Zizek as copy-writer
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 10 15:36:24 MDT 2003
THE EXAMINED LIFE
Enjoy Your Chinos!
By Joshua Glenn, 7/6/2003
A FEW WEEKS AGO, the trendy youth retailer Abercrombie & Fitch was slapped
with a lawsuit alleging that the company discriminates against minority
''brand representatives'' (i.e., salespersons) who don't embody the brand's
''classic American'' look. Some may be surprised, then, to learn that the
racy photos in the forthcoming ''Back to School 2003'' issue of the
Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly are garnished with running analysis from a
man who hardly embodies ''classic American'' ideas: the left-wing Slovenian
philosopher, cultural critic, and theoretical omnivore Slavoj Zizek.
In his contribution to A&F's magazine-catalog hybrid, Zizek does not claim
to discover any latent philosophical truths in Bruce Weber's photographs of
young, mostly white men and women slipping out of pre-rumpled polo shirts
and cargo shorts. Discussing a shot in which a topless blonde turns her
face to the sun while her two male companions undress, the author of
''Enjoy Your Symptom!'' restricts himself to musing, ''This now of the
peaceful satisfaction is to her infinitely preferable to the prospect of
So where's the theory?
Reached via telephone in Ljubljana, Zizek told Ideas, ''You've got me
there. I spent literally 10 minutes on this assignment, just
free-associating. I was in theoretical despair!''
But Zizek bristled at the suggestion that there was anything unseemly about
an internationally renowned intellectual writing copy for a clothing
catalog. ''If I were asked to choose between doing things like this to earn
money and becoming fully employed as an American academic, kissing
[EXPLETIVE] to get a tenured post,'' he growled, ''I would with pleasure
choose writing for such journals!''
This story ran on page H2 of the Boston Globe on 7/6/2003.
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