[Marxism] Zizek

Dan d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Sat Sep 3 10:25:34 MDT 2011


Zizek seems to derive most of his growing appeal from his inner sabotage
of "Liberal" thinking (the American Liberal = progressive, not the
European Liberal = laissez-faire advocate).

In the latest video on his blog, a debate with Assange, he contends that
Fox's TV series "24" is more emancipatory than traditional "liberal"
Hollywood movies such as "All the President's men".
In "left-wing" movies like "All the President's men", the hero uncovers
the corruption at the very head of the executive, the fact that greedy
corporations are in control of the President's decisions, and thanks to
the Good Ol' American right of free speech can unleash such an uproar
that the president is finally impeached and becomes accountable before
the people.
In the last season of 24, Jack Bauer is confronted yet again with a
corrupt president, but this time, he has no way out. He realizes that
his skills as a torturer cannot avail him and that being a hard-ass
upholder of American interests leads to an impasse. He admits that he
doesn't know how to proceed from where he stands.

According to Zizek, the cultural theorist, 24 brings the viewer to
question his basic assumptions in a way that "All the PResiden't men"
does not. Precisely because it is the product of an ultra-conservative
media outlet.

It is not enough to tell people the truth, Zizek argues when Assange
talks about the importance of Wikileaks. People already know the truth,
they know that the US has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent
civilians in Irak, they know that the rich get tax breaks and influence
all political decisions. But they act AS IF they didn't know, or rather
AS IF that didn't matter. In much the same way, many people in the USSR
acted AS IF Stalin was really creating a society based on Socialist
principles.

Zizek's open disdain for "Liberal Yankee thanks-for-fucking-me" (he
loves to point out the squeamishness of middle-class Americans when it
comes to discussing bodily functions and sex) is garnering him quite a
following among "culture theorists" and "postmodernist thinkers". His
belief that we are at a pivotal, in the Hegelian sense, time in history,
when a new alignment of the self with itself and others is taking place,
strikes a deep chord.

Some may see Zizek's views as pessimistic, masturbatory, nihilistic. I
gather that he himself sees himself as promoting a new engagement of
people with their reality, a new "breakthrough" in dealing with reality,
a continuation of the dialectic outfolding of the Absolute.

Again, I first heard of Zizek two days ago, and have spent the most part
of last night, from 3pm to 4 am ! (tired...) watching all the videos of
his lectures on his blog. So I don't claim to be an expert, just someone
who has discovered a new thinker and is still trying to assess his
impact.









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