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Psychoanalytic theorist Todd McGowan is one of my favorite thinkers. He's the author of many of my favorite theory books, including Enjoying What We Don't Have: The Political Project of Psychoanalysis and Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets. He's also a professor of English and Film Studies, and the co-host (with Ryan Engley) of the excellent theory/philosophy podcast, Why Theory.
We break down psychoanalytic terms for people new to the concepts. We also talk about why Freud matters now more than ever, how psychoanalysis lens applies to politics, Wittgenstein as a bridge between analytic and continental philosophy (don't worry, we explain what those are), how capitalism works, why we need to want what we want, christianity and psychoanalysis, solipsism, symbiosis, why disseminating ideas matters, the important and dismissible Slavoj Žižek, and what constitutes clothing in a nudist colony, among other things.
One of my favorite things about this episode is the way that Todd and I find a balance with each other's ideas. I had so much fun talking with him.
• Here's Todd's University of Vermont page.
• Black Rifle Coffee's arousing and enjoyable commercial... Which sells its coffee via violence, transphobia, and Islamophobia. So we have to start being vigilant and looking more deeply into seemingly familiar and enjoyable pathways and allies, and at the same time not lay our suspicions across sex/pleasure/enjoyment itself.
• Here's the All the Money in the World trailer. I think I liked the movie more than Todd.
• Todd's quip about humor that "Too late is always worse than too soon" come from his book about jokes, Only A Joke Can Save Us: A Theory of Comedy. And his book on time in film is called Out of Time: Desire in Atemporal Cinema.
• We get into a little inside baseball with the Deleuze and Lacan and the entire antagonism between the two philosophers, stuff, but it's easy enough to check into. One of the best books on it (although decidedly weighted towards Deleuze) is Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives by Francois Dosse.
• A dream guest for the show is the psychoanalytic thinker and writer Alenka Zupančič. Her book What Is Sex? is a mind-blower, but it is also a dense project for people new to psychoanalysis. Read it anyway! (Photo of Alenka below)
• If you want to delve into the symbiosis stuff, there's no better place to start than Symbiotic Planet by my main intellectual mentor, Lynn Margulis.
• My friend Lara is a genius, and she's the one who said "You're a bitch for being so nice to me." Follow her on twitter.
• I've got an episode about Wilhelm Reich coming up, but until then, here's my short article on him. I don't totally agree with everything I wrote anymore, but it's not bad. And here's my article in the same series about the utopianist Charles Fourier.
Until next time!