Our favorite recent kerfuffle returns with Zizek’s response to Adam Kirsch in The New Republic:
I am grateful to Mr. Kirsch for the time and effort he put into running over so many of my books in order to find incriminating passages that would support his thesis on my anti-Semitic Fascism-Communism.
Adam Kirsch returns the favor.
But Zizek’s attitude towards Judaism is not the major problem with his thought, and it was not the main subject of my essay. The major problem is his glorification of totalitarianism and political violence.
Basic translation: “You are misreading me, Sir!” – “No, I am not”
I think I like your basic translation better than the actual argument.
Zizek spent half an hour of a lecture thinking aloud as to whether or not he should respond to Kirsch before firmly coming to the conclusion of no, he shouldn’t.
I say the two should go on Celebrity Big Brother.
I bet if they decided to fight it out, Zizek would win – it’s a lesson you learn from elementary school/jail – nobody fights the crazy kid/inmate!
Badiou promises in an introduction to the English translation of “The Meaning of Sarkozy” that, as he is a man of direct action rather than legal wrangling, anyone who calls him an anti-semite will get – if unfortunate enough to cross his path – “the slap owing to a stupid slanderer”.
Clearly he and Zizek should just corner Kirsch in a parking lot somewhere and slap his glasses off. It’s what Gandhi would do.
did you notice that dr. Zizek never explains WHY there are so few Jews in Slovenia, and so many in Serbia (there’s even an ancient society of Serbian-Jewish friendship based on our collective pogroms in the Second World War). Why, Mikhail, did the Jews NOT settle in the pluralistic, multicultural and above all tolerant Heimat? And why didn’t the Heimat do anything to stop the pogrom of Jews which took place parallel to the pogrom of Serbs, so that around 2 million of them together ended up in the camps?
Next, the issue of violence, which Mr. Kirsch, whatever the faults of his article otherwise, rightly put under dr. Zizek’s nose. Dr. Zizek’s idiotic call on ”creative violence” invokes the vengeance and retribution of the Old Testament, which already the New Testament annulled with its law of unconditional forgiveness. This clearly locates his project in the imperialist religion genre, and whoever continues to philosophize about this without taking that basic premise into consideration, is an idiot.
Serbia was the first country in WWII to be declared Judein-Frei. Which Serbian pogroms are you actually talking about? The ones carried out against the Croats, Bosnians and ethnic Hungarians?
I think Zizek shouldn’t have bothered to respond – for all of his weaknesses, it seems that vanity is at the top of the list, plus he ended up sounding like your typical racist who as a justification for his/her comments says something like “But I have [ethnic minority] friends!”
As for Zizek’s take on the violence, I’d say whatever it is, it certainly does not deserve a kind of misreading that Kirsch gives. I was rereading some stuff yesterday that Derrida put out after the Wolin/Sheehan affair – the one about Heidegger and all in NYRB – and it seemed to me that Kirsch wants to be a new Sheehan and jump start his career or get exposure or something like that. At least Derrida’s letters to NYRB are full of righteous indignation, Zizek’s just plain boring in his “response” to Kirsch.
no no Mikhail, it’s not as naive as that altogether,
read this simple wikipedia article, which explains that the primary reason Jews chose not to settle in Slovenia
was ”rampant anti-Semitism”
I find it unbelievable that he can LIE like that
I know Kirsch’s motives are unseemly, but that isn’t the
point, the point is that Zizek is a denim-and-suede-fascist
and he is being taken seriously by this whole branch
of Western intellgentsia… I find that utterly disturbing
The modern era
In 1709 Charles VI, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (and ruler of the Slovenian Lands), issued a decree allowing Jews to return to the Slovenian Lands. Nevertheless, Jews in that time settled almost exclusively in the commercial city of Trieste and, to a much smaller extent, in the town of Gorica, which are now both part of Italy. The decree was overturned in 1817 by Francis I, and Jews were granted full civil and political right only with the Austro-Hungarian constitution of 1867. Nevertheless, the Slovenian Lands remained virtually without a consistent Jewish population, with the exception of Gorizia, Trieste, the region of Prekmurje and some smaller towns in the western part of the County of Gorizia and Gradisca (Gradisca, Cervignano), which were inhabited mostly by a Friulian-speaking population. According to the census of 1910, only 146 Jews lived in the territory of modern Slovenia, excluding the Prekmurje region.
Rampant anti-Semitism was among the causes why few Jews decided to settle in the area, maintaining the overall Jewish population at a very low level. In the 1920s, After the formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia), the local Jewish community merged with the Jewish community of Zagreb, Croatia.
According to the 1931 census, there were about 900 Jews in the Drava Banovina, mostly concentrated in Prekmurje, which used to be part of the Kingdom of Hungary until 1919. This was the reason why in the mid 1930s Murska Sobota became the seat of the Jewish Community of Slovenia. During that period, the Jewish population was reinvigorated by many immigrants fleeing from neighouring Austria and Nazi Germany to a more tolerant Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, the anti-Jewish legislation, adopted by Milan Stojadinović’s pro-German regime and the anti-semitic discourse of Anton Korošec’s Slovenian People’s Party, made Slovenia a less desirable destination.
The number of Jews prior to the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941 is estimated to around 2,500.
As for Zizek’s take on the violence, I’d say whatever it is,
what it is, is an apologia for imperial racist religiosity,
that’s what it is,
the one that swears by the Sword and by the
creation of Divisons (which dr. Zizek’s entire opus
divinates through that Hegellian turn) and even if
you’re not a Christian Orthodox it’s unacceptable
already from the perspective of the Scriptures themselves;
the New Testament annulled ”eye for an eye” and does
not proclaim violence as any kind of a value. And
just by the way the Christian Orthodox church parted
ways with Communism precisely on the issue of using
violence to accomplish political goals, so dr. Zizek’s
deployment of Christianity is illegitimate from that
point as well, so no wonder in his whole text you never
encounter the Russian Orthodox Church.
What a vile, two-timing RODENT ASSHOLE that character
really is, and the whole supremacist culture he