Adulation + Zizek= Vomiting

I was reading yet another article about Slavoj Zizek this morning–a figure I’ve basically stopped paying attention to for various reasons–and almost vomited when I came across this:

He is very much a thinker for our turbulent, high speed, information-led lives,” says Sophie Fiennes, “precisely because he insists on the freedom to stop and think hard about who you are as an individual in this fragmented society. We need a radical hip priest and Slavoj is that in many ways.”

Good grief (somewhere a single tear is slowly making its way down Wavy Gravy’s cheek). I mean, really. Gag. Thankfully, the author of the article qualifies this idiotic statment, albeit with another nausea inducing gem:

The very thought, I suspect, would have him quaking in his proletarian boots – and free airline socks.

Quaking? Perhaps (isn’t Zizek always “quaking?”)  The phrase “proletarian boots” –clearly an attempt at wit–is just a bit over the top. The author of the article, like most articles about him, wastes a bunch of space discussing  Zizek’s appearence.  Ooh…Proletarian boots, such a fashion statement!  I must march down to the closest TJ Max and get some! 

I suppose this brand of self-mockery, until the last sentence, almost wins me over:

He opens a copy of Living in the End Times, and finds the contents page. “I will tell you the truth now,” he says, pointing to the first chapter, then the second. “Bullshit. Some more bullshit. Blah, blah, blah.” He flicks furiously through the pages. “Chapter 3, where I try to read Marx anew, is maybe OK. I like this part where I analyse Kafka’s last story and here where I use the community of outcasts in the TV series Heroes as a model for the communist collective. But, this section, the Architectural Parallax, this is pure bluff. Also the part where I analyse Avatar, the movie, that is also pure bluff. When I wrote it, I had not even seen the film, but I am a good Hegelian. If you have a good theory, forget about the reality.”

I wish more writers could admit they are up to their eyeballs in their own shit.

8 thoughts on “Adulation + Zizek= Vomiting

    • Good for you, exactly what I was thinking. That’s the most repulsive of all, very ‘hiding in plain sight’. Boasting about reviewing Avatar without having seen it, and being a good Hegelian with ‘if you have a good theory, forget about the reality’. He’s so twee by now it’s all of it totally gross.

      “It’s unfortunate that his recent “hip” following, largely a result of his politics, seems to suggest to some that he isn’t a “serious thinker,” or shouldn’t be taken seriously.”

      I don’t see anything unfortunate about it, it’s ZizekGate ultimately. Of course he’s not a serious thinker.

      “So it’s hard to fault Zizek for being, well, Zizekian.”

      Oh no it’s not. Some people should try not to be themselves so much, they should try to embody their Fantasy Figure. At least it would show they had some taste.

  1. Articles like this make me wish Zizek would only release dense books about Hegel, which are–in contrast to his most recent political interventions–actually decent works of scholarship. It’s unfortunate that his recent “hip” following, largely a result of his politics, seems to suggest to some that he isn’t a “serious thinker,” or shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    But I suppose there’s something distinctively Lacanian about this kind of attitude, wanting the objective of desire without its fantasmatic support. So it’s hard to fault Zizek for being, well, Zizekian.

  2. You know Zizek got such stick for defending Robespierre, but I actually see the spirit of Robespierre more alive and kicking in Zizek’s harshest critics, for instance those arguing that any thinker who shows residual traces of ‘humanism’ (poor Ms Jane Bennett) is never going to be ‘radical’ enough.

  3. I blame it on McLuhan, who was doing Zizek before there was a Zizek. Or rather– I actually like M.M.– I blame it on his acolytes, who made such a market for that kind of analysis of pop culture (slip-of-the-keyboard, I actually typed “poop culture” at first), but without really getting what the point was. It’s not without insight or value, but alas it has now released a huge tide of books with the title of “Philosophy and [fill in the blank]”. I have found some worthwhile arguments in Z., and his materialist/atheist reading of Christianity is, while not completely new, provocative and catchy. Z. is a symptom and (I suspect) will be a footnote, but for now he’s fun to read when you’re in the mood, and his psychoanalysis of movies or TV is usually better than the movie or TV.

  4. shit + bull shit are excellent arguments indeed!

    Zizek’s followers may be stupid and there are also those who make comments which seem to approve of Zizek’s views but are deliberately produced to discredit him. Grey, white and black propaganda still alive.

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