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May 12, 2008

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parody center

Jodianne this is really beyond pulp. It's not even good kitsch. First off, what gives dr. Zizek the right to cast himself in the role of the prophet saying things like ''is this enough?'' as if we the Jews must follow Moses in his existential queries. And then in that annoying dialectic format: is this NOT... What did Dr zizek actually DO to live up to the image of the Messiah? And then how can he say this while enjoying the privilege earned on secessionism and later on the selfsame liberal hypocrisy, or whatever, supposedly reviled in this article. And then what's the point of all this, except a few blawg articles like yours and more book sales for dr. Zizek?

Bryan Klausmeyer

I think it's a bit hyperbolic to characterize those interested in Zizek's work as blind worshippers, as well as Zizek himself as some sort of reluctant Messiah, which is just ridiculous and seems to demonstrate a really basic lack of understanding. His popularity is more of a testament to the fact that he has succeeded in communicating a message that, at least in my opinion, fails to succumb to the rather boring pitfalls of contemporary political discourse.

At the level of theory, he's managed to reactualize a more nuanced portrayal of German Idealism, which is actually effective in helping to reformulate certain glossed-over concepts in a variety of academic fields, against a very caricatured, stereotyped portrayal that so often tragically leads to immediate dismissal as irrelevant, not unlike your own characterization of Zizek himself.

patrick j. mullins

'For years Zizek has pointed out the way that so many left academics live and the way that our actions reflect our belief:'

But that doesn't mean anything, even if he'd been the first to point it out (and he certainly isn't, so what is so important about his pointing it out?), because he lives even more grandly. It reminds me of the way Arpege is always kind enough to point out people's self-interest while identifying with the 'propertied left'. And if by some chance Zizek doesn't own any property, isn't it a little like whether the Queen of England's bag has anything of value in it? She's already managed for it to be known that there's not any money in it, that being 'unseemly', but that's rather beside the point and rather only points to the personal achievement being twice removed rather than only once, as with Zizek.

It is important to get comfortable with a balanced understanding of hypocrisy, or one will always be looking to other hypocrites whose distinction may often lie in precisely to what degree they are comfortable with it. Zizek says 'of course I am for Obama--seems so stupid to say it...', then why say it? He wanted people to be sure that's what he was doing, clearly. But he does have all the privileges that he may rebuke in the rest of you 'left academics'. It reminds one of religious gurus and their disciples, although not quite as extreme as the late Bhagwan Rajneesh, of many Rolls-Royces fame (and disciples who said '25? I only wish he could have 26?)

Why would anyone pay any attention to critique of something by someone who is 'also doing it'.

I am proud to have discovered the essential similarity of Dr. Zizek and Arpege Chabert (lol)....

Jodi

Patrick, I could be mistaken, but my sense is that Zizek does not live 'grandly.' He works for a living (writing and lecturing). He is not part of the US academic/university/tenure system. Here's a contrast to illustrate my point: at meetings or events some academics insist on going to excellent restaurants and ordering fine wine. Not Zizek.

Further, to my mind, Zizek's pointing out of the fact that left academics live secure middle class lives is important (and if it's just important to me and no one else then so be it). Many of the academics I come into contact with think of themselves as radical, as activists, as fighting the fight. And I don't mean on weekends or in their spare time, but 'as academics.' So the language is tinged with this Leninist quality of what is to be done and how can we change the world and onmygod let's raise awareness of this or that or gee, talking about sex and religion in the classroom is an incredible act of consciousness-raising as if we were suburban housewives in 1961. A legacy of identity politics, then, is this sense of significance, relevance, and political importance--of everything. And Zizek intervenes in this (starting in the very late 80s and early nineties) saying, "um, really? are you all really so radical? or are you trying to get tenure? If you are trying to get tenure then why are you surprised that your radical, left politics are going nowhere? why are surprised that capitalism appears as the only game in town? your actions speak louder than words!"

patrick j. mullins

He works for a living (writing and lecturing). He is not part of the US academic/university/tenure system.

