When even the Telegraph gushes over a Marxist philosopher, you know he's finally attained social utopia. Slavoj Zizek is everywhere, with his radical (or is it radically bemusing?) ideas. The end justifies the means; why have a messy proletarian revolution when book sales will get you there instead?
The limelight in the theatre of Western free-thought is the best place to be, if you want to make a career out of attacking the theatre of Western free-thought. As a BBC interviewer recently pointed out to him, Zizek is the quintessential product of the very liberalism he criticises.
Good luck to him. He's entertaining - if only for being so utterly weird - but I cannot for the life of me work out what he's actually advocating. In the various interviews and conference videos I've watched he relentlessly insists on communism... while insisting that communism was perhaps the worst thing to befall humanity in the entirety of its history. His rhetorical trick is to plug a nebulous bauble called "the idea of communism" - as opposed to the thing itself. By which he reveals himself as an utterly conventional Old Utopian.
Perhaps it's all down to his avowed Lacanism, which (from what I can work out) basically requires you to insist everything actually means the opposite of what you think it means. (Apart from Lacanism, presumably.) It's all very confusing, because Communism surely sees itself as a positively-defined idea; a prescription for the Good Life. Yet Zizek says: "I despise the kind of book which tells you how to live, how to make yourself happy!" So he wants individualism, then? Or... what? It appears that the culture he requires - in order to even exist himself - is the very culture he accuses of being the root cause of our intellectual "crisis".
In the end, it's just plain old Catastrophism - a great way to sell books and get top billing at radical academic conferences. Yes, I admit the title of my own website is hardly optimistic. The difference is: I'm trying to defend something from within (the European idea of free thought), whilst the free-thinking European Zizek is telling you - from within - that it's all just a lie.
That's what an intellectual crisis looks like - to me. (But if anyone can give a coherent summary of what it is he stands for, I'll take it all back.)
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