The guest this week is Daniel Coffeen and what starts off as a discussion of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals turns into a debate about the relative merits of Nietzsche's philosophy founded on immanence, affirmation, and positive will as opposed to Hegel's contradictory negativity. I'm unsure as to how to describe the difference between my perspective and Coffeen's except by analogy. Think of Coffeen's Nietzsche as John Cage, a composer who was more interested in discreet sounds than in relationships, whereas my version of Hegel would be Johann Sebastian Bach with his utterly rational fugues that can only be understood as melody set in oppositions like this: subject, countersubject, and episode. Consider these quotes: John Cage once said, “The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accordance with nature, in her manner of operation.” While Johan Sebastian Bach is reported to have said, "The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul." I want to reiterate my thanks to everyone who donated to the Think the Impossible book and podcast tour through Kickstarter. Very soon I'll be purchasing the Amtrak tickets to San Francisco, Chicago, and NYC, and posting my travel schedule online. I have three aims on this tour: First, to put together interesting events in each city and spark discussion on the themes I explore on Diet Soap and in my fiction. Second, to promote the podcast and my novel Billy Moon as best I can. Third, to take in the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. There are several sound clips in this episode and you'll hear the voices of Rick Roderick and Slavoj Zizek as set to Wagner, John Cage, Sebastian Back, and music from the video game Portal.
The guest this week is the blogger and critic Foz Meadows and we discuss her ideas on Gender, Race, Detectives, and Space ships, ideas she writes about often at Strange Horizons, The Huffington Post, and her own blog called Shattersnipe. It seems appropriate to talk about race, racism, identity and inequality today, just after the Trayvon Martin murder trial, although the way we go about it in this episode, discussing the cast of characters on Joss Whedon's cult classic Firefly, and how people of color, gays, and women are represented in books about magic pirates and dragons, well, this may not seem very serious. I'll just say, in our defense, that our ephemeral pop fantasies are born out of the harsh realities that structure every day life. Still, I would caution listeners that what's most important to think about aren't the isolated details or the attitudes, but rather the structures and mechanisms that bring these attitudes into being. Every genre has its logic, whether the genre is high fantasy, a police procedural, or a real life instance of racial profiling and murder. My Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded this week. There were 87 backers in all and this week I want to thank Henry W, Derick Varn, Anna W, James G, Cathy K, Kurt O, Aquila H, Jennifer L, Daniel Coffeen, Ray P, my agent Kristopher O'Higgins, James K, John K, Reagan S, Ken Beare, Aaron W, Jason H, William C, Kwame A, Kara B, Jon M, Paul H, Akwhistler, Douglas Lain Sr, Mark B, and Maxx B. The Think the Impossible Tour will be starting in late August, right after my book Billy Moon comes out from Tor. I'll be producing podcasts at each stop and, hopefully, meeting a lot of you who are listening from San Francisco, Chicago or New York. There are several clips in this episode. There are clips of Richard Pryor discussing how blacks and whites behave differently at funerals, a clip from an About.com video about Gustave Courbet, a clip from a BBC interpretation of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, a bit of dialogue and the theme song from the Rockford Files, and finally, at the end, a clip from Doug Henwood's terrific program Behind the News. Henwood can be heard in conversation with Adolph Reed about a movie called The Help.
The guest this week is the columnist Margaret Kimberley. Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears on the Black Agenda Report and this week we discuss a column she wrote entitled "The Snowden Litmus Test." It's Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 and I'm Douglas Lain the host of the podcast. The Kickstarter project to fund a book and podcast tour in September has five days remaining and is 81% funded. There are currently 69 backers and this week I want to thank Jennifer L, Aquila H, Kurt O, Cathy K, James G, Anna W, Christopher V, Henry W, Mark D, Brandy H, Matt L, Tony Y, Tom G, and Richard B. If you like the Diet Soap Podcast pledging to the Think the Impossible tour is a great way to support it. In related news there is a serialized audio version of my upcoming novel Billy Moon. It's a freebie that I'm giving away through the Kickstarter campaign, and to I'll post a link to the chapter five in this week's show notes. Here's an excerpt from Kimberley's column: Edward Snowden has been called a traitor, a narcissist, a loser and a danger to national security. Reporters have questioned whether he was friendly enough to his neighbors or why he made a good salary despite having just a GED. He has even been criticized for leaving the military after he broke his legs. His whereabouts are unknown because the federal government is preparing to file charges against him. Such extravagant and bizarre levels of vitriol can mean only one thing. When politicians and rich pundits all join together to deliver a very public beat down, the victim of the beating is probably someone who did the people a great service.
