Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 17, 2015

In defence of fantasy: a further response to Slavoj Žižek

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 6:24 pm

If migrants are to live peacefully and happily in Europe, the demand should not be that they give up their fantasy of a better life, but that they cling to it for all its worth.

Source: In defence of fantasy: a further response to Slavoj Žižek

12 Comments »

  1. “As Žižek himself frequently argues, the primary pathology of the racist is to refuse to see the Jew or the Muslim or the Roma as a person, but to see them only as an embodiment of Jew-ness, Muslim-ness, Roma-ness. So what, then, are we to make of his statement that ‘Muslims find it impossible to bear our blasphemous images and reckless humour, which we consider a part of our freedoms’? Or when he approving quotes Yevgeny Grishkovetz, who writes that ‘they [migrants] have no idea of European values, lifestyles and traditions, multiculturalism or tolerance’? Or when he says of migrants that that ‘their way of life is incompatible with the ideological foundations of the Western welfare-state’? Isn’t the appeal to the national or cultural way of life as fundamentally constitutive of subjectivity one that’s generally made by fascists?”

    And Eurocentric racists, too, ones like Zizek, apparently. Years ago, I posted on this blog that one of Zizek’s failings was his tendency to pontificate about things that he only knew superficially, if at all. And that has lead him to a dark place. Just imagine if someone said this about Jews, or, to pick a less controversial alternative, Asians?

    Zizek is yet another example of respectable bigotry towards Muslims. There is a spot on Fox waiting for him. He will find it pretty easy to expand his stereotypes of Muslims to include undocumented immigrants from the Americas in the US as well.

    Comment by Richard Estes — November 18, 2015 @ 4:36 am

  2. Anyone who claims to identify a ‘Muslim’ type with specific aspirations and awareness or lack of them puts himself beyond reasonable discourse. Bear with me for some personal and anecdotal detail. I lived for years among Muslims in Turkey, some of them Kurds. In Bulgaria I got to know the persecuted Muslim minority. I was close to the Algerian community in Paris. On the west coast of Canada I mixed with Iranian exiles. There were Indonesians among my casual acquaintances. It would be insane for me to pretend there was a common outlook amongst these individuals. Thinking of Dublin friends and my southern Italian neighbors, I wouldn’t even be able to define a Catholic type.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 18, 2015 @ 7:18 pm

  3. I’m not a fan of Zizek, but the comment about Muslims being unable to bear our jokes, etc., while clumsy, does not strike me as being particularly bigoted. It’s an attempt at empathy. As a materialist, I reject the beliefs of all the Abrahamic religions with equal contempt, but I still have no desire to offend the religious merely for the sake of offending them. They are bound to be offended anyway–why push it?

    So many smart-asses–especially in venues like the supremely smart-ass, pointless, and (let’s admit it) fundamentally stupid Charlie Hebdo–feel otherwise.

    I would never want to kill a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, but–as heartily as I disapprove and as determined as I would be to prevent such an act if possible–I can understand why some people do. Maybe this is what Zizek was fumbling toward.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — November 18, 2015 @ 11:51 pm

  4. “but the comment about Muslims being unable to bear our jokes, etc., while clumsy, does not strike me as being particularly bigoted.”

    It strikes me as being from the same camp as all black people are lazy. Which is sometimes said in Europe. A soccer manager was sacked for saying such a thing.

    You can’t speak about the Charlie Hebdo insults of Islam without factoring in a history of racism in France and a history of colonial oppression. You simply can’t say the people who are insulted by these cartoons can’t take a joke. The affect is cumulative and involves other things than just a cartoon. Zizek is too privileged to understand this. He has as much understanding of the oppressed as Marie Antoinette had of the French peasants and the same contempt.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — November 19, 2015 @ 6:44 pm

  5. Here is what Zizek wrote originally:

    “fundamentalist Muslims find it impossible to bear our blasphemous images and reckless humor”

    Here is what Kriss calls a quote:

    “So what, then, are we to make of his [Zizek’s] statement that ‘Muslims find it impossible to bear our blasphemous images and reckless humour, which we consider a part of our freedoms’?”

    Is there then no difference between fundamentalist Muslims and non-fundamentalist ones for Kriss?

    (Ironic that he charges Zizek with illiteracy.)

    Comment by Todd — November 19, 2015 @ 7:10 pm

  6. “fundamentalist Muslims find it impossible to bear our blasphemous images and reckless humor”

    I like how he uses the words ‘our’ blasphemous images. Who is this our? The non Muslims? They are not my images or my humor. So who are they? Where is this community located? This is the language of the racist.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — November 19, 2015 @ 7:45 pm

  7. “You simply can’t say the people who are insulted by these cartoons can’t take a joke.”

    Nobody said that. You simply have no grasp of argumentation, evidence, or logic.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — November 19, 2015 @ 10:20 pm

  8. Do you really think that inclusiveness requires you to stand with someone who would just as soon shoot you as look at you, Simon, for you not to be considered a racist as well?

    Comment by Todd — November 20, 2015 @ 1:30 am

  9. “Do you really think that inclusiveness requires you to stand with someone who would just as soon shoot you as look at you, Simon, for you not to be considered a racist as well?”

    I think acknowledging that ‘our’ governments kill many more would be a start, and that to many in the world the West are biggest mass murderers on the planet. That doesn’t mean you don’t duck when someone shoots at you. This is the problem with a race war, it doesn’t really matter what side you are on, the fact you are one race of the other determines which side you are on!

    Pete Glosser – Bizarre reply. What evidence are you referring to? My basic argument against Zizek is that he is being too reductionist. And you can’t do that when discussing this issue. But Glosser, you are a tosser (I can rhyme).

    Comment by Simon Provertier — November 22, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

  10. Zizek’s new fans, white supremacists at UCLA:

    Comment by Richard Estes — November 22, 2015 @ 4:23 pm

  11. Zizek’s new fans, UCLA white supremacists:

    And, by the way, Peter Byrne explained it very concisely: “Anyone who claims to identify a ‘Muslim’ type with specific aspirations and awareness or lack of them puts himself beyond reasonable discourse.”

    This is precisely what is driving the post-Paris attacks response in Eastern Europe. Of course, Zizek can’t condemn it, because he has participated in the creation of the ideological foundation for it.

    Comment by Richard Estes — November 22, 2015 @ 4:34 pm

  12. Simon wrote:

    “This is the problem with a race war”

    Ah.

    Well, then, after that enlightening reply, I don’t think anything more needs to be said in your direction.

    Comment by Todd — November 22, 2015 @ 6:54 pm


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