[Marxism] Passion: Leaded or Unleaded?

Jeff Rubard jeffrubard at fusemail.com
Thu Mar 4 13:38:23 MST 2004

> From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
> To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
> <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2004 1:39 AM
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Passion: Regular or Decaf? By Slavoj Zizek
> Zivko Vukolaj wrote:
>> Could we please get a follow up on any further comments by Slavoj Zizek
>> on
>> the "Passion" controversy. Thank you.
> Zizek's piece is replete with his bravura obscurantist mixture of pop
> culture and political pontificating. He manages to weave together Ex-Lax
> and torture in the same paragraph. One wonders about his bowel habits.

And he would, too, wouldn't he?

> For me the most interesting paragraph is the concluding one:
> A couple of thoughts. First of all, it is not "intolerance" that
> characterizes Islam. As Juan Cole points out, Jesus Christ was seen
> positively in the Quran. Plus, Jews never had it so good in Europe as
> they had under Islamic rule under North African and Ottoman dynasties.
> It is more specifically political resistance to imperialism that takes
> an atavistic turn in the absence of more secular and scientific
> currents--socialism in particular.
> The other error is seeing fascism as an act of "resistance against the
> deadlocks of capitalist modernization." Clearly Zizek has not studied
> Italian fascism, which was very much involved with Futurism. The essence
> of fascism is not a rejection of capitalist modernization, but rather a
> belief in blood/nation ties that supersede class. It is a bastardization
> of socialism that very much posits a belief in progress,
> industrialization and all the other values of bourgeois society. I think
> that Zizek is confused with the pre-Raphaelites or something.

Louis, the joke is that our Slovenian friend Zizek suffers from multiple
"conceputal confusions" on account of the tragic history of Yugoslavia:
i.e., I imagine he is secretly more or less a Italianate humanist who would
liefer translate our "canonical designator" D'Annunzio or scan the
totality of
signs and think of Dante than write on the topics he chooses.  You get what
you get, although if you think his views on the astrolabe are particularly
advanced there are other people to fool with (even if one took a
dim view of spectacular spectacular leftism leftism, the time could
certainly be taken to consider Pannekoek's "transhuman" anthropology
as exemplary of what the physical sciences have to teach us about
social life).  But what you don't get, as you are secretly aware, is a sense
of US "Liberalism": and if that tradition had its problems (which it
certainly did,
as I can tell you for miles and miles of Kents) you were at least under
compulsion to talk about the Passion in public life.


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