Oct 4, 2012
9 notes

Harman on Žižek

Well, fine. You can defend the correlational circle if you want (even Meillassoux ultimately does). But Žižek seems to be ignoring the fact that there’s been a detailed debate about this point in speculative realist circles. If he wants to be a relevant part of the debate within those circles, he ought to engage with what I’ve actually said about this point, especially in my book on Meillassoux with Edinburgh University Press (Žižek gave a very nice blurb for that book, so I know that he’s familiar with it). At present, in his lectures, he seems to be offering nothing but a cardboard version of my position. I regret this, because I really really like his books (and even more so his personality), and would like to be able to recognize myself somewhat when reading his critiques.

Harman got linked to an earlier post on my blog (yay!) and used it as a jumping off point for a discussion. I think what Žižek has shown is a familiarity with Meillassoux’s arguments, but not so much Harman’s. It would be nice for Žižek to go through Guerrilla Metaphysics and see what he walks away with. 

When the film grad student asked him about Meillassoux, Žižek lit up, and said to the audience that the question was a complicated one, but it was one that was important and that we should all be excited about. He was happy to get into a discussion about the arch fossil, and give words of praise to the writers that hover in a constellation around Meillassoux. Žižek could certainly take some of that enthusiasm and dive into the debates himself. Maybe he will.

Oct 1, 2012
14 notes

So Žižek was fantastic

He really was! Just on point, entertaining, insightful, dogmatic and still modest and congenial. Overall I imagine he would be a pretty good guest for dinner.

One thing: I ran into a fellow classmate from my Hegel and Marx course last Winter, and he seemed to be pretty happy with the talk, but said something I that gave me pause. With a wry smile suggesting that he knew more than everybody else, he said “They all take him so seriously.”

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Oh it’s all in the service of communism. He’s doing this to get the boring film studies professors on side [ed. note - I’m not sure that the boring film studies profs are the ones we need on-side for the revolution]. I like that. That’s why I always teach Sophocles and argue for him."

I kinda frowned and said “uh, well…” but he was leaving the theatre so I shook his hand and said good night, suggesting a meet-up at some point whenever I find myself at York.

Like I really respect this guy, he’s an activist and an organizer himself. He really practices what he preaches, and isn’t some kind of vulgar vanguardist. But it’s this kind of knowing that I totally hate in academics, especially when we assume that the writings of academics are really just sophist ploys to trick us into doing what’s best for all us.

That doesn’t mean I am totally against sophism! I came out pretty on-side with Malcolm Harris’ use of twitter as a platform to twist truths to impact outcomes. We can’t sit on a high horse and say that truth is on our side. That’s foolish and a dead end.

But I also believe in taking positions and being honest about them. I don’t think Žižek is engaging in some kind of rhetorical strategy to convince the masses of things we aren’t capable of understanding like a “good Stalinist”. I was reminded of this tweet I saw Zizek_ebooks spit out last month:

'He's a funny provocateur,' they say. 'He just likes to provoke.' I don't provoke. I'm very naive; I mean what I say. Fuck you.

He means what he says. Take the man seriously rather than smirk and think you are in on some kind of secret. 

Sep 27, 2012
4 notes

I’m missing Nuit Blanche this year totally by accident

I thought it was in October so now I’m missing the Zizek talk at 1am. 

I DO however have tickets to The Perverts Guide to Ideology (finally) his accompanying talk (finally) on Monday. 

And thus I will hopefully get to see one of the world’s best philosophers ramble for about half an hour and hear some poorly worded questions. 

But I’m mostly sad about missing Nuit Blanche (oddly enough). 

Sep 17, 2012
24 notes
My personal experience is that practically all of the “radical” academics silently count on the long-term stability of the American capitalist model, with the secure tenured position as their ultimate professional goal (a surprising number of them even play on the stock market). If there is a thing they are gen­uinely horrified of, it is a radical shattering of the (relatively) safe life environ­ment of the “symbolic classes” in the developed Western societies. Their exces­sive Politically Correct zeal when dealing with sexism, racism, Third World sweatshops, etc., is thus ultimately a defense against their own innermost identi­fication, a kind of compulsive ritual whose hidden logic is: “Let’s talk as much as possible about the necessity of a radical change to make sure that nothing will really change!
Slavoj Zizek - The Prospects of Radical Politics Today (via)
May 8, 2012
89 notes

Žižek the Authoritarian (?)

A fantastic response to Ari Kohen’s opinion of Žižek. I argued with him before about his dismissal of such a powerful thinker, and I don’t really think he listened. This is a much better point by point engagement that addresses out how I feel about those who just dismiss philosophers out of hand just because they disagree with them. In Kohen’s case, it seems that he dismisses Žižek because he thinks Žižek’s theories of revolution and violence are dangerous, which, if you think about it, means Kohen should want to engage more, not less. But he doesn’t, and instead just reads the back of a book cover.

(Source: kohenari)

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Nonstop Maoist hymns, patriotic power ballads & shrill exhortations at all hours. Toronto-based PhD Student in Communication & Culture @ Ryerson/York.

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