Yes, he does work and he is not part of the US academic/tenure system. But isn't that because he's above it? I don't mean 'grandly' in a prosaic way, with conformity to the dinner parties of academics, etc. Isn't it possible his 'grandly' is quite a bit more special? Isn't it impossible that it is not?

I doubt seriously he doesn't have health insurance, though. And he has this IMAGE that sets him apart from all of you Zizekians (of course I don't personally think of you as only that, just saying that you students are not yet up there with some of HIS privileges ss Teacher to Teachers as well as Students). This image more than compensates for not needing fine wine. I am not also saying he never says anything worthwhile, just that it looks like I don't buy this critique of the 'left academics' because their assumed privileges are actually more COMMON than his. He's the one that's the Rock Star Philosopher. As such, all those 'lesser affluent privileges' wouldn't interest him, so they therefore 'don't show', as it were. I don't resent his privileges, but he has them even if he speaks for no money (he surely has expenese paid, is pleasingly treated and honoured, and enjoys all these movements he makes--these are privileges, they are just less pedestrian and less commonplace privileges. Again, I don't resent his privilege, but it is surely a matter of 'different distribution of privilege'. That's why I don't care for his critique of the 'little people academics', because his privileges are simply more rarefied.

He is much more famous than any of you, for example. With this fame, he doesn't even have to consider anything in the 'necessity domains'. Again, fine that he doesn't. But I can't see how that does anything but not justify critiques of those who have not achieved his stratosphere for themselves yet.

patrick j. mullins

This is along the lines of Didion's old critiques of Hollywood limousine liberals, with that stinging phrase about the tendency of the well-possessed to champion the dispossessed pwing quite frequently to the need to prove their superiority to the lightly-possessed.

patrick j. mullins

pwing=owing. My laziness is verging on something beyond character flaw....

Jodi

The last comment is hilarious.

I'm glad you mentioned the Didion critique--that gives me a better sense of your point...and why I disagree with it. Zizek was making this argument before he was a rock star, before he was well known. And his point is primarily not a critique of 'the little person academics' not a criticism of persons, but a point about ideological--it's in our actions, not our knowledge.

parody center

He works for a living (writing and lecturing). He is not part of the US academic/university/tenure system.

Jodianne your kind romantic heart is getting the better of you again. What you describe above is a typically COMMUNIST SYNDROME. These ex-Commies like dr. Zizek all tell you that they're modest while they stuff the syndical pork chop in their pockets. Jonquille is right on the mark - dr. Zizek is Colonel Chabert's soul brother.

Zizek was making this argument before he was a rock star, before he was well known.

Jodianne do you also believe the story about the owner of McDonald's becoming famous by renovating the local restaurant? Or the story about Madanna becoming famous by chastity and talent? Dr. Zizek became a rock star by following his country's ghastly secessionist policy, like most ex-Commies of his time. He's a governmental advisor fer Chrissakes!

parody center

pwing=owing. My laziness is verging on something beyond character flaw....

Yes and there'z WORK to be done in the cott'n fieldz of the Parody Center, so get your lazy Southern bum over to the headquarters, you haven't finished Liberal Woggia's process of Becoming!!!

Hrm

For a left (anti-imperialist) critique of Zizek's batty, third-campist rambling about the M. East (replete with lump comparisons of Hamas and Hezbollah to fascists), head to Lenin's Tomb:

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2008/05/friendenemy-distinction.html

The irony is that those actually active in the revolutionary left understand Zizek's "contrarian" pontificating as so much grist for the academic machine, while his primary audience (partisans and subjects of said machine) see him as a plucky outsider who refuses tenure on principle. He's the non-affiliated Leninist to Decentist academics and a crypto-liberal bullshitter to practicing radicals--a very lucrative terrain for a freelance provocateur, it seems.

parody center

a very lucrative terrain for a freelance provocateur, it seems.

HRM and that would all be ha ha funny and fun were it not for the fact that the provocateur, like 90% of his homeland, is a bunch of egomaniacal nationalists who are posing as multicultural leftists, but this is something Americans have no clue about because their cultural horizon ends in New York

Carl

I'm confused. Is he saying that the 11th thesis and the German Ideology apply to me?

