Thoughts on Slavoj Žižek?

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BloodsoakedNecropolis's picture
Joined: 12-03-18
Mar 12 2018 15:00
Thoughts on Slavoj Žižek?

He's famous, he's infamous, and he's been everywhere and said near everything. It's Slavoj Žižek himself.

What do you think of mr. "Tulips are Obscene"?

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Joined: 4-11-09
Mar 12 2018 19:25

I posted one of his early pieces, a 1977 critique of Stalinism, in the libcom library here:
(also another article, from 1983, attached as pdf. Both are in French)

It's really also a critique/attack on Marxism itself ("productivism").

Here's a discussion where I argue against Zizek's idealist philosophy, back in 2010:

Another critique (by an anarchist/Deleuzian, but nevertheless makes some good points), by Andrew Robsinon:

One of the earliest misgivings that came up to me was about Zizek's misreading of Merleau-Ponty, which he still repeats in his recent book (Less than nothing):

Zizek wrote:
In what is arguably the most intelligent legitimization of Stalinist terror, Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Humanism and Terror from 1946, the terror is justified as a kind of wager on the future, almost in the mode of Pascal: if the final result of today's horror turns out to be a bright communist future, then this outcome will retroactively redeem the terrible things a revolutionary has to do today.

Anyone can now read online the English translation and see if the above is an accurate depiction of Merleau-Ponty's Humanism and Terror: An Essay on the Communist Problem.

Joined: 4-11-07
Mar 12 2018 19:53
BloodsoakedNecropolis wrote:
do you think of mr. "Tulips are Obscene"?

i'd rather not

Reddebrek's picture
Joined: 4-01-12
Mar 13 2018 22:06

Never really been a fan. I discovered him as a talking head on a bunch of documentaries by the BBC, one was about Robespierre and the terror. He seemed a bit odd but that's no crime in my book.

Then I saw some interviews and lecture snippets, including one where he talks about Lacan's idea that you can be pathological while still being correct. He then proceeded to give an example of this and chose the Holocaust.... specifically Jews were bankers and capitalists and some of them probably did seduce German women.

So not really to interested in following his TV career much after stuff like.

I bought a bunch of books put out by Verso that were collections of speeches, letters and essays by 19th & 20th century revolutionary personalities. Introduced by someone else, all the introductions he did were easily the worst, they were very long, but had very little to do with giving any background or context to the author and the collections. Its seemed to be that the subject of some of them touched on a topic he had written about, so he used the opportunity to shift into talking about that and I don't know try and recruit people who were interested in the French Revolution.

Comradely Greetings the published correspondence between him and a member of Pussy Riot in a Russian prison was interesting though. But even then I was more interested in her letters and not his.

After all that I've basically been tuning him out, the last time I encountered him in a big way was Mark Fishers quotations and citations in Capitalist Realism. One really stood out to me, he was describing Lacan's Big other concept, and chose for an example the outbreak of anti Soviet Union violence after Khrushchev's secret speech. I'm going to assume Zizek was accurately describing Lacan's concept, but what stood out to me was that the situation didn't happen as Zizek described nor could his explanation for it be credible.

boozemonarchy's picture
Joined: 28-12-06
Mar 13 2018 23:37

What do you think of mr. "Tulips are Obscene"?


Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Joined: 4-11-09
Apr 8 2018 21:08

Another example of Zizek's bullshit (like his Stalinist mutant ape army story), this from The Pervert's Guide to Cinema (2006):

"The producers of King Kong visited the Soviet Union just before shooting the film, in the late 20s, and they were showing the modernist plans for the new Palace of Soviets. High tower, on the top of it, gigantic statue of Lenin. And they said, wait a minute, if we replace Lenin with the big ape, we have it. So, paradoxically, the origin of one of the exemplary, iconic, images of Hollywood — King Kong, ape on the top of the Empire State Building — is Soviet communism."

This was no doubt inspired by reading Susan Buck-Morss's Dreamworld and Catastrophe (2002), where she makes the comparison, but rules out such influence of the planned Lenin statue on the makers of King Kong.