[Marxism] Preview of coming attractions

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 1 07:41:16 MDT 2004


Chronicle of Higher Education, June 4, 2004

Zizek Watch
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 
cultural theory.

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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