This month's Pop the Left features a conversation about C Derick Varn's feelings and thoughts on and against what he calls political Marxism. The conversation wanders in a process that is a bit like free association, and then again nothing like it. You'll hear clips from my daughter's favorite author John Green on the question of the Renaissance, clips from Philip K Dick and Big Time TV on the Black Iron Prison, and a discussion of the repetition compulsion and psychoanalysis. I want to thank listeners who have supported my Kickstarter campaign for the Think the Impossible tour. As most of you know, I'm Douglas Lain and I'm the co-host of Pop the Left and the host of a podcast called Diet Soap. I'm also a novelist and my book for MacMillan called Billy Moon tells the story of Christopher Robin Milne's entirely fictional involvement with the student/worker strikes of May 1968. When I go on the Think the Impossible Tour I will take both my novel and my podcast to San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. In the last week there were seven backers and I want to thank: Chris L, Shauna R, Tom W, Charlotte K, Claire M, Damian K, and the cyberpunk author Rudy Rucker. If you like Pop the Left backing Think the Impossible is a great way to show it.
The guest this week is Andy Marshall. Andy Marshall is a self described "philosophy kid" and a frequent contributor to Diet Soap. He is my co-host on the biweekly Diet Soap conversations on Talkshoe, the Diet Soap archivist (he's been the one putting old episodes back onto the Podomatic page), and this is part two of a longer conversation wherein we discuss Robert Anton Wilson, Nietzsche, and, of course, Hegel. At the end of this episode you'll hear Andy reading from a philosophical email essay he wrote for this episode, and I'll link to the entirety of that essay in the show notes. It's Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 and I'm Douglas Lain the host of the podcast. You may have noticed that my Kickstarter project to fund a book and podcast tour in September is underway. The project is two weeks in, and halfway to the goal. At present there are 48 backers of the project and I want to thank Daniel S, Joshua W, Brad P, Joanne M, Sarah S, Nikki G, Jason S, Phil, Pedar L, and Rob M. I want to take the time to especially thank Brad B because not only did Brad pledge to the tour, he scheduled the space for the Think the Impossible event in Chicago. I'm pleased to say that we'll be thinking impossibly in the Book Cellar with the candlestick…wait, on that it, the Think the Impossible will be held to the Book Cellar in Chicago on September 11th. If you like Diet Soap pledging to the Think the Impossible tour is a great way to support it. In related news there is a serialized audio version of my upcoming novel Billy Moon. It's a freebie that I'm giving away through the Kickstarter campaign, and to I'll post a link to the chapter three in this week's show notes.
The guest this week is Andy Marshall. Andy Marshall is a self described "philosophy kid" and a frequent contributor to Diet Soap. He is my co-host on the biweekly Diet Soap conversations on Talkshoe, the Diet Soap archivist (he's been the one putting old episodes back onto the Podomatic page), and a moderating influence on the show and this week's episode is an excerpt from a much longer conversation. You'll hear another excerpt, this one on the subject of Nietzsche, next week, but this week we focus in on the idea of the impossible and touch briefly upon Deleuze. You may have noticed that my Kickstarter project to fund a book and podcast tour in September is underway. The project is two weeks in, and halfway to the goal. At present there are 38 backers of the Think the Impossible tour. Thanks to Paul H, Yoshio K, Dan W, Cay, Eilidh B, Michael T, Jay G, Zackery M, Josh B, Francisco F, Scott, Davis D, Terry T, Edward, Charles H, Andrew F, Justin R, David B, and Conrad H. If you like Diet Soap pledging to the Think the Impossible tour is a great way to support it. In related news I've started a serialized audio version of my upcoming novel Billy Moon. It's a freebie that I'm giving away through the Kickstarter campaign, and to I'll post a link to the second chapter in this week's show notes.
There is no guest this week except for my son Benjamin. He and I discuss the Joss Whedon 2005 film Serenity and the television series Firefly that spawned it through the context of Hegel's dialectic. It's Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 and I'm Douglas Lain the host of the podcast. You may have noticed that my Kickstarter project to fund a book and podcast tour in September is underway. The project is just one week in, and largely due to a large pledge from Andy M, I'm already over 40% toward the goal. At present there are 19 backers of the Think the Impossible tour. Thanks to Thom K, Thomas A, Trent W, MK Hobson, Shane S, Ashley F, Andy M, Derek D, Bradley C, Filippo V, James M, Sarah C, Randy S, Bob B, Jody, Will S, McKenzie Wark, Robert K, and Cameron Pierce. If you like Diet Soap pledging to the Think the Impossible tour is a great way to support it. In related news I've started a serialized audio version of my upcoming novel Billy Moon. It's a freebie that I'm giving away through the Kickstarter campaign, and to I'll post a link to the first chapter in this week's show notes. Again, this week's podcast is about Hegel and the tv show Firefly. Ben was a good sport to participate. You can hear that he's got a bit of cold but he just put his head down and powered through. The music you're listening to right now is from the television show Firefly, it's the theme for River's perception, but in just a moment you'll be listening to Ben and I discuss Hegel's Serenity.
