Žižek’s redemption

I have a big section on Žižek on Wagner in the Panto book. This, however, is another squib that has not made the final cut:

As we know, Žižek  often works by way of cinema examples, and by way of ironically and politically incorrect and sometimes allegedly ‘obscene’ moves which are the only way to expose the weak, self- serving self-deceptions of those that betrayed the end game of Star Wars, the impossible resolution of the Matrix, and the traumatic unconsummated assault on Laura in Wild at Heart. A fantastic overabundance of filmic image examples illustrate Žižek’s books – Woody Allen; Rashomon; Heidegger in the forest writing greetings to Argentina; Trotsky defended as in a courtroom drama; Kurtz up-river; Jesus and drug-induced religious experience; Minority Reports; Obi-Wan; broken eggs and demonic chickens; Marilyn Monroe with Humphrey Bogart ….

I do not at all mind if Žižek spends too long in the movie house, or that he is ironic, contradictory, precious, obscure or bitchy at times – often all at the same time. But I do mind when his endearing idiosyncrasies provide an alibi for less contradictory, more precious, wilfully ignorant obscure and boring bitchiness on the part of minor acolytes and when his ‘explanations’ amount to a subterfuge that deflects attention from a more urgent organisational politics. To say this is of course to demonstrate my own implication here and what is lacking is that I do not now immediately, and in a ten point programme, make some serious points in the end about, of all things, what I think is wrong with Žižek’s answer to the question of: ‘what is to be done?’

Žižek himself has done more of late than many to return the proper names of the revolutionary tradition to mainstream discussion, with texts on Lenin, Stalin, and his championing of Badiou’s Maoism. I prefer this roll call of communist thinkers to that other popular fat book which rescued such names from apparent obscurity – Hardt and Negri’s Empire (2000) – since in that book the tone was far more dismissive. Žižek however has done much to redeem serious discussion of revolutionary thinkers, even as he is too sympathetic to Empire whose authors he neologises as “HN” (giving credence to their pretension to be the new M&E for the 21st Century – as inaugurated in Žižek’s cover blurb for their far too thick book)….

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