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July 03, 2012

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Alain

Obviously the criticism of antisemtism is off the mark. Though there are times Zizek seems to uncritically reproduce ethnic stereotypes to make some larger point, usually when going after multiculturalism or political correctness. What I think is more interesting as a criticsm was what Gray says toward the end of his review. It seems fair to suggest that Zizek's vision "is well adapted to an economy based on the continuous production of novel commodities and experiences...That there should be this isomorphism between Žižek’s thinking and contemporary capitalism is not surprising. After all, it is only an economy of the kind that exists today that could produce a thinker such as Žižek. The role of global public intellectual Žižek performs has emerged along with a media apparatus and a culture of celebrity that are integral to the current model of capitalist expansion."

I personally enjoy watching Zizek's performances online and there is a lot of content to choose from. My only disagreement with Gray on this point is I am not sure that this necessarily discredits what Zizek has to say.

Alain

I just had one more quick thought - it seems the fact that Zizek's public appearances have the feeling of a performance, or even an "event" seems to be used by his critics to demonstrate his lack of substance or superficiality. Sometimes I have had the same feeling listening to him or watching his interventions in real politics - I think of his appearance at Occupy Wall Street last year or his public endorsement of Syriza shortly before the Greek elections. I have no problem with these attempts to engage with current events as they are happening. But some people seem to think that these interventions somehow stand in contrast to his more comedic schtick - but I think he actually appears more engaged and thoughtful in his public appearances in the last year or two. It may be that the economic crisis has reinvigorated his commitment to be more serious. Just a thought.

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