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January 08, 2007


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McKenzie Wark

A very thoughtful and useful review. Thanks for the link. Helpful in recapitualting SZ's development from a theory of ideology to a theory of subjectivity to an attempt to refound 'dialectical materialism'.


One thing I noticed (and enjoyed) about Zizek's new text is his return to Kant and "the Kantian Revolution." Obviously, this focus has been part of his work for some time now, especially since "Tarrying with the Negative." Yet, it seems that most commentators do not pay enough attention to how the Zizek-machine explicitly makes sense of Hegel (and Lacan, of course) particularly through Kant. Are there any thoughts on this? I found that Zizek did a nice job in "Parallax" of defining and re-explaining his debt to Kant.
In my view, if Parallax does anything, it forces those who read Zizek to return to his important text "Tarrying with the Negative," which demonstrates Zizek's capacity to be a serious philosopher.

Adam Kotsko

I was a mole the whole time! For the religious right!

Actually, if I really was, I assume I would have fewer cash-flow issues.


Adam--I knew it.

Not Often--funny you should say this; I found myself just in the last couple of days attending more to Tarrying with the Negative and likely because of Parallax View.


The real masterpiece is For They Know Not What They Do. There he elaborates, in detail, the logic of the non-identity of the One with itself, which is the central point of the parallax. Alas, no one ever reads it.

Adam Kotsko

Not true: I've read it.


Well of course you have Kotsko! Terrific review, btw... And I never thought you a closet fundamentalist.

Amish Lovelock

Those with all the books are either masterful interpreters or lackys. Those with Tarrying and Parallax, and maybe Ticklish on the side, are darn good readers. Those with only Second Death are gods.


Is there pressing reason to read Zizek beyond these:

Sublime Object of Ideology
For They Know Not What They Do
Tarrying With the Negative
Ticklish Subject
Parallax View


Which of the Christianity books is most essential?


I agree Synthome, 'For They Know Not What They Do' is a v. important text in Zizek's corpus. I have not read it close enough myself, but I shall. There is just something about the title that says 'clever dick' to me! This might explain some of the neglect of it... maybe not. (after all, what's wrong with a clever dick?) Anyhow, the text at least partially stands as a rethinking of some themes in SO, particularly Leftist failure at the end of the cold war.

also, thank-you Kotsko for your excelent critical review. You have helped me to understand better a very difficult text...


Alex--The Fragile Absolute.

Re Sinthome: For They Know Not What They Do is very good. In a different category, but in my view underappreciated is The Plague of Fantasies.

Adam Kotsko

The Plague of Fantasies is the only "big" one I haven't read. I worry that this makes me a poseur.

Jodi is right that The Fragile Absolute is the best Christianity one. (You have to read through it twice, though, in order for it to make sense.)

[I should note that it's apparently possible to get an article about Zizek published in a peer-reviewed journal when you've only read On Belief.]


Oh, Adam, that's not what makes you a poseur.

McKenzie Wark

It's in a different register but Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? is not a bad book at all. For me that's the best of the 'intervention' books.


The Deleuze text is possibly the worst... but yes, Did Somebody is quite good.

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