I'm a philosophy student that tends to post about really serious things unseriously and about really unserious things seriously.
I was once described as a "beautiful, intelligent iguana".
Again, meh. YOU contribute more constructively than Zizek. Jesus Christ, asking the right questions about tensions between concrete policy and utopian politics? WHAT SERIOUS MARXIST DO THAT AT THIS POINT. So grats for not being entirely useless, Z :)What serious Marxists don’t* do that at this point***
OK YEAH FAIR POINT also YOU’RE TOO KIND but I’LL TAKE “[HE’S] NOT… ENTIRELY USELESS”Also, I’ve never been able to look past his ahistorical crap.
WE WILL DISCUSS THIS WHEN I AM SOBERAgreed. BUT FOUCAULT AND DELEUZE DID IT FIRST THEY ARE LIKE THE HIPSTERS OF PHILOSOPHY/PUBLIC INTELLECTUALISM: libcom.org/library…
ok i’m reading this now BUT UGH DELEUZE AND FOUCAULT DID LIKE EVERYTHING COOL FIRST THIS ISN’T FAIR
Also from bbthity:
MEH. Still not impressed with Zizek at. all. What questions is he even asking that are sooo intellectually-framed and incisive? lloollolololl no
So, I’m going to be short with this, because I’m at work so I don’t have any Zizek books or anything I can really refer to directly. Also, under a cut because, lulz, who really cares.
I think one thing that Zizek does as a Marxist that is enough to vindicate him as a Marxist thinker generally is that he doesn’t try to dismiss the failures of Maoism and Stalinism as historical failures, or misguided attempts that weren’t ‘real communism’: instead, he takes these as full features present within Marxism, something that can’t just be thrown away or disregarded as being inauthentic to some true Marxism, and actually works through them to come around to a Marxist theory that carefully works through those texts. That sentence was garbled, but basically, I commend that he doesn’t try to throw away historical instances of Marxism as inauthentic, but actually works with them. (This is why I don’t get your claim, bbthity, that he’s ahistorical. Like, I’ve seen few philosophers recently that are as rigorously historic as he is.)
Secondly, I think his insistence that political resistance is done best within the constraints of any given system we’re enmeshed in, instead of somehow trying to get outside of that system is refreshing. A proper political act is one that takes the system more seriously than it takes itself (because there’s always a gap between the stated boundaries of the law, and its actual practice) and thus undermines the essential gap that lies at the heart at any system.
Though I can’t speak on whether or not these ideas have their historical legacy in D&G or in Derrida, because I basically haven’t read any of their works, from what I’ve read in philosophy thus far, these ideas are really refreshing and feel really ‘new’. Also, his engagements with Heidegger’s Nazism and Foucault’s relationship to the Iranian revolution are some of the best instances of political philosophy I’ve seen.
Further - and I don’t know how much this part applies to you - his interpretations of Hegel are wonderful. By insisting that Hegel isn’t some teleological thinker, some madman obsessed with the idea of the ‘Absolute’, he’s reinvigorated Hegel as a thinker for the 21st century. Also, by combining him with Lacan, he seems to come up with a theoretical edifice that’s able to engage with most philosophical problems (to be more concrete though, Zizek doesn’t just work on the axis Lacan-Hegel: as Adrian Johnston’s argued (and I agree with him), the true base for Z.’s though is the chain Kant-Schelling-Hegel, bounded together (invisibly) by the presence of Lacan). So from the perspective of being interested in those thinkers, he’s a wonderful person to read (even if some of his ideas on Hegel might be equally mirrored by Fredric Jameson from what I’ve been able to gather from him).
Finally - and this also comes from Andrian Johnston’s work - Zizek’s “Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity” is enough to make Zizek worthwhile in his own right. Cutting between a lot of the theories I’ve seen regarding the ontological status of subjectivity - that is, between some sort of transcendental subject that rises above his material conditions, and the exact opposite of a subject entirely composed of this material element but lacking in any actual transcendental properties - Zizek posits that the subject as such is ontogentically produced from material sources, but that the subjectivity that gets produced in this way can’t be reduced to those material origins (hence the ‘transcendental’ part). Due to this fact, the subject can’t encounter the Real of objects - not because they can only be encountered in consciousness*, or because of some epistemological problem, but because the Real is the fundamental symptom (the sinthome) of subjectivity as such. It’s absolutely traumatizing to encounter the Real of our material bases. As such, the subject retroactively creates a ‘fantasy’ that they live in so as to avoid any confrontation with the Real - and for him, this is the ontological status of subjectivity as such.
There’s a lot more to that point, that that gives it enough attention for here.
So yeah, basically Zizek is pretty awesome as far as I’m concerned.
*This is why I think Zizek is fundamentally a realist. Though he may talk like an idealist - I mean, his hero is Hegel - because he extends being to material products that produce subjectivity, exist outside our subjectivity, that still exist regardless of our existence, he’s fundamentally a realist, despite what a lot of commentators have said about him.