bowie has consisted almost entirely of potted biographies and coffee-table photo albums. At last, the Homo Superior gets the exegesis he deserves: Rebel Rebel is the Lipstick Traces of Bowie studies, and Chris O’Leary its unchallenged dean.

I should also point out that you can win a copy of O’Leary’s book by entering the fictional Bowie lyric contest at DavidBowieNews.com, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes.

In this episode you’ll hear a clip from Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station, a clip of a cover of Kim Wilde’s The Kids in America done by Nirvana, David Bowie with Bing Crosby from Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas, an Andy Warhol/David Bowie interview juxtaposition and Bowie’s Warszawa played on a Minimoog by the youtube star orchestron.