Josh Strawn from Jewcy.com writes a first – first I really enjoyed, I should add – thoughtful response to the Kirsch vs. Zizek brouhaha:
Nowhere is the problem with Kirsch’s analysis more apparent than in his attacks on the recent book ‘Violence.’ He tells his readers that Zizek means to tell us that “resistance to the liberal-democratic order is so urgent that it justifies any degree of violence.” Not so. The author is very clear. He says that his intent is to expand our conceptual understanding of violence beyond it’s more obvious eruptions. He wants to explain violence not as merely the act of violence with which we’re most viscerally and morally aware (what he calls ‘subjective’ violence), but more thoroughly–as inclusive of the network of relations and circumstances that make that violence possible (he calls this ‘objective’ violence). Sure Zizek quotes Lenin’s directive to “Learn, learn, learn.” That doesn’t make him a Bolshevik.
Couldn’t say it better meself…
UPDATE: Larval Subjects has an interesting discussion of the matter here and here.
An article from the next The New Republic on Zizek finally puts all things Zizek in their places and reveals the secret of “what Zizek really believes” – intrigued?
Last year the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek published a piece in The New York Times deploring America’s use of torture to extract a confession from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda leader who is thought to have masterminded the attacks of September 11. The arguments that Zizek employed could have been endorsed without hesitation by any liberal-minded reader. Yes, he acknowledged, Mohammed’s crimes were “clear and horrifying”; but by torturing him the United States was turning back the clock on centuries of legal and moral progress, reverting to the barbarism of the Middle Ages. We owe it to ourselves, Zizek argued, not to throw away “our civilization’s greatest achievement, the growth of our spontaneous moral sensitivity.” […] Continue reading →