April 16, 2004

INTRODUCTION TO THE DESERT OF THE REAL

Zizek: 'In some "radical" circles in the US, there came recently a proposal to "rethink" the rights of necrophiliacs (those who desire to have sex with dead bodies) why should they be deprived of it? So the idea was formulated that, in the same way people sign permission for their organs to be used for medical purposes in the case of their sudden death, one should also allow them to sign the permission for their bodies to be given to necrophiliacs to play with them.'

The thing about Zizek is that you have to love his writing, even if you disagree with it, even if, in fact, you find very little to agree with in it. He might just be the model academic in that he elucidates the otherwise impenetrable idiolect of abstruse theory by using the vernacular of Pop cult allusion, and he makes it seems as if the two were made for one another. The one thought that never occurs when you read Zizek is: what's the point of Theory? Zizek shows that everything - from the smallest Popcult trifle to the gravest Geopolitical catastrophe - is saturated with Theory, can only be opened up by Theory.

Any way, you can read lots of Zizek at lacan dot com. I'd particularly recommend his two essays on Iraq (you can get to these straight off the front page) and some of his contributions to the online journal, Symptom, especially Passion in the Era of Decaffeinated Belief and Welcome to the Desert of the Real.

The best introduction to Zizek is Zizek's own writing. But if you want something by someone else, try this.

Posted by mark at April 16, 2004 12:58 PM | TrackBack
Comments

i really really enjoyed his Iraqi essays, but talk about taking an intellectual to state the bloomin' obvious, from the 'McGuffin' piece:

ordinary Iraqis will probably PROFIT from the defeat of the Saddam regime with regard to their standard of living and religious and other freedoms

it's just possible, in the long run, eh.

Posted by: scott at April 16, 2004 08:26 PM

Zizek catches up with Stewart Home's Necrocards about 7 years after the event, but fails to see any of the humour in it? LMFAO!

Posted by: john eden at April 17, 2004 12:18 AM

I love Zizek, but his pop culture knowledge is actually very patchy and he can come up with some real clangers--eg he has cited Spielberg as the director of the Star Wars trilogy (incredible among other things that not a single editor at Verso picked this up!), and in the course of a discussion of slash fiction it became apparent that he didn't realise fanfiction was a written genre, he thought the writers were actually making new episodes of the shows.

Posted by: Angus at April 17, 2004 12:31 AM

Lacan.com special prize for the first of the theory-blogger-massive to apply the conceptual schema of the 'chocolate laxative' rigorously and inventively in a new context.

Posted by: undercurrent at April 17, 2004 01:07 PM

Yeah, I reckon Zizek has been exposed to some of Stewpot's Yank mates and has been conned into thinking it's a serious proposition.

Which of course it is.

They'll be worth a fortuhne in a few years, those necrocards.

Anyway, never trust a cultural theorist who can't mix.

Posted by: paul "I've fallen" meme at April 17, 2004 04:07 PM

i used to be astructuralist but now i'm not saussure

Posted by: mms at April 17, 2004 06:23 PM

Don't talk about things you know Foucault about

Posted by: gary at April 19, 2004 11:29 AM

Guattari will get you everywhere.

Posted by: undercurrent at April 19, 2004 09:14 PM

I love Zizek more than just about any other theorist but it's true that he's on firmer footing with old sayings and fairy tales (eg. emperor's new clothes) than with actual honest to goodness pop culture.

He is great though, so unashamedly in love with being a smart alec *and* class clown - a lot of the time I mentally insert a little mark s style "DO YOU SEE?!?!?!" into his paragraphs.

Posted by: Tim Finney at April 20, 2004 03:01 AM

Slavoj is great, but Alain Badiou is the (Lacanian)Real deal -- he isn't into pop culture tho, so he'll never be a darling of the, um, "Essex theory"(ha ha) school

Posted by: gary at April 20, 2004 10:51 AM

I disagree; I think his knowledge of pop culture is more than sufficient. So, he makes the odd howler, that endears him to me even more! Badiou, I haven't really read, but what I have doesn't open up Lacan in the way that Zizek does.

Posted by: mark k-punk at April 20, 2004 11:10 AM

Badiou is hyperdub's boy isn't he?

Big on whippets.

What's Essex theory then? Which part of the county's it from? I'm guessing Chigwell cos of the gangster element, but it could be Becontree.

Lot of structuralists in Becontree. Not a lot of people know that.

Posted by: paul "Essex boy" meme at April 20, 2004 04:09 PM