Things That Are Bullshit In This Review of Žižek’s Book

Original is found here.

Pointing out things that are wrong by conflating “I disagree” with “It is not so” is my favorite past time, of course.

1) “He has become the saint of total leftism: a quasi-divine being, than whom none more radical can ever be conceived.” – Nothing of this sort has happened to Žižek. There are plenty of more radical people. And Žižek is probably more criticized from the Left than any other people.

2) “Even if you are attracted by Žižek’s Hegelian fundamentalism, you are bound to wonder how it connects with his spectacular radicalism.” Žižek’s Hegel is far from any “fundamentalist” Hegel (if such even exists), it’s barely Hegel at all. The author might need to revisit “ragged volumes of Hegel and Marx” forgotten on his shelves.

3) “Two hundred years later, Hegel’s view of philosophy is at best a magnificent ruin, and no one can believe in it any more.” This is untrue on so many levels, the authors needs a reality check by looking at books on Hegel from the last 10 years.What does it mean “to believe in a philosophy” anyway? Does anyone “believe” in Plato’s Forms?

4) “He is happy to leave the world to burn while he plays his games of philosophical toy soldiers.” Please, this is rather stupid. This is the sort of idiotic comment one finds in reviews. “The author fails to address the issues that I think he must address!” It’s a book about Hegel, Žižek has plenty to say about other things in other books!

This review is ranked as “full of bullshit”!

13 thoughts on “Things That Are Bullshit In This Review of Žižek’s Book

  1. Ad hominems, criticism of style, use of caricature… so, a review without review? Sounds like Harman!

    Actually, I’m quite unsettled by this, not least because I’ve met Rée himself. I’m shocked that a person as bright as him can fall into the trap.

  2. With so many reviews of the book coming out, one must compete with others by taking one’s generalizations and caricatures to the next level. I can see how he would break under pressure. What happened to the traditional dismissive review anyway? Why not just say Zizek is incorrect or something? It has to be his “sympathy for Stalin” or something…

  3. I stopped reading John Gray’s review of the book when he described Lacan as a “post-structuralist.” Has he not read the bit on “Why Lacan is not a post-structuralist” in The Sublime Object of Ideology? Or any Lacan for that matter? Just shows the danger, and the prevalence within academia, of relying too much on secondary literature, which results in the review becoming mere tertiatiary literature, i.e., bullshit (to go back to your post on “faking”). Given that LTN is mostly tertiary literature anyway, the effect iscatastrophic. I guess I’ll have to wait until a review comes out on IJZS.

  4. I mean this is a tough book to review since it’s basically many different little books and so on. But don’t write a review if you have nothing to say. All the Harmanian bullshit about how if someone asks you to write a review, it’s your academic duty to do so is, well, bullshit. Reviews aren’t what they used to be, no one reads them to learn about the book – especially when it comes to Zizek. So have at least a goddamn point or something – push for some agenda!

  5. That reminds me of a passage from Sydney Smith on the purpose of reviews, written in 1825:

    “Whether it is necessary there should be a middleman between the cultivator and possessor, learned economists have doubted; But neither gods, men, nor booksellers can doubt the necessity of a middleman between Mr. Bentham and the public. Mr. Bentham is long; Mr. Bentham is occasionally involved and obscure; Mr. Bentham invents new and alarming expressions; Mr. Bentham loves division and subdivision — and he loves method itself, more than its consequences. Those only, therefore, who knows his originality, his knowledge, his vigour, and his boldness, will recur to the works themselves. The great mass of readers will not purchase improvement at so dear a rate; but will choose rather to become acquainted with Mr. Bentham through the medium of Reviews — after that eminent philosopher has been washed, trimmed, shaved, and forced into clean linen. One great use of a Review, indeed, is to make men wise in ten pages who have no appetite for an hundred pages; to condense nourishment, to work with pulp and essence, and to guard the stomach from idle burthen and unmeaning bulk.”

    Reviews… that make us wise? If only we had that in our era…

  6. Schlegel would turn in his grave if he found out that reviewers were now operating on the assumption that there exist universal standards of “scholarship” and “style” — the hallmark of neo-classicism which he rejected in his Fragments. That makes me wonder whether our era is experiencing a revival of neo-classicism? Maybe that’s why all my friends are into Stravinsky now…

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