Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 18, 2013

A pervert’s guide to Zizek

Filed under: philosophy,popular culture,postmodernism — louisproyect @ 3:12 pm

Counterpunch Weekend Edition October 18-20, 2013
Elvis is on the Screen!
A Pervert’s Guide to Zizek
by LOUIS PROYECT

Full disclosure: I have written at least ten critiques of Slavoj Zizek over the years so I approached the new documentary “A Pervert’s Guide to Ideology” with some skepticism. Despite this, I found much of it entertaining and even a little enlightening. At two hours and thirty minutes, however, it begins to lose its charm especially since the film is essentially one long lecture by the man called the Elvis of cultural theory. As is the case with all super-stars, critical self-reflection goes by the wayside when adoring fans surround you all the time telling you how great you are. It probably never entered the mind of director Sophie Fiennes (sister to actor Ralph) that the film was a half-hour too long and least of all that of the Slovenian Elvis himself.

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/18/a-perverts-guide-to-zizek/

14 Comments »

  1. I took a Columbia film course called “Ideology in Film,” which I understood imperfectly at the time, although it cemented my understanding of why I take exception to so many films, but which has informed and guided my enjoyment of film ever since.

    Comment by Geoff — October 18, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

  2. Louis wrote:

    “Despite this, I found much of it . . . even a little enlightening.”

    Wow!

    Hello, Ripley’s . . . ??!!

    Comment by Todd — October 18, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

  3. Whatever you might think of Zizek, Louis, he has had a profound impact in terms of influencing academia that it’s okay to talk about Marx again. Whether it’s pop or not, he’s knocking down a few doors that need to be knocked down. If he gets his financial due, well… whatever. Zizek has written some good, hard philosophy. He repeats himself, but there’s a premium on good ideas, and he’s had a few.

    What I mean to say here is that if it weren’t for Zizek I wouldn’t be reading you.

    Comment by Balaton Fleet Commander — October 18, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

  4. Superstar “Marxist” philosophers… capitalism continues to go to further lengths. If his work was being made relevant to the proletariat that would be something. I’d be just as happy for discussion of Marx to stay out of academia. The universities are of course the laboratories of bourgeois thought, and as Paul Mattick Sr foresaw, “Marxism” is now becoming the “last refuge of the bourgeoisie.”

    Comment by Steve Oh — October 19, 2013 @ 7:34 am

  5. Steve wrote:

    “I’d be just as happy for discussion of Marx to stay out of academia.”

    It’s really . . . worrisome to hear a supposed Marxist make this sort of anti-intellectual statement.

    Comment by Todd — October 20, 2013 @ 12:01 am

  6. Really? Wonder how you felt when you read Marx and Engels write exactly that repeatedly…

    Comment by Steve Oh — October 20, 2013 @ 4:35 am

  7. Marx had plenty of contempt for bourgeois academicians, but to take from that that Marxism is some kind of anti-intellectual and anti-intellectualizing movement is absurd.

    Comment by Todd — October 20, 2013 @ 4:38 am

  8. Reblogged this on Hello.Lenin! and commented:
    I used to read Zizek a lot back in college but now recognize him for what he is – a poser and an apologist for the imperialist order. Indeed, Zizek can be credited for bringing back some interest in Marx, Lenin, and Stalin in the academe. But what kind of Marxism? What kind of Leninism? Literally the kind that lull you to sleep with defeatist and reformist delusions!

    Comment by Karlo Mongaya — October 20, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

  9. “Marx had plenty of contempt for bourgeois academicians, but to take from that that Marxism is some kind of anti-intellectual and anti-intellectualizing movement is absurd.”

    Who said anything like that here?

    A previous commenter praised Zizek for “making it okay to talk about Marx in academia.” I pointed out that this is meaningless vis a vis the struggle to move beyond capitalism–if he made it something that workers wanted to talk about that would be something.

    “Literally the kind that lull you to sleep with defeatist and reformist delusions!”

    That’s the kind academia likes best, which is why it’s a great fit.

    Comment by Steve Oh — October 20, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

  10. Steve wrote:

    “Who said anything like that here?”

    You did by writing “I’d be just as happy for discussion of Marx to stay out of academia” as if discussion of Marx would give him bourgeois cooties or something.

    “if he [Zizek] made it [Marxism?] something that workers wanted to talk about that would be something.”

    There are workers who do talk about this kind of stuff (albeit not enough of them do), but I can’t see how it’s somehow Zizek’s fault if there are workers who don’t find his stuff interesting enough to talk about. There have been workers who haven’t talked about Marxism since long before Zizek was born.

    And I’d really like to see what you (and Karlo) mean by the “defeatist and reformist” stuff in Zizek.

    Comment by Todd — October 21, 2013 @ 2:34 am

  11. “Marx had plenty of contempt for bourgeois academicians”…………though it is too often forgotten that he himself was one!

    Comment by The Man with no Name — October 22, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

  12. If he had been a bourgeois academician, he would’ve been employed by a university, busy counting the number of angels on the heads of pins or some other such important task; he wouldn’t have bothered to write what he did.

    If you’re talking about his social background, then, yes: he was the son of a bourgeois. So?

    Comment by Todd — October 22, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

  13. Considering all that is out there, I enjoy reading Zizek. I enjoy that a marxist gets so much celebrity.. and so I tend to overlook much…and is my advice here.

    Comment by Scott Edwards — October 22, 2013 @ 11:57 pm

  14. Zizek did better in awakening the youth with profound observations, than the emotional diatribe and pseudo-intellectual ‘smarter-than-you’ spiel that youth leaders spout like a broken record. I think the fact that Zizek entered the mainstream for his simple yet provocative insight irked some of those self-proclaimed ‘genuine’ communists whose world view is warped around the freedom-fighter/revolutionary mindset. all the while, forgetting that they themselves benefit from the capitalist structure.

    Comment by slavoj — November 17, 2013 @ 4:39 pm


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