Friday, 23 September 2005

The Simpleton's Sage

If you have ever awoken in the morning and thought, “in order to be an active subject, I have to get rid of — and transpose onto the other — the inert passivity which contains the density of my substantial being”, then most likely you are an inveterate gobshite or a professor of sociology; — though it would take a man of rare perspicacity to tell the essence of the one from the other.
.....The words quoted are those of Slavoj Žižek (“The Interpassive Subject”, online at the European Graduate School, n.d.), the Slovenian philosophunculist and windbag-professor of sociology. His biography at the European Graduate School describes him as “an effective purveyor of Lacanian mischief” and claims that “he has an encyclopedic grasp of political, philosophical, literary, artistic, cinematic, and pop cultural currents — and . . . has no qualms about throwing all of them into the stockpot of his imagination — [which is why] he has dazzled his peers and confounded his critics for over ten years.” Consider this dazzling mischief, for example:
The pure multiple of Being is not yet a multitude of Ones, since . . . to have One the pure multiple must be ‘counted as One’; from the standpoint of the state of a situation, the preceding multiple can only appear as nothing, so nothing is the ‘proper name of Being as Being’ prior to its symbolization.
(Slavoj Žižek, “Psychoanalysis in Post-Marxism: The Case of Alain Badiou” The South Atlantic Quarterly; Spring 1998. Published online at the European Graduate School.)
Now, if I might venture here upon an expression of my own view, I should say that professor Žižek is a purveyor of ugly, senseless and frivolous tat – in other words, everything one expects from a celebrated intellectual fraudster – and that reading his dumbfounding works is the closest one is ever likely to get to an armchair lobotomy. Moreover, if encyclopaedic knowledge is to be mentioned in connection with him at all, then I should think it more appropriate to mention it only in relation to a children’s pictorial encyclopaedia in which some tyke has augmented the pictures of the monkeys with doodled genitalia. I hardly need add, therefore, that he is the philosopher of choice amongst film-students.


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Anonymous said...

The amount of junk cluttering up this comments section may be a subtle tribute to Slavoj Zizek himself, the king of academic spam. Just like the average spammer, the Professor of Polysyllabics from the University of Ruritania emits an endless stream of verbal drivel in the desperate hope of hooking a handful of suckers into buying his shabby product - with astonishing success in Zizek's case. Anyone unlucky enough to read the London Review of Books recently will have encountered specimens of Zizekian Leninolatry in which the Slovene blathers about his mass-murdering, microencephalous "hero" at enormous length. These "essays" resemble nothing so much as the ramblings of an eight-year-old retard boasting about how "kewl" and "hard" his favourite He-Man or Skeletor action figure is. Still, I hear the main hospital in Ljubljana has named its new department of autoproctology in Zizek's honour.

Deogolwulf said...

Akaky, you'll be happy to hear that this is now a spam-free zone.

J. Cassian, very well said. I'm afraid to say that I have been reading some of Zizek's large output in Leninolatry. Look at these gems:

“To reinvent Lenin's legacy today is to reinvent the politics of truth.”

What on earth could that mean?

“Today more than ever we should return to Lenin”

That'll be a lark!

(Slavoj Zizek, “A Plea for Leninist Intolerance”, Critical Inquiry, Winter 2002. Published online at the European Grauduate School.)

lemuel said...

In school upon recieving some reading assignments we sometimes joked that Occam's Razor would not suffice and that we should be issued with Occam's Machete.

Now Zizek would probably require Occam's Chainsaw.

Akaky said...

He must sound better in Slovenian than he does in English; most Slovenes do.

Anonymous said...

"He must sound better in Slovenian"

I bet he sounds like David Icke in Slovenian.

Akaky said...

Okay, you're one up on me. Who's David Icke?

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. Žižek, emperor, new clothes, etc. The jester as intellectual huckster. At least Sokal was able to deliver the fatal blow; PoMo is writhing on the ground, still alive alas, but it's certainly not as culturally prevalent as it used to be. It's cacooning in ever more insular enclaves: non-tenured English department profs at smaller and less relevant colleges.

Anonymous said...

You've never come across David Icke on the Web, Akaky? He's all over the place. Basically, he was a goalkeeper for Hereford United football club (that's soccer in American money), turned BBC sports presenter, who then turned into a prophet and "son of God" in the early nineties. After a short career as the favourite laughingstock of the British media, he went on to make a fortune peddling the conspiracy theory that most world leaders are really blood-drinking alien lizards. Google him up some time. Amazingly, he still manages to make more sense than Zizek.

dearieme said...

lemuel, a friend of mine likes to say that "Nature doesn't shave with Occam's razor". Chainsaw neither, I'll bet.

Anonymous said...

"a friend of mine likes to say that 'Nature doesn't shave with Occam's razor'. "

Looking at his pictures on the Web, I think you could say much the same about Zizek.

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