Category Archives: Wagner

Pantomime Terror #music #politics

There’s a whole section on Wagner in this, and some humour. For the record… (you can order by clicking the cover to get to Zero then look for the sales tab lower right):

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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)….

Wagner notes

From SpiegelOnLine – by Dirk Kurbjuweit:

In German politics, this pathos [found in Heidegger, Schiller] ceased to be possible after Hitler, in contrast to the United States or France. Germans can still relish in the music of Wagner, as long as they take the position that the music is innocent or that they don’t care about the political context of art. Then it becomes an innocent pathos. This is one of the aspects of Germans’ enjoyment of Wagner.

old man Wagner, on deinem geburtstag (200th)

‘Wagner became involved in revolutionary activities against the royal family of Saxony. On Oct. 5, 1848 he was dismissed from the Dresden Hoftheater and he was imprisoned May 7-8, 1849 after taking part in an insurrection on the market square in Dresden that contained the Hotel Saxe (where Liszt stayed and performed) and the Frauenkirche.

When Wagner was able to escape Dresden, he went into exile for many years…’ From here.

Much else to say I am sure, but this is the highlight for me.