Zero Squared: A New Year’s Special

This special January 2nd, 2016 episode of Zero Squared explores why Critical Theorists deploy the word “problematic” and what they are REALLY saying when they talk about your fave.

Clips in this episode/collage include KMO from the C-Realm, John Berger, The Wireless Philosopher on the Problem of Perception, Michel Foucault Beyond Good and Evil (1993), music from the Truman Show, Laci Green, Tori the Queer, Evan Edinger, Noam Chomsky, Robin Williams, and clips the film A Day in the Afterlive of Philip K Dick.

Here’s an excerpt from the collage:

What’s problematic in today’s Critical Theory? That is, what is it that motivates the critical theorist to call something “problematic?”
According to the Philosophy dictionary online (that’s www.philosophy-dictionary dot org) something is a “problematic judgement” when it involves “the consciousness of the mere possibility” or, when it does not contain the consciousness of actuality or necessity.

To clarify, something is a problematic judgement, when it is subjective. In Hegel’s Science of Logic he labels the problematic as “assertoric.” This just means that it is an assertion given by a particular subject. Hegel’s logic is quite complicated, but the claim here is that when one asserts something, like “twerking is bad” one is asserting more than a particular fact about one’s own subjective experience. One is also making a claim about a universal notion.
To make this clearer still, something is problematic or problematized when it can seen to be self-generated and thereby self-interested rather than objective or necessary.
Again, the problem in the term “problematic” is the subjectivity of experience. A claim is problematic when its relationship to a universal notion or an objective fact has not been determined.
We might wonder then why it is that so many people use the term “problematic” a bit differently.

Zero Squared Podcast #23: Pop Grenade

Matthew Collin is the guest this week and we discuss his book Pop Grenade which came out from Zero Books in May. Collin has worked as a foreign correspondant for the BBC, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, and as an editor at the website Time Out among many other places. He is a survivor of raves, an investigator of sounds, and the author of several other books including Altered State and The Time of the Rebels.

Dorian Lynskey, Author of 33 Revolutions per Minute, blurbed Pop Grenade as follows:

Matthew Collin has a reporter’s eye, a critic’s erudition and a fan’s passion. Whether embedded with ravers in Berlin and Bosnia or protesters in Istanbul and Moscow, he tells vivid and surprising stories about music’s capacity for resistance and change.

In this episode you’ll hear Brother Theodore, Martin Hielscher, The Infernal Noise Brigade, Lipps Incorporated, Terence McKenna, Deee-Light, Professor Paul Fry, Chuck Roberts’ In the Beginning, and Altern-8’s Armageddon.

Also in this episode a discussion of this letter from Noam Chomsky circa 1994.