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Zizek on Charlie Rose
October 27, 2011 8:43 AM   Subscribe

"Never in my life did I dance or sing - the obscenity of gestures...I just cannot do it" - In a predictably outrageous interview, Slavoj Zizek goes on Charlie Rose and discusses Stalin, Zionism, Kung Fu Panda, Niels Bohr and Occupy Wall Street, among other things.
posted by beisny (47 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had no idea who this is, so here's the wikipedia link.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:46 AM on October 27, 2011


I love that man. He's insane.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:47 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone should watch his The Pervert's Guide to Cinema.
posted by hermitosis at 8:49 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was surprised this was the first time he was in Charlie Rose. Charlie Rose had much more obscure intellectuals in his show before.
posted by falameufilho at 8:59 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I wish I hadnt read that.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:02 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone should read his How to read Lacan.
posted by klue at 9:02 AM on October 27, 2011


Just starting to watch, but wonder if PBS executives were set a a-shuddering by the communist seal of approval?
posted by Abiezer at 9:03 AM on October 27, 2011


See, at first I was going to make a joking comment about how the interview was of little to no interest to me unless his discussion of Kung Fu Panda at the very least touched upon The Little Panda Fighter and Chop Kick Panda because ha ha!—those crummy knock-off movies!—and then it hit me that this is exactly the person I would love to hear hold forth on the concept of the mockbuster and I ended up preemptively disappointed that he almost certainly did not.
posted by Mothra Pisces at 9:06 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love the idea of Zizek just going to see every movie and scribbling in a notebook the entire time.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:07 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Philosophers do coke too. Huh, whaddayaknow.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:07 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Koong Foo Panda.
posted by phaedon at 9:08 AM on October 27, 2011


Philosophers do coke too. Huh, whaddayaknow.
Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he had a cold.
posted by beisny at 9:12 AM on October 27, 2011


Yes it was a humorous observation.

I'm loving this interview.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:19 AM on October 27, 2011


I'm a huge Zizek fan.
posted by ged at 9:27 AM on October 27, 2011


Just finished watching it. He's an entertaining guy. I disagree with him deeply on the rehabilitation of communism thing, and I think he's full of shit on Libya. I like the cultural commentary, though, even the part's I don't agree with.
posted by falameufilho at 9:30 AM on October 27, 2011


"We can well imagine the end of the earth.. asteroid hitting earth.. but we cannot imagine a small change in capitalism, no?"
posted by phaedon at 9:32 AM on October 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


Was going to complement that finishing flourish on the possible and impossible too, phaedon.
posted by Abiezer at 9:36 AM on October 27, 2011


Yeah, he said:

"Did you notice in what a strange way today the terms possible/impossible function? Like, if you speak about science, everything is becoming possible. You know, like, biogenetic cloning, we will be able to live forever, replace internal organs, blah blah blah, whatever you want, everything will be accessible to us through iphone and clouds, blah blah blah.. So here, everything is possible. But, when you say, let's raise the taxes and spend a little bit more money for health care? Impossible!"

I don't know a lot about Zizek but that was a refreshing interview, critical but hopeful, educated but not condescending.
posted by phaedon at 9:56 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you liked the interview, you might also enjoy this talk, where he is allowed to elaborate slightly more on some of his ideas.
posted by klue at 10:03 AM on October 27, 2011


As to Zizek on Lacan, I have a friend who is a Lacanian scholar who says he hates Zizek for the great disservice he's done Lacan. I read his How to Read Lacan and found it interesting, but very reductionist in its treatment. As for Zizek, I say one can almost smell his sweaters in video, but he is entertaining and certainly a great thinker and commentator.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 10:37 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great interview.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:46 AM on October 27, 2011


It's almost Freudian, how much blow Zizek does.
posted by bxyldy at 10:49 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suppose How to read Lacan is meant for the 99% (intellectually speaking), so it's hardly surprising if it doesn't live up to scholarly standards.

I find it mildly amusing (when considering how frustrating it must be) that there are Lacanian scholars out there believing SZ's preaching is doing more harm than good. How many other Lacanians are that widely read, routinely appearing in the mainstream media these days?
posted by klue at 11:12 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree, klue. I've told my friend that Zizek is at least responsible for thousands of people who would not have otherwise reading Lacan, if not understanding him.(hell, even my friend does not purport to really understand Lacan fully and I don't even know if it's possible)
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 11:33 AM on October 27, 2011


Like many fields, there are various factions of Lacanian scholars who disagree on the correct reading of Lacan. On one hand you have Anglo-American Lacanians who take the earlier works to be definitive, and then you have another group led by Lacan's son-in-law Jacques-Alain Miller who base their understanding on work published later, some of which is still being translated into English. Zizek, who studied under Miller, is obviously going to be in the latter camp, along with the other members of the Ljubljana school.

The geographic divide is more historical and is now a bit misleading since there are American Lacanians in the Miller camp, and their view seems to have become the predominant one even in the US now. There's a fair amount of acrimony between the two -- that the other faction feels that they're doing a disservice to Lacan is probably putting it very mildly.

I don't really understand the charge that How to read Lacan is reductionist. The How to Read... series is necessarily introductory and simplified, and Zizek doesn't even attempt a precise, systematic exposition. It's a long string of jokes and movie references, why would anyone think it's Zizek's definitive statement on Lacan?
posted by AlsoMike at 12:03 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I say one can almost smell his sweaters in video

What's that mean?
posted by shivohum at 12:07 PM on October 27, 2011


Has anybody ever seen Zizek and Stallman together in the same room?
posted by bukvich at 12:13 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"never in my life did i dance or sing" — can you trust someone like that?
posted by Tom-B at 12:32 PM on October 27, 2011


shivohum: "What's that mean?"