It's a good thing I'm exempt from gravity, or that would be quite a bringdown.

Hrm

egomaniacal nationalists who are posing as multicultural leftists, but this is something Americans have no clue about because their cultural horizon ends in New York

Chabert on Z's ties with xenophobic Slovene nationalism:

http://www.haloscan.com/comments/lenin/1875801191786080833/#417180

parody center

HRM Chabert's been to Slovenia so she knows exactly what I'm talking about, though her Marxist qualifications are highly dubious in my eyes and I suspect she understands the case because she's just like dr. Zizek, just another burgeois philanthropist blubbing something about saving the world while poignantly suffocated by privilege. But OK, good that at least someone is saying something other than ''we agree with the general opinion''.

patrick j. mullins

I take back what I said about Arpege and Zizek being the same. I don't think about Zizek very much, but I do not think that he is, as we all know, on the level of Arpege Chabert and her champions, who speak out for her when Endless Greater Serbia is the issue--they write flatulent cartoons the rest of the time. I hereby resign from all Greater Serbia concerns.

Hrm

Thinking about this "interview," I've had a personal epiphany about Zizek. But first, a digression.

Over at Lenin's Tomb the indignation at Zizek's Orientalist, Eurocentric, and seemingly racist remarks on DN! hit quite a pitch. That all this should go unsaid by others (e.g., Jodi) is troubling. That said, I think the anti-imperialist bluster over at the Tomb doesn't cut it in some respects.

E.g. The force of the post itself rests in putting pressure on Zizek's use of the first-person plural ("we"), so as to unpack this overdetermined pronoun, revealing Z's orientalist and crypto-imperial "friend/enemy" apologia. But this is a bit obtuse given: a) Z's pidgin English b) his use of the first-person plural to narrate Palestinian oppression (e.g.).

Nonetheless, the fact is, on one hand Z says comparisons of Israeli domination to Nazism are crazy and obscene and on the other his go-to analogy for Hamas and Hezbollah is fascism. He buoys his rambling on a sea of cliches and MSM straw men. I.e., letting a minority strand of polemics stand-in for criticism of Israel ("they're Nazis"), so as to knock it down, and then making fascism his go-to comparison for Hezbollah and Hamas, while perpetuating the myth that they're genocidal maniacs. This clarifies nothing. It's parasitic contrarianism presented as "Socratic" wisdom. Like intelligent leftists really need to be disabused of the notion that Israelis are Nazis and that Hamas and Hezbollah are unproblematic freedom fighters. His singular critique more or less arrives at nothing other than left-liberal common sense (at best).

So why does he take this hackneyed line?

After all, if there is consensus in leftist rhetoric about Israel it's with the Apartheid analogy, not this "Israelis are Nazis" line. Everyone from Norman Finkelstein and Ilan Pappe to Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu has, with clear qualifications and varying degrees of sophistication, appealed to the Apartheid analogy.

And Zizek's own details about the condition of Palestinians ("Okay, they're not picked up on the street and shot, but a Jew can dig as far as he wishes into the soil and a Palestinian farmer not more than 3 inches") itself maps well onto an apartheid model of an ethnically subjugated population juridically, economically, and systematically oppressed by a racist state regime. So why doesn't Z simply lend the force of his renown into building consensus with this emergent and *reasonable* front? Why instead does he reiterate (wholly) the standard US liberal (imperialist) obfuscations (I.e., the Israeli State is a civilized western democracy and Hezbollah and Hamas may be lumped together as fascists)?

There is only one answer. By lending force to the critique of Israel as an apartheid state, Zizek could in no way distinguish *himself*. Such solidarity with people like Pappe and Finkletsein, who have devoted their academic lives to this subject(at personal costs greater than Z has ever known), would have no contrarian cache for the preeminent gadfly.

He is a fucking egotist. And when it leads him into further degrading the level of public thought and discourse on something as devastating and vexed as the Israel/Palestine conflict--while claiming explicitly that he brings the clarity only a philosopher can--it's despicable.

