Zero Squared #97: Punching Nazis?

Brendan O’Neill and Fredrick DeBoer are the guests this week as we dedicate this week’s episode to the question of punching Nazis.

Brendan O’Neill is the editor of Spiked Online, a publication that I would describe as having an attitude that is both socialist and libertarian in the American sense of the word. They advocate both expanding the range of human freedom and capitalist economic growth, despite being smart enough to know why capitalist economic growth can only occur when the mass of humanity is fettered.

Frederik DeBoer is a writer for publications such as Jacobin, the Observer, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and other publications. He is a professor at Brooklyn College and describes himself as having conventionally leftist views. A socialist he is something of a mixer and has engaged in many twitter battles with (neo)liberals like Jonathan Chait and Sady Doyle.

This episode is something of a mash-up. It is the result of cutting down two interviews into a single polyphonous episode. Two otherwise disparate voices have been brought together here, not because they agree, but because they both have opinions and were willing to share them.

To underline the point further, let me say again, there are two people in this episode and two different opinions. DeBoer is the man with the American accent, O’Neill is the Brit.
It’s Wednesday, February 8th, 2017, and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

Thanks goes to members of the Zero Books club. Zero Books Club members receive access to the Inside Zero Books which sometimes consists of unedited or full length interviews from the Zero Squared podcast, sometimes features conversations with Zero Books readers about the state of the left, and sometimes features public lectures from Zero Books authors or staff.

The music you’re listening to right now is Smash Things Up by ¡TchKung!, but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Brendan O’Neil and Frederik DeBoer.

Zero Squared #52: Political Self-Censorship

Glenn Loury is a reformed neo-conservative “man of the left” with some serious reservations. He is a professor at Brown University, a one time contender for Undersecretary of Education, the author of the book The Anatomy of Racial Inequality, the host of the Glenn Show, as well as a regular contributor to the New Republic. This week we discuss his 1994 paper “Self-Censorship in Public Discourse.”

In his paper Loury points out that:

When speakers are choosing words intended to stimulate a particular response, strategic listeners cannot simply accept the literal content of an expression as its meaning-in-effect. To take the speaker literally is to behave naively, and thus to risk being deceived. Sophisticated listeners must look behind what is spoken or written, in an effort to discern all that is implied by the act of speaking or writing in a given way.
At the same time, being aware that his speech act is subject to such interpretation, and wanting to create a desired impression, a skillful speaker will structure his message mindful of the inferences which listeners are inclined to make.

Before I plunge into this episode I do want to mention the passing of the pop icon David Bowie, certainly not to inform anyone about it, nor to merely mark my own shock and horror to realize that such a mythical man can be brought down and extinguished, but also to point out that some of the best analysis on Bowie’s legacy are available at Chris O’Leary’s blog “Pushing Ahead of the Dame.” O’Leary is a Zero Books author and is, according to the cultural critic Mark Dery, the uncontested dean of Bowie studies.

In this episode you’ll hear excerpts from Steve Martin comedy routine as well as clips from the film In the Loop, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, and a stretched version of the Vitamin String Quartet’s cover of Life on Mars?

Diet Soap Podcast #198: The Joy Beyond Identity

The guest this week is the author and radical Mark Fisher. Mark and I discuss his recent essay for the North Star Blog called Exiting the Vampire Castle. The essay takes on the politically correct reaction to the comedian Russell Brand’s recent call for revolution. Many leftists were perhaps overly skeptical of Brand, focusing on gaffes and slips rather than the content of his message (Brand admits to calling women birds, for instance.) Fisher’s essay has caused quite an uproar, especially at the North Star Blog itself. There have been six essays written in response and there has been a split causing some editors to resign in solidarity with Brand and Fisher. My perspective, as always, is that Fisher isn’t Marxist enough, meaning that his version of class isn’t economic enough, or doesn’t focus squarely on the way working people are exploited but describes class on the level of appearance only. Otherwise I find myself agreeing with Fisher.

I want to thank everyone for listening to this podcast and communicating with me on Facebook, on twitter, and through my blog that’s douglaslain.com. Also I want to thank Andrew Marshall, Jason P and Michael P for their one time donations and also thank Andrew Marshall, Ted F, John L, and Jacob L for their continual monthly support.