In the third installment of our "Keywords" series with C. Derick Varn, we focus on a single term with a long and diabolical history: Cultural Marxism. The theory that truth-denying, postmodern Marxists are seeking to undermine society has been around for a while and most recently has been popularized by such intellectual luminaries as Jordan Peterson. What many people don't know, however, is the deeply anti-Semitic roots of this conspiracy theory. What are the historical roots of the term? How was a marginal conspiracy theory mainstreamed by people like Pat Buchanan? Why are conspiracy theories more prevalent on the right than the left? All this and more!
**UPDATE: Varn wishes to make the following correction: "I made one error in this, I got Horkheimer and Axel Honneth confused on ethnic background. Horkheimer was Jewish and Honneth isn't as far as I know."
Diet Soap Podcast. Doug Lain interviews Mark Fisher
Ed Simon joins the show again to discuss Trump, Putin, and Russiagate. Liberals, eager to find a way to impeach Trump have been focusing on the investigation in all its minutiae, valorizing the American intelligence community, and finding conspiracy around every corner. Leftists, on the other hand, have been largely dismissive of the story, accusing Liberals of losing sight of more tangible, more structural issues. This episode, while agreeing that Liberals have gone a bit over the top, questions whether the Left is too dismissive of possible collusion between Trump and Putin’s forces.
Ed Simon’s home page
Michael Kazin’s “Five Reasons Why the Left Should Care About Russiagate”
“It Matters Yes But How Much,” by Nathan A. Robinson - Current Affairs
“Russiagate Can’t End Well for the Left,” by Seth Ackerman - Jacobin
“Trumpism It’s Coming from the Suburbs,” by Jesse A. Myerson - The Nation
If you've ever wondered about the creative process, this show is for you. Fan favorite C. Derick Varn joins the show to discuss his new book of poetry, Apocalyptics, just released by Unlikely Books. Learn about how Varn’s Marxist politics and unique religious background come together in this collection of poems that “reveal.” Varn’s book is a fascinating adaptation of traditional religious themes and in this episode, he tells us about his process and the formal exploration of intersections between politics, history, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism.
Unlikely Books page for Apocalyptics
Apocalyptics Facebook Page
In 1988 John Carpenter, auteur of genre classics like Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China, wrote and directed a powerhouse cult classic movie called They Live. Starring professional wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, the film crossed the sci-fi, horror, action, and lowbrow comedy genres while making a potent political statement about Ronald Reagan’s America and capitalism in the late Twentieth Century. The film follows an unemployed construction worker who discovers sunglasses that reveal the subliminal messages in our advertising and the alien invaders who are manipulating mankind’s fate. Now, thirty years after its release, what does the film have to say about our world?
Zizek on Ideology and They Live - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVwKjGbz60k
William Cavanaugh on Religious Violence - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS2VVLpDyWE
William Cavanaugh on Consumerism - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh22rJpL7zM&t
Special thanks to the band They Live Exclamation Point: Find them and their stuff at the following links:
Live show link:
In 2013, the late Mark Fisher wrote an essay that immediately became a lightning rod in Left politics. “Exiting the Vampire Castle,” took aim at a leftism which Fisher saw as replacing class interests with a moralizing, liberal identity politics. In many ways, the essay predicted the aftermath of Trump’s election and the Clinton/Sanders debates. More importantly, however, it offers us a chance to think about how political discourse is changed by social media. Joining the Sectarian Review Podcast for this episode is C. Derick Varn. In addition to his long history of being involved in leftist political debates, Varn has special insight into this particular essay, as he was one of the editors who originally commissioned it in the first place. Sit back and take a deep dive into a fascinating conversation about political discourse.
“Exiting the Vampire Castle,” by Mark Fisher
“Out of a Castle, Into a Pit,” by C. Derick Varn
Russell Brand Versus Jeremy Paxman on the BBC
For this special May 1 edition of the show, Danny Anderson and Nathan Gilmour discuss a new book by Plough Publishing. In celebration of his upcoming canonization, Plough has published a series of homilies by Archbishop Oscar Romero called The Scandal of Redemption. Romero, who was assassinated in 1980 for his outspoken defense of El Salvador’s economically and politically oppressed citizens, was a divisive figure in Catholicism in his life. His political work, inspired in large part by the murder of his friend, Father Rutilio Grande, identified him with Liberation Theology for many Christians, who feared this movement’s association with Communism. The truth about Romero’s beliefs is much more nuanced and complex, however. Through his homilies (delivered as radio addresses to the nation’s poor), the truth about Romero’s political beliefs, and their intricate relationship to Catholic Theology, is revealed. The show wishes to thank Plough Publishing for providing exam copies of this wonderful book.
Also, don’t forget to submit a proposal to the upcoming Mount Aloysius College Conference on Teaching. If you want to learn more about effective teaching methods, this conference is a wonderful opportunity, and Danny Anderson would love to meet you in person! Proposals due by May 18 (see link below).
The Scandal of Redemption, by Oscar Romero
Torture and Eucharist, by William T. Cavanaugh
The Ministry of Special Cases, by Nathan Englander
Mount Aloysius Conference on College Teaching