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April 21, 2009


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Yes, of course there is cynicism, but I'm worried that the event of hope can't function without background of failure or disaster. Boyle is great, but how cleverly marketed was that presentation on YouTube? Raise the spectre of failure, promise and then deliver hope, and you've got 'em.


Miracles do happen, and I think accepting (and celebrating) that possibility goes a long way to putting a lid on the cynicism that Zizek says functions as the strongest ideology of today. Denying that anything good happens is no way to win friends to the Left. 1) It's demonstrably false and 2) it plays into a vulgar, deterministic picture that would have us believe that it's no good trying to act to change things.

I think, when confronted with such fantastic stories, it's always good to say "yes, but what are the political implications?" We can avoid the cynical trap by granting that, yes, "miracles can happen" for individuals. Some really do achieve a material status greater than their ancestors on the merits of their hard work. But the Left critic should be quick to point out that what makes such stories so magical is that certain rare individuals - by chance and merit - have risen above a background of misery and drudgery that the rest of their class peers are more or less doomed to live out. The structures of class oppression are left in place.



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