Is this the secret to Žižek?

In the rather obnoxious town of Ljubljana in Slovenia – from where Žižek hails – one finds eventually finds the university. This is the institution where he has spent most of his working life. Before the main building you may notice a circle of old men, or rather their busts:



I presume they are the university’s former luminaries. Along with their buddies, they are gazing intently at something in the middle:



Yes, they are simply leching away at  a naked young woman, probably sharing a smutty joke or two:

2013 June 202a (Slovenia)a

Is this perhaps the secret to Žižek’s modes of thought?



Žižek’s whimpering bang?

As a philosopher Zizek is the very last whimper of that bang called “the West” …

From Mr Alan Jazeera’s news service, although it does make you wonder what Mr Dabashi is doing at Columbia.

Update: I thought I’d reprise a couple of images from the ever-popular post, Why don’t they sell beano in Australia?

Žižek: is the old liberal showing his colours once again?

Back in the 1980s, Žižek was a member of the liberal opposition in the Slovenian part of Yugoslavia, pushing hard for the break-up of the country and even running for the presidency. Every now and then those old political colours show themselves once again, as in this recent interview with Al Jazeera:

I claim if we do nothing we will gradually approach a kind of a new type of authoritarian society. Here I see the world historical importance of what is happening today in China. Until now there was one good argument for capitalism: sooner or later it brought a demand for democracy…

What I’m afraid of is with this capitalism with Asian values, we get a capitalism much more efficient and dynamic than our western capitalism. But I don’t share the hope of my liberal friends – give them ten years, [and there will be] another Tiananmen Square demonstration – no, the marriage between capitalism and democracy is over.

This little piece of bluster is interesting on at least two counts. First, it gives voice to a rather unsubtle Eurocentric nostalgia and arrogance over against Asia. At least, ‘we’ knew how to shape a capitalism that had democracy, but those unsophisticated Asians simply don’t know how to be so clever. Second, it reminds one of a statement from Richard Dawkins a little while back:

Given that Islam is an unmitigated evil … should we be supporting Christian missions in Africa? … Could our enemy’s enemy be our friend?

Translated into Žižekese:

Given that capitalism with Asian values is an unmitigated evil … should we be supporting anglo-saxon neoliberalism? … Could our enemy’s enemy be our friend?

A return of the old liberal? To be fair, Žižek  also said:

I think today the world is asking for a real alternative. Would you like to live in a world where the only alternative is either anglo-saxon neoliberalism or Chinese-Singaporean capitalism with Asian values?

The problem, my dear Slavoj, is that your belated effort to promote a communism with Žižekian values is a bit rich, especially in light of your earlier political efforts.

$20 to listen to Žižek on communism?

Is it not vaguely obscene to be asked to cough up $20 to go and listen to Žižek at the Sydney Opera House trying to ‘renovate communism’? And this from a liberal opponent, back in the 80s, of the socialist government in Yugoslovia.

Reminds me of a backhanded compliment from Badiou:

Let me begin by refuting, as I usually do, your reputation as a showman and a conceptual poseur – a very French misrepresentation (but let’s not worry that they said the same thing about our master Lacan).

Is Eastern Greece really the source of Western philosophy?

This one has always bugged me, ever since I studied classical Greek, Latin and philosophy. How come Greece is the source of Western thought? It is a narrative assumed and reiterated in a way that suggests a trauma: Greece is not of the West and the path from one to the other is decidedly rocky, if there is a path at all. Even people who should know better, such as Badiou and Butler, assume this narrative, and only Negri has questioned it by mentioning the history-defying immediacy of philosophical debates (Plato vs Aristotle could be happening side by side with Zizek vs Butler). But, last time I looked Greece is Eastern Europe, the language of the Eastern Roman Empire was Greek, and if you bother to attend a church that owes its origins to Greece, it will be Eastern Orthodox.