And as someone active in Palestinian solidarity politics and not simply an academic convinced that debunking "liberal multiculturalism" is the great fight of our day, it makes me furious. His comments on the Paris riots were equally grotesque, but you can visit the Lenin's Tomb comments on that. Likewise the contrast between his active politics and Badiou's (a no less sophisticated philosopher who actually deigns to engage in immigration and anti-racist struggles) in those comments is instructive.

Seriously, Zizek is a self-serving blowhard, whose reactionary tendencies ought to be taken to task--and he just shut the fuck up about the Middle East. He's becoming an outright liability and threat to (internationalist) leftist politics.

patrick j. mullins

Nodi, isn't this wonderful? Another identified compatriot of ARPEGE & CIE. and all the fucking lunacy that implies comes over to offer you kindly tutelage--but of course is too CHICKENSHIT even to use a real name. These assholes are all the same.

"Thinking about this "interview," I've had a personal epiphany about Zizek. But first, a digression."{

You've haven't anything to personal to have an epiphany with.

"That said, I think the anti-imperialist bluster over at the Tomb doesn't cut it in some respects. "

How sensitive and balanced from an Anonymous Fat Ass!

"Like intelligent leftists really need to be disabused of the notion that Israelis are Nazis and that Hamas and Hezbollah are unproblematic freedom fighters. His singular critique more or less arrives at nothing other than left-liberal common sense (at best). "

But you should be only so lucky to 'arrive at some left-liberal common sense.'

The prognosis is grave, as the medical books say. Death will occur.

"Intelligent leftist" is not what you are. You are a maniac and menace as well as a stalker, and a member of Arpege & Cie's endless bullshit.

"So why doesn't Z simply lend the force of his renown into building consensus with this emergent and *reasonable* front?"

"So you needed to put 'reasonable' in quotes? Maybe he is like Hillary Rodham Clinton not throwing in the towel till she's ready, not little vulgar gerbils who want Zizek to be BRAVE, and yet YOU won't even identify yourself, you 'sensitive, unintelligent leftist.'
There is only one answer. By lending force to the critique of Israel as an apartheid state, Zizek could in no way distinguish *himself*. Such solidarity with people like Pappe and Finkletsein, who have devoted their academic lives to this subject(at personal costs greater than Z has ever known), would have no contrarian cache for the preeminent gadfly. "

What a wonderful job you've done of convincing everybody of the wonders of joining the 'non-complimentary altermondialistas'! Surely that explains your OWN anonymity: You're afraid as shit to identify yourself, but call it working for the cause and not drawing attention to your 'ego.' It's true you don't have an Star Quality, so no wonder you want to keep your mousey little grotesqueries behind the screen.

I have other problems with Zizek, but he is in no way the low and unspeakable creature you are. And his remarks before the Chavez 'election', when the Fatso didn't do so well, were simply ingenious.

God, you truly are an internet troll to vomit for.


Hrm

That's pretty good, Mr. PJ Mullins. Your personality comes through quite forcefully, doesn't it? Very masculine! I take it you are so attached to the legibility of your own personhood that your middle initial must accompany every passing screed.


This way, should anyone google you (per chance!), the fact you--the one and only Patrick J. Mullins--are a ranting, impotent freak is unmistakable.

http://throughthescarydoor.blogspot.com/2007/07/patrick-j-mullins-finally-bursts.html

And your musical selections for "The Young Indiana Jones" TV series, kudos!

But what is with your compulsion to
note the "fat ass" of your cowering online interlocutors? Bit weird, that. Maybe it makes us more... substantive for you, something you can really get your man-hands on.

patrick j. mullins

Charmed, I'm sure, dear.

Don't know a thing about the 'Indiana Jones Musical Selections' you're talking about. I certainly didn't make any, never having even seen the original...and there are sequels, aren't there?

"Maybe it makes us more... substantive for you, something you can really get your man-hands on."

Oooooohhh yes, baby, that's it, got to be....Gives me a handle when my personhood starts getting a little illegible...touching you'd post Keith Watermelon--I had thought of him often and hoped things had gone well for him.

Hrm

A fine romance, with no kisses
A fine romance, my friend this is

Ta ta.

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