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November 11, 2006


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I think what Zizek says here is the best thing I've ever read by him. It's frankly perfect, and the disruption that the conspiracy theorists wish to introduce is evident in every one of their ways of observing phenomena, not just 9/11. It is a kind of religion after awhile, but whether it's actually Islam that these theorists adhere to with their assurance that 'Al Qaeda' is innocent, I'm not sure. It definitely seems to be sometimes.


'For some critics, this is what makes conspiracy theory maddening and irrational--it's inability to disproved.'

I don't think even that is it. I think it is disproved, and very easily, but there is a means by which they are able to skirt the facts, and the 'drive' they exhibit is what is maddening. For awhile it's even hypnotic, because you don't see how anyone could be so in love with proving something for which they have no evidence whatever. For example, the 9/11 theorists find it very easy to refuse to discuss any of the other Al Qaeda attacks, nor will they discuss the 1993 WTC attacks, which were not Al Qaeda, although Ramzi Yousef's uncle was involved in 9/11. It is their tenacity to stay on this one single topic, ignoring all related matters, that makes them hypnotic--fantastic fictions. It's likely, though, that with the Democratic victory, they will become even more marginalized, because there will probably develop a more law-enforcement and intelligent approach to fighting terrorists, and some history of terrorism is to be found in Louise Richardson's new book. It's currently reviewed in the NYReview of Books.




"drive is quite literally the very drive of to break the All of continuity in which we are embedded, to introduce a radical imbalance into it..."

and I think this is particularly good, because the radical imbalance is more, not less, important, than the specific conspiracy (most commonly 9/11 since this has started as a huge issue). This leads one to think that much of the time the theorists know that their theory is untrue (as 9/11 as an inside job obviously is), but the zeal to gain a political advantage is, in fact, worth lying about it. In the case of 9/11, to harp on the 'innocence of bin Laden' is to definitely approve of the actions of Al Qaeda on September 11 (this resembles Bush's own 'you're for us or against us', and although the context in which he said it makes it false, it then grew into something like truth out of context, because the Bush Administration succeeded until last week in couching the whole issue into something like a Christianity vs. Islam dichotomy. This is why you find that Bush's ratings in the Arab world are the highest of any Americans, up there with Bin Laden's, and why Bin Laden released that tape just before the 2004 election--he likes Bush, as it were, knows what to expect, what he's dealing with--and Bush expended and wasted enormous amounts of energy in terms of human lives, money and everything else, just as Bin laden predicted and wanted. That's one of the reasons it was secretly scary, I think, to discipline the Republicans: What Bin Laden may be planning now is less frozen, more uncertain: with the Democrats, he will find no 'enemy/ally.')


Sorry to be a pedant but it's Newcastle on Tyne (as in river Tyne) not thyme

William S. Wilson

LIVE from the NYPL, The Austrian Cultural Forum, and The Atlantic Monthly


A Double Celebration: The Atlantic and Sigmund Freud @ 150

Saturday | November 18 | 2006 | 7:00 pm

in the South Court Auditorium of
The New York Public Library

Family History and Its Discontents: Sigmund Freud, Oscar Wilde, Stomach
Pains, Death, New England and the Immortal Porcupine

followed by

Are We Allowed Not To Enjoy?



How do our restless readings of our own family histories influence our take on cultural history, and vice-versa?

For all that Freud seems to have been chewed over ad nauseam by detractors and advocates alike, there remain bizarre, intriguing dark spaces where the light at the end of the cigar has failed to fall.

What caused Freud to pass out twice in Jung's presence and, on one occasion, waking in his arms, cry out, "How sweet it must be to die?"

---Why does Freud's classic The Psychopathology of Everyday Life sound in many places like The Importance of Being Earnest?

---Why hasn't more attention been paid to the tetherball tournament Freud took part in with a twelve-year-old girl at an Adirondack retreat near Lake Placid?

---What, above all, led Freud to place on his desk amidst his ancient bibelots from the ruins of Hellenic and Semitic civilization a large metal porcupine with musical quills manufactured in America at the turn of the century and presented to him by the Boston Brahmin-covert-operative for the St. Louis Hegelians, Dr. James Jackson Putnam?

These questions will be pored over - as discreetly as possible - by Wayne Koestenbaum and George Prochnik.

This event is co-presented by The Atlantic.


In the last years, we are bombarded by the new wave of the triumphalist acclamations of how psychoanalysis is dead: with the new advances in brain sciences, it is finally put where it belonged all the time, to the lumber-room of pre-scientific obscurantist search for hidden meanings, alongside religious confessors and dream-readers. As Todd Dufresne put it, no figure in the history of human thought was more wrong about all its fundamentals - with the exception of Marx, some would add.

What if, however, this memorial service is a little bit too hasty, commemorating a patient who still has a long life ahead? In contrast to the "evident" truths of the critics of Freud, my talk will argue that it is only today that the time of psychoanalysis has arrived and that Freud's key insights gain their full value.

Traditionally, psychoanalysis was expected to allow the patient to overcome the obstacles which prevented him/her the access to normal sexual satisfaction: if you are not able to "get it," go to the analyst, he will enable you to get rid of your inhibitions... Today, however, when we are bombarded from all sides by the different versions of the injunction "Enjoy!", from direct enjoyment in sexual performance to enjoyment in professional achievement or in spiritual awakening, one should move to a more radical level: psychoanalysis is today the only discourse in which you are allowed not to enjoy -not "not allowed to enjoy," i.e., prohibited to enjoy, but just relieved of the pressure to enjoy.
--- Slavoj Zizek

This talk is co-presented by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

About George Prochnik
George Prochnik's new book is Putnam Camp: Sigmund Freud, James Jackson
Putnam, and the Purpose of American Psychology. His essays, poetry, and
fiction have appeared in numerous journals. He taught English and American
literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and has also worked as a
therapist for the chronically mentally ill.

About Wayne Koestenbaum
Wayne Koestenbaum is a Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center,
and a Visiting Professor in the painting department of the Yale School of
Art. His books include Model Homes, The Milk of Inquiry, Moira Orfei in
Aigues-Mortes, Andy Warhol, The Queen's Throat, and Double Talk. His next
book, Hotel Theory, will be published in Spring 2007.

About Slavoj Zizek
Slavoj Zizek, dialectical-materialist philosopher and psychoanalyt, Co-Director of
the International Center for Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London.
Among his latest publications are The Parallax View and How To Read Lacan.

MENTION CODE "ACF" and you get a NYPL/ACF discount for this event:
$ 10 (instead of $ 15)
Tickets available online at
or at SMARTTIX 212 868 4444
Arrive early for best seat selection.
Doors open 30 minutes before each event.
The NYPL Management reserves the right to refuse admission to latecomers.

Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
New York, NY 10018
South Court Auditorium
212 930-0830

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Scott W.

I believe it has to do with feminism and man's attempt to be the dominate figure in the world. It's a mental err on the side of fascism.

"martial masculinity"

"Men who are threatened by women’s decreased dependency and increased organization often adopt an individual strategy of ” overconformity,” compulsively acquiring “masculine” accoutrements, be they giant automobiles, guns or attack-breed dogs, and just as compulsively behave as if they are trying out for a role with the World Wrestling Foundation—affecting a kind of bright-eyed homicidal aggression as we are further socialized to equate fear with respect."

"There is a kind of interlocking directorate between white nationalists, gun culture, right-wing politicians, mercenary culture (like Soldier of Fortune), vigilante and militia movements, and elements within both Special Forces and—now—the privatized mercenary forces. It is hyper-masculine, racialist, militaristic and networked."



It's not paranoia, but confusion.

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