Jacques-Alain Miller on Sarah Palin


From the Lacanian Ink website, here’s Jacques-Alain Miller (for what it’s worth) discussing Sarah Palin, castration and a new race of political women:

The choice of Sarah Palin is a sign of the times. In politics, the feminine enunciation is hence called to dominate. But be careful! It’s no longer about women who play elbows, modeling themselves on the men. We are entering an era of postfeminist women, women who, without bargaining, are ready to kill the political men. The transition was perfectly visible during Hillary’s campaign: she began playing the commander in chief and, since that didn’t work, what did she do? She sent a subliminal message, one that said something like: “Obama? He’s got nothing in the pants.” And she immediately took it back, but it was too late. Sarah Palin is not only picking up where she left off but, being younger by fifteen years, she is otherwise ferocious, slinging feminine sarcasm like a natural; she overtly castrates her male adversaries (and with such frank jubilation!) and their only recourse is to remain silent: they have no idea how to attack a woman who uses her femininity to ridicule them and reduce them to impotence. For the moment, a woman who plays the “castration” card is invincible. Continue reading

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Žižek on Derridalogy


Finally my Netflix delivered Žižek! documentary – it’s a nice run through some of Žižek’s main idiosyncratic theoretical points and all.  This viewing also coincided with reading of this essay in The Nation that claims that Žižek finally “gone mad” – a whole lot of Žižek for a weekend. However, my favorite part of the documentary is the rant closer to the very end when some incoherent (and accented) woman “confronts” Žižek about his supposed Lacanian dogmatism. Allow me to reproduce the exchange here (woman’s “question” is subtitled, so I simply reproduce it here):

Woman: …the mis-reading that you are doing where Derrida is concerned I think this is identic to your work. And I wondered whether this is also another form of whether a certain form of belief operating from a distance at your work.

Žižek: [somewhat impatiently] Which belief?

Woman: Dogmatic Lacanian theme working as a belief in your work.

Žižek [interrupting the woman’s ramblings] Perfect… perfect question. I defy you with the very empirical (in the best Anglo-Saxon tradition) question, apart from this brief conflict between Gayatri Spivak and Derrida, could you name me one Derridean who made a small critical remark on Derrida? Rodolphe Gasche, Sam Weber – name me one! Why are we dogmatic? Why are they not? [Nervious giggling in the audience] Name me one example where Sam Weber makes one ironical remark on Derrida!

This exchange, taken out of context as it is, I think is right on the money with all of that recent frustration that I have gathered vis-a-vis derridalogy – there’s a smell of dogmatism, of such uncritical admiration that the best essays by young scholars on Derrida are these very cute – Oh I found this really cool place in Derrida, look at me, I am also reading everything there is to read by the Master, please accept me into your club – kinds of work without any clear engagement or critique or even an ironical gesture…