Tagged: Slavoj Žižek

Jouissance envy

Slavoj Žižek on the mentality of members of the religiously and culturally aggrieved:

What they obviously lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the US: the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the non-believers’ way of life. If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe they have found their way to Truth, why should they feel threatened by non-believers, why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued, fascinated, by the sinful life of the non-believers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation.

In other words, the “pseudo-fundamentalist” envies the enjoyment of the Other.

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(Image: Markus Schreiber/AP)

Using your mouth like a fist

The only Marxist opinion worthy of consideration is that of Žižek. There’s no jouissance in the anarcho-syndicalism of Chomsky.

The Ridley Scott film “Exodus” is already generating ire for failing to be a factual representation of the mythology surrounding Moses.

Realism for its own sake is the destruction of imagination.

After portraying the Batman, the role of Moses is a definite come down for Christian Bale.

It is more than a bit narcissistic to believe “Big Brother is watching YOU” in particular. But such narcissism is functional for the conspiracy theory set.

Houses of the holy

An ironic disposition frees a lot of otherwise restricted cultural detritus for legitimate aesthetic appropriation. Which is why it is good to be ironic in an age of mechanical intersectionality.

We have the largest, most influential hipster scene in world history.

Rich cocaleros love Evo.

Capital captured politics long before wikileaks, Slavoj. If you’d stopped watching Hitchcock films for a little while, you’d have noticed it.

Americans’ romance with gun violence never ceases to amaze.

The one

Slavoj Žižek has been accused of plagiarism. He enjoyed someone else’s symptom.

States’ rights red state governors shouldn’t beg for federal assistance.

“The Good Wife” is passé now. All praise to the red-headed Wildling.

It is very likely the Pope will present the cup to Messi in Brazil; then abdicate in favor of Messi.

China never had root until Snowden’s consultation.

Occupy Wall Street redux: Žižek and the occupations

26 October 2011

Responding to Slavoj Žižek:

Z: What to do after the occupations of Wall Street and beyond – the protests that started far away, reached the centre and are now, reinforced, rolling back around the world? One of the great dangers the protesters face is that they will fall in love with themselves. In a San Francisco echo of the Wall Street occupation this week, a man addressed the crowd with an invitation to participate as if it was a happening in the hippy style of the 60s: “They are asking us what is our programme. We have no programme. We are here to have a good time.”

Half correct. Yes, the occupy movement should avoid a narcissistic turn and it hasn’t made such a turn yet (aside from representations made by David Graeber). However, the SF hippies who wore flowers in their hair were not simply having a good time. They conceived of a counter-culture, a new lifestyle, a new way of habitating, a new (well old) way of subsistence (back to the land). Some lived it, some sold it, others bought it: environmentalism, green tech, organic foods, etc. are remnants and monuments of the counter-culture. The occupations haven’t reached the point of articulating a new vision of culture aside from their political culture (participation, consensus, etc.).

Z: In a kind of Hegelian triad, the western left has come full circle: after abandoning the so-called “class struggle essentialism” for the plurality of anti-racist, feminist, and other struggles, capitalism is now clearly re-emerging as the name of the problem. So the first lesson to be taken is: do not blame people and their attitudes. The problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt. The solution is not “Main Street, not Wall Street”, but to change the system where Main Street cannot function without Wall Street.

Historical materialism once more? A dialectical movement of Economy-Culture-Economy (E-C-E) as opposed to Culture-Economy-Culture (C-E-C). Is Žižek’s model a use value or exchange value? But to the point: why privilege capitalism as the objective synthesis? Capitalism is as much a culture as it is a mode/means of production. Wall Street is a metaphor, a signifier, of a cultural practice, not simply an institution of commodity fetishism. It presents a form of knowledge about the production and distribution of wealth. Let’s dispense with the dialectic and look more closely at horizontal and vertical networks of power: status, money, knowledge. This is what the occupiers, as indigenous theoreticians, must untangle. Forget the romantic idea of a people’s capitalism.

Z: The protesters should beware not only of enemies, but also of false friends who pretend to support them but are already working hard to dilute the protest. In the same way we get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, ice-cream without fat, those in power will try to make the protests into a harmless moralistic gesture.

Ideological purity, really? The protesters should use the resources and legitimacy of whatever partners they find. Coalition should replace consensus as a political model. Insofar as it is a movement, the occupation should be a movement for the Many, not simply for the One (which is what the occupation “Assemblies” presuppose and aim for).

Z: Yes, the protests did create a vacuum – a vacuum in the field of hegemonic ideology, and time is needed to fill this vacuum in a proper way, as it is a pregnant vacuum, an opening for the truly new.

This is a premature judgment, just the sort of self-congratulatory statement he warned about earlier. Capitalism remains the hegemonic ideology insofar as no one has yet argued it should be replaced; at most the demand is to democratize the systems of the generation and distribution of wealth.

Finally: “What one should always bear in mind is that any debate here and now necessarily remains a debate on enemy’s turf; time is needed to deploy the new content.” As cold weather approaches in occupied zones in the northern hemisphere, the time is for organizing and institutionalizing the movement; otherwise “the phrase” could exceed the occupation’s objective conditions of possibility.

Fodderstompf

I’d like to believe it is possible to oppose military intervention in Syria and for that opposition to be grounded in arguments that are based in reality. One either believes the evidence and agrees with the mission or one doesn’t. The rest is emotional detritus. We can spend decades litigating US foreign policy. I happen to think the use of chemical weapons has to be addressed.

The quality of the debate would be elevated if US journalists would take the matter seriously rather than merely calculating the odds of domestic political gain and loss. At this point, they’ve shown themselves to be a rather sad lot. It’s as if sports journalism has taken over the front page.

Is Žižek’s jouissance our own?

Something like this happened in The Wire.

The Apple model will be design forward. This looks like a clunky Swatch knock off.

Whenever I see a Glenn Greenwald piece, I think of Geraldo Rivera.