April 23, 2009

Something false gave rise to something true Why Susan Boyle Has Captured Hearts Around the World.(an excerpt from a piece by Tina Brown) Will Susan Boyle's epic moment last week on Britain's Got Talent (not a BBC show) turn out to be a choreographed piece of TV manipulation? Probably. But that'll just mean that something false gave rise to something true. Captain Richard Phillips of the good ship Maersk Alabama—and Sully Sullenberger splashing down his crippled airliner in the Hudson River—broke through the poisonous smog of economic depression and Wall Street skullduggery with a reminder that pure individual heroism is a daily occurrence if we know where to look for it. Susan Boyle is another avatar of global yearning. The YouTube clip of Susan's angel voice soaring from the unkissed mouth of that scrunchy-faced, eyebrow-enforested, unprepossessingly dumpy representative of anonymous humanity was the third irresistible message to us all to get over ourselves. Until things get better, we will all go on being unusually receptive to such epiphanies from the news. They remind us what uncomplicated strength of character looks like. I don't agree with this entirely. But I like it and want to remember it. It captures, I think, one of Zizek's emphases on ideology and cynicism, namely, his clear rejection of cynicism and his oft-repeated point that the Real appears in gaps in the Symbolic. Miracles do happen. But perhaps we should also ask ourselves about the globality of the yearning and the avatar of its appearance. What about the pirates? Are they not, too,...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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