Friday, December 02, 2005

Slavoj Zizek

(I shall probably rewrite this post completely, when I have more time.)

Update: I heard him interviewed France Inter on Thursday. This is the same link as  before. (I should point out that these links may only be valid for one day.)  So, Zizek has another new book out in time for Christmas (last year's mentioned here). Actually, the book,'Bienvenue dans le désert du réel' , is a translation of one written in 2002 in the immediate aftermath of 11 September. I should think his English is better than his French, but as Julian Barnes has mentioned, when you have a book out in France, you do a tour of the TV and radio studios.

Seriously though, here are some of the themes he touched upon:

false choices;
Katrina / New Orleans and the Paris riots;
Traditional parents would say, "do this because I say so"; post-modern parents say, "do this because it will upset someone if you don't". In other words, they seek to control the vouloir, not just the devoir. [ I don't  know what he proposes, though. A return to the authoritarian model? ]

He was against the war (of course), but warns against the over-simplified analyses of some on the left. Saddam Hussein was a dreadful dictator, but he has not been put on trial for his worst crime, which was the war against Iran.

He defends Slovenia against criticism of it for pulling out of the Yugoslav federation, saying that it was evident what was coming (Croatia, Bosnia,Kosovo) and that Yugoslavia was doomed from the moment Milosevic took power.

He believes in Europe as more than a buffer between America and Asia, between a capitalism based on a US liberal model and a capitalism based on a Chinese authoritarian model, as a place where 'things can still happen.'
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Addendum: here is a quotation from the France Inter website:
Il [...] se déclare « anti-capitaliste convaincu » mais adore mettre la gauche européenne face à ses contradictions, ses impasses, ses illusions. [...] il parlera de la crise des banlieues, du référendum européen ou de ce qu’il appelle le « totalitarisme émotionnel ».

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