[Marxism] Preview of coming attractions
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Tue Jun 1 07:41:16 MDT 2004
Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2004
Third in a series tracking a seemingly ubiquitous thinker.
By SCOTT McLEMEE
One source of Slavoj Zizek's lasting appeal as a cultural theorist is
that he provides a really good excuse to go to the video store. Readers
work their way through any given book or essay by Mr. Zizek with a sure
sense that, sooner or later, he will interrupt his Lacanian
interrogation of Hegel's critique of the categorical imperative for an
analysis of, say, an Alfred Hitchcock film. Last year Mr. Zizek
suggested that the police state in Steven Spielberg's film Minority
Report -- in which sci-fi technology allows crimes to be solved before
they are perpetrated -- followed the same logic as the Bush
administration's policy in Iraq.
Indeed, Mr. Zizek himself has indicated that a regular viewing of
preposterous Hollywood blockbusters is one of the secrets of his own
productivity. The deep boredom induced by watching Bruce Willis run from
an exploding fireball encourages the scholar to reflect on questions of
But soon, Mr. Zizek will go from watching movies to starring in one.
Astra Taylor, who until this semester was an adjunct in sociology, has
just finished shooting a film about him.
Contacted by Zizek Watch in late March, Ms. Taylor was about to head to
Slovenia for a final round of interviews. "So far we have hung out with
Zizek on the East Coast ... but gone also to Buenos Aires, where the
crowds were amazing -- over 2,000 people in the University Square, an
electrified mob," she wrote by e-mail.
"I am focusing on his philosophy and personality equally (his
personality demands this!)," she said. Her ambition is "to give the
viewer a sense of Zizek's overarching project" -- which also involves
explaining "who the hell Lacan is." Ms. Taylor expects her film to be
finished this year.
Not that the Zizek aficionado need wait that long for an excuse to fire
up the home entertainment system. Producing the documentary is Lawrence
Konner, a veteran Hollywood screenwriter whose credits include Mona Lisa
Smile, the remake of Planet of the Apes, and three episodes of The
Sopranos. And if you really need a break from looking up Mr. Zizek's
references to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, rent Mr. Konner's
big-screen adaptation of The Beverly Hillbillies.
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