Zero Squared #82: Reading the Way of Things

Daniel Coffeen is a rhetor and a philosopher — if by philosopher you mean somebody who plays with concepts and ideas. He formally taught at UC Berkeley and the SF Art Institute but now spends his time writing and consulting. Coffeen is a frequent guest to the Zero Squared podcast and his book Reading the Way of Things is out now from Zero Books.

A review of his book on Amazon sums his book up nicely:

Coffeen throws the act of reading into such a dizzying light that I can’t rightly say when I even began reading the book. Was it when it slid from the envelope, announcing itself in its bold, lime-green cover? In one sense yes, as that marked the beginning of the physical reading-event. But in another sense, a different reading started when I first heard Coffeen on the Partially Examined Life podcast, six months prior. And a different sense of reading began when I picked up Anti-Oedipus on a lark in Morningside Heights, New York, 17 months ago. Reading is an event, an interplay between text and reader, where both are always already in motion, hooking up to one another and creating new relations.

Starting next week we’ll be launching the Zero Books membership site which will include a member’s only weekly podcast tentatively titled Inside Zero Books, monthly workshops on critical theory and politics often set up around Zero Books titles, quarterly audiobooks, and, for a slightly higher monthly rate, an invitation only writing workshop.

In this episode you’ll hear the voice of Rick Roderick, the theme from the 70s television show Taxi, a clip from John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, and an excerpt from a speech from Maneul DeLanda.

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 #33: A Weird Line of Flight?

Daniel Coffeen looks around for freedom in a world of networked conformity. He holds a PhD in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley where he taught adjunct for many years, but now Coffeen works independently, writing about contemporary art, film, language, Deleuze, perception, Uni, capitalism, emergent shapes, pleasure, new media, and tequila. He founded the once-exquisite ArtandCulture.com and makes money by naming products, writing copy, and branding companies.

In Coffeen’s recent blog post entitled In Praise of the Weird he writes:

Weird is surprising in that it neither goes with nor against the grain. It doesn’t try to break the mold; it casts new molds. Or, perhaps, doesn’t care about molds at all but rather enjoys meandering — the schizo stroll. Weird slices through discourse, categories, and common sense. It scrambles — not for the sake of scrambling but because it operates and lives in a world you cannot yet imagine.

In this episode you’ll hear clips from Looney Tunes cartoons, Adventure Time, Brian Eno’s Music for Film, the US version of The Office, Timothy Leary describing his mind mirror, a Facebook television advertisement, an instructional video for the internet circa 1992,and Rod Stewart’s 1969 hit Handbags and the Gladrags which is also the theme for the theme for the UK version of The Office.

Diet Soap Podcast #207: Difference and a Space Odyssey

The guest this week is the pop philosopher Daniel Coffeen. Mister Coffeen is a recurring guest to Diet Soap and this week we discuss aliens, alienation, difference, 2001 and the Men in Black.

I want to thank Felix B for making a one time donation to the podcast and urge everyone who enjoys Diet Soap to consider pressing on the paypal buttons at dietsoap.podomatic.com. You can also follow me on twitter, friend me on Facebook, send me an email through my website (that’s douglaslain.com) or just wait for the visitors to bring me a message.

At the start of this episode Daniel Coffeen and I mention a critical outline/essay about Kubrick’s film 2001 that was written by Margaret Stackhouse when she was a junior at North Plainfield High School in 70s. The essay was originally published in Jerome Agel’s book “The Making of 2001.” Here’s an excerpt from her essay:

I. The monolith – source of infinite knowledge and intelligence

A. Perfection represented in its shape; its color — black —
could symbolize:

1. Evil and death, which result from man’s misuse of knowledge;

2. The incomprehensible — man, with his limited senses, cannot
comprehend the absence (perfect black) of color or light