This month Douglas Lain, C Derick Varn and Nicholas Pell discuss the Marxist notion of historical materialism. According to Wikipedia "historical materialism" is: Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx (1818–1883) as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans collectively produce the necessities of life. The question becomes this: have we reached a point wherein we simply do not have a materialist basis for emancipation? Or is the trouble ideological? Also, this week marks the beginning of Douglas Lain's "Think the Impossible" Kickstarter campaign to fund his upcoming podcast and book tour. The book is entitled "Billy Moon." It is due out from Tor Books in August, and tells the story of an adult Christopher Robin Milne, the man known best for his childhood relationship with a stuffed bear, and entirely fictional involvement in the French general strike of May, 1968. The podcast, entitled Diet Soap, is a weekly interview show focusing on philosophy, surrealism, and what I think of as the problem of Late Capitalism. Guests on the program have included Penelope Rosemont of the Chicago Surrealist group, the radical author Michael Parenti, and Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping, and many others. The title of the tour, the imperative to "Think the Impossible" relates to both the podcast and the novel. In May 1968 one of the slogans spray painted on the streets of Paris was this: "Be realistic, demand the impossible."
The Artist Michael Reinsch is the guest this week as we discuss contemporary art, concepts, meaning, nihilism, and what it's like to kiss a strange man for money. Michael Reinsch's installation at the Place Gallery successfully blurred the boundary between art and life, and I was glad to get to talk to him about that distinction and the aim of his work. I'd like to thank my subscribers who donate monthly. That would be John L, Andrew M, Jacob L, and Ted F. And let people listening know you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and at douglaslain.com. Also, I've started up writing for Thought Catalog again and I'll provide links to two essays about the philosophy of Arrested Development in this week's show notes. (Link 1. Link 2) If you're a fan of Diet Soap why not leave a review on iTunes? There are many sound clips in this episode. There are clips of Marcel Duchamp and Robert Hughes, a comedy routine from Coyle and Sharpe, Laurie Anderson's Bright Red, and Michael Reinsch himself set in C. Another conversation with Jason Horsley regarding his book Prisoner of Infinity is online this week. Check out the links to the right on his blog.
Dennis Perrin is the guest this week and we discuss the low art of comedy. Dennis is the author of Mister Mike the Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous, a stand-up comic himself, and a regular on the Diet Soap podcast. I'd like to thank my subscribers who donate monthly. That would be John L, Andrew M, Jacob L, and Ted F. Also, if you're a fan of the Diet Soap Podcast why not leave a review on iTunes? If you'd like to donate you can find the buttons at douglaslain.com and at dietsoap.podomatic.com but keep in mind that my Kickstarter campaign for the Diet Soap Tour "Think the Impossible" is coming soon. There are many sound clips in this episode. There are clips of Michael O'Donoghue, Jonathan Winters, George Carlin, Robin Williams, and a bit of stand-up from Mr. Perrin himself. Here's a clip from an essay Perrin recently penned for the online comedy magazine Splitsider: I can't think of an American comedian more revered and respected than Jonathan Winters. (There's Jack Benny, for those who remember him.) Winters created a world where you were welcome, but you had to keep pace. His rapid-fire mind took hairpin turns. The inattentive might be left in his dust. Winters was one of the more offbeat performers in mainstream comedy. He was as polished as Hope. As graceful as Gleason. As biting as Rickles. Yet Winters pushed it further. Breathed different oxygen. No matter how far out he went, Winters was accepted and cherished in the most conservative venues.. Read More at Splitsider.
This week instead of an expert interview you'll hear my son Benjamin and I discuss the television show Arrested Development, Hipsters, and Hegel. We cover the section on the Law of the Heart in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and try to make sense of gibberish like this: "This ordinance is the sphere of perversion. For in that this ordinance is the law of all hearts, in that all individuals are immediately this universal, it is a reality which is only that of self-existing individuality, i.e. of the heart. When consciousness therefore sets up the law of its heart, it finds itself resisted by others because it conflicts with the equally individual laws of their heart; and the latter in opposing it are doing nothing else but setting up in their turn and making valid their own law." You can also find me discussing similar subject over on Jason Horsley's new website Crucial Fictions. I'd like to thank my subscribers who donate monthly again. That would be John L, Andrew M, Jacob L, Tracy V, and Ted F. If you'd like to donate you can find the buttons at douglaslain.com and at dietsoap.podomatic.com but you might consider that my Kickstarter campaign for the Diet Soap Tour "Think the Impossible" is coming soon. There are many sound clips in this episode. There are clips of Arrested Development, Norman Mailer, Dairy Queen, Europe, and the youtube star Kazookeylele.
