Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Slavoj Zizek. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Slavoj Zizek. Sort by date Show all posts

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