Wednesday 10 January 2007

Živiljenje je Prekratka

Alas and alack, the auspices are not good, for the New Year has brought us the International Journal of Žižek Studies. It is but another sign that posturing and piffle and political knavery are to be celebrated still further as the fundaments of scholarship. For, to one and another of the journal’s wayward contributors, Professor Žižek is “some kind of lighthouse” [1], whose “very ‘impossible’ positions . . . render theoretical thought possible” [2].
[He] is one of the rare thinkers that could be named ‘it’ by the contemporary revolutionary Left, because he is the perfect instance of their search, the most excessive representative of both their present ambiguity and their intended radicalism. [3]
It is not all praise, however. Contributors should be prepared “to pinpoint the instances he failed to go too far[4], competitive excess after all being the lifeblood of radicalism.
.....The journal also comes as an opportunity to stress the seriousness of his work; for, buffoonery aside, no wary radical should ever forget that,
Serious theory involves thinking about the ideological ramifications of the structure of toilets. [5]
Far be it from me to say that the structure of lavatories cannot have ideological ramifications; after all, a well-furnished bog with a strong flush might well stir up thoughts on the purifying power of violence; a smooth-cornered, pastel-coloured khazi might soothe momentarily one’s rage against the totalizing regime of the status quo; and should the seat not stay up, or the ball-cock be stuck down, one might well become distracted from ruminating on the contradictions of capitalism until a handyman or plumber could be found.
.....Pepped up on dialectical materialism and Lacanian psychoanalysis, such brainwork on the minutiae of social life is all in a day’s work for our Slovenian marvel. No stone is left untheorized. Indeed, as the man himself says, “life exists only insofar as I can theorize it” [6].
.....For what it’s worth, I have been to Professor Žižek’s homeland, and I must say that I had no trouble with the lavatories, and consequently did not spare them a thought beyond the perfunctory: perhaps this was a failure of imagination under the sufferance of false consciousness. Foreign food can do that to me, you know.

[1] Bulent Somay, “Is this it?” International Journal of Žižek Studies, Vol1:1, p.9.
[3] Bulent Somay, op.cit., p.14
[4] Ibid, p.10; original emphasis.
[5] Todd McGowan, “
Serious Theory”, ibid., p.65.
[6] Quoted by Robert Boynton “Enjoy Your Zizek: A profile of Slavoj Zizek”, Lingua Franca, October 1998, online at


James Higham said...

Fabulous post and I shall have linked to same before you could manage a hot flush.

Deogolwulf said...

Much too kind, Mr Higham. The New Year has also brought me a change for the better, namely, a change of desk. My venerable chiefs have seen fit to move me whither my activities are hard to see, which means I have a greater opportunity to concentrate on blogging. Smugness reigns, albeit with a light hand.

That said, those same chiefs have decided to "use my talents", that is to say, to give me more work. (They do pay me for that purpose after all.) Still, if the tasks they have set for me are not too onerous, I shall have time for scribbling.

D. C. Warmington said...

You're making this up. Aren't you? Please say you're making it up. I won't click on those links in case they're real.

Alfred Jarry died in 1902, I think it was, so he's probably not responsible.

dearieme said...

Heads you win....
I'm all right, jacks
Bogged down
At a loos end
Dunny mention it

James Higham said...

Ah, dear old dearieme. Pity he doesn't visit me. Deogolwulf, have the happiest of new years, sir.

Akaky said...

Being an ignorant Yank, should I know who or what a zizek is, and, what's more important, should I care? Will a zizek do something important, like unclog my toilet or shine my shoes, or do zizeks occupy the same moral and philosophical plane as mood rings and pet rocks, thereby forming part and parcel of that vast category of modern life, things that I would just as soon do without because they serve no apparent function?

Akaky said...

I see. Zizek is a philosopher. Well, that explains everything, doesnt it?

Deogolwulf said...

"I see. Zizek is a philosopher. Well, that explains everything, doesnt it?"

It certainly explains much, Akaky.