The guest this week is Jason Horsley and we start to discuss his most current project called "Crucial Fictions" and specifically a chapter of his book "The Prisoner of Infinity" wherein he examines Whitely Strieber's reported experiences as it relates to Horsley's own conceptions of trauma, but we quickly diverge from his text as we spiral around the central concept of trauma itself. Jason Horsley is the author of many books including Matrix Warrior: Being the One and The Secret Life of Movies, and he is a regular guest on the Diet Soap podcast. If you visit his website crucialfiction.com you'll be able to listen to the raw recording of this conversation in its entirety. I'd like to thank my subscribers who donate monthly to the podcast. That would be John L, Andrew M, Jacob L, Tracy V, and Ted F. If you'd like to donate you can find the buttons at douglaslain.com and at dietsoap.podomatic.com, however I'll be running a Kickstarter campaign in June and July and people who are thinking of donating might hold off and help out with that. There are many sound clips in this episode. You'll hear from Alenka Zupancic, Slavoj Zizek, Ryan Gosling in the movie Half Nelson, Sebastian Horsley discussing his propensity to cause himself trouble, and the Sesame Street Pinball song.
John Zerzan is an American anarchist and primitivist philosopher and author. He is a critic of civilization and especially agriculture and he wants to return to a more primitive collective life. He advocates the nomadic life of prehistoric hunters and gatherers as a potential future. Zerzan was the guest on Pop the Left #4 where we discussed the idea of reification and took a close look at Zerzan's own notion of nature. This month on Pop the Left C Derick Varn and I speak briefly about the Zerzan interview. Clips from an interview with Steven Vogel on the radio program Against the Grain, of George Bush singing an REM song, and from Monty Python's Life of Brian can be heard in this one, and Varn and I discuss potential future guests. Nicholas Pell is again absent, but plans to return for a future episode wherein we'll discuss historical materialism. You can now leave a voicemail message for Pop the Left and participate in the show. Just head to speakpipe.com/poptheleft and leave us a message.
The guest this week is Jay Gertzman and we discuss his book Samuel Roth, Infamous Modernist. Samuel Roth was a literary pirate, a purveyor of smut, and a champion of high modernism. For instance Roth published the dirty bits from James Joyce's Ulysses as a serial in his literary journal Two Worlds Monthly. It's Wednesday, April 24th, 2013. I'm Douglas Lain the host of the podcast, and this week the secret word is "masturbation" and here's an excerpt from Samuel Roth on the subject. Diet Soap relies on donations, but rather than make my usual plea for help through paypal I'm actually going to tell you to hold off. I'm about to run a Kickstarter campaign to fund a US Diet Soap tour under the banner "Think the Impossible." In fact, I just finished editing the Kickstarter video a few days ago and if you'd like to watch the video all you need do to get a sneak peek is join the Diet Soap International Facebook group. It's much more an exploration of the ideas of Henri Lefebvre through a decidedly Hegelian lens than it is a straight forward call for funds, so I encourage everyone who is listening to check it out. Also, if you like Diet Soap but can't afford a donation, why not share the podcast with a friend or write a review of the show on iTunes. There is some smut in this episode of Diet Soap. For example, at the end, you'll hear a bit of Molly Bloom's soliloquy. You'll hear a bit more than this: ...shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down Jo me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. The music you're listening to right now is an instrumental cover of the Violent Femmes Blister in The Sun as covered by the Vitamin String Quartet but in just a moment you'll be listening to Gertzman and I discuss Samuel Roth, Infamous Modernist.
This week I discuss Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit with my lovely wife Miriam. We take on the section entitled Pleasure and Necessity and discuss how Jan Svankmajer's film Conspirators of Pleasure seems to enact Hegel's critique. Diet Soap relies on donations and if you'd like to donate you can find the paypal buttons on douglaslain.com and at the podomatic page for Diet Soap. On the other hand, in the next few weeks I'll be starting a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund a Diet Soap tour that called "Think the Impossible!" You can get more information by following me on Facebook, tweeting me on twitter, putting me in a Google Plus circles, or by gassing me, kidnapping me, transporting me to a village on a mysterious island, interrogating me mercilessly, and taking away my name and leaving me with only a number. Here's a quick explanation of Hegel and Self-Conscious desire: Our self-consciousness, this way of seeing or perceiving, seeks an object as something alien from itself, it seeks to enjoy this object and in enjoying it to understand the distinction between the self-consciousness and its object as something that belongs to self-consciousness. We cease to live for ourselves, but in seeking to enjoy our separation from the world, we lose ourselves to this universal category of separation.