I means he looks like someone who showers less frequently than people around him would like him to. I agree with that assessment.
posted by falameufilho at 12:56 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]



"never in my life did i dance or sing" — can you trust someone like that?
posted by Tom-B at 12:32 PM on October 27



Implicitly. He's sincere and expresses a feeling that I identify with deeply. It's the rest of his statement - "the obscenity of gestures...I just cannot do it" - that's critical. It shows thoughtful consideration.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:41 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Coke. I remember being told that my hero (not philosopher but same corner of the world) was almost constantly on coke. It made a lot of sense: crazy wonderful theory, millions of words, not always sensible. He is dead now, but looked and talked a lot like this guy and was a communist.
My guy wore ties, though.
posted by mumimor at 2:04 PM on October 27, 2011


As an anachist, I love his comment about thoughtful conservatives. I, too, really love them. A thoughtful conservative is often orders of magnitude more erudite, intelligent, and useful to talk to than the usual left-wing scruff that canonize cavemen or tout Trostky. All too often "conservative" is identified with the GOP or Christian right, and that's just not true. Certainly, most conservatives in the United States vote Republican (or Conservative (go figure) in Canada), and are Christians (just, you know, statistically speaking), but they are not the reactionary idiots that go to Tea Party rallies or watch FOX News. The people commonly called "conservatives" in America are really reactionaries, who no more want to conserve traditional values than I do. But true conservatives are, if not diamonds, at least really pretty old coins in the rough (yes I realize I'm mixing metaphors like a word chemist).
posted by cthuljew at 4:06 PM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I enjoy Zizek a lot, but I can't help but always feeling like he's about 40% bullshitting. Which is fine.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:06 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blow? Coke? He has a tick. Seriously.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:40 PM on October 27, 2011


Someone give me a list of thoughtful conservatives.
posted by vicx at 6:15 PM on October 27, 2011


Erm... John Gray? And the, erm, others.
posted by Abiezer at 6:27 PM on October 27, 2011


I could name a couple, but they're not public figures. They sort of make bad demagogues.
posted by cthuljew at 10:21 PM on October 27, 2011


Blow? Coke? He has a tick. Seriously.

I've always assumed he just doesn't give a rat's ass if you see him scratch his nose.
posted by Apropos of Something at 10:30 PM on October 27, 2011


Someone give me a list of thoughtful conservatives.

G. K. Chesterton was one and I've often found myself agreeing with his analysis of things (though disagreeing with his conclusions). Unfortunately, a great site with extensive quotations of his seems to be down and the one liners in places like Quotations page wouldn't illuminate my argument.
posted by ersatz at 3:57 AM on October 28, 2011


This is a really good talk he gave a couple days ago. Says some really useful things about why OWS shouldn't have a list of demands, etc.
posted by cthuljew at 4:14 AM on October 28, 2011


Short piece on the LRB blog:
Here, Marx’s key insight remains as pertinent today as it ever was: the question of freedom should not be located primarily in the political sphere – i.e. in such things as free elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, respect for human rights. Real freedom resides in the ‘apolitical’ network of social relations, from the market to the family, where the change needed in order to make improvements is not political reform, but a change in the social relations of production. We do not vote concerning who owns what, or about the relations between workers in a factory. Such things are left to processes outside the sphere of the political, and it is an illusion that one can change them by ‘extending’ democracy: say, by setting up ‘democratic’ banks under the people’s control. Radical changes in this domain should be made outside the sphere of such democratic devices as legal rights etc. They have a positive role to play, of course, but it must be borne in mind that democratic mechanisms are part of a bourgeois-state apparatus that is designed to ensure the undisturbed functioning of capitalist reproduction. Badiou was right to say that the name of the ultimate enemy today is not capitalism, empire, exploitation or anything of the kind, but democracy: it is the ‘democratic illusion’, the acceptance of democratic mechanisms as the only legitimate means of change, which prevents a genuine transformation in capitalist relations.
posted by Abiezer at 12:13 AM on October 30, 2011


I find it mildly amusing (when considering how frustrating it must be) that there are Lacanian scholars out there believing SZ's preaching is doing more harm than good. How many other Lacanians are that widely read, routinely appearing in the mainstream media these days?

I find it mildly amusing that anyone can still make an academic career last beyond the PhD by declaring oneself a "Lacanian" anything.
posted by spitbull at 9:55 AM on October 30, 2011


Someone give me a list of thoughtful conservatives.

A few favorites -

the quick:
Reihan Salam
Megan McArdle
Daniel Larison
Roger Scruton

and the dead:

Michael Oakeshott
Daniel Bell
Raymond Aron
Leo Strauss
Edward Shils
posted by villanelles at dawn at 10:46 AM on October 30, 2011


Um, I'd like to sub out Shils for Philip Rieff. I have no idea what I was thinking.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 12:51 PM on October 30, 2011


Sometimes, we have to go with the conservatives we have, not the conservatives we'd like. Sorry, villanelles.
posted by Abiezer at 1:05 PM on October 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but what's he think of the Pandaren in the new WoW expansion, that's what inquiring communist minds want to know.
posted by symbioid at 1:19 PM on October 30, 2011


I'm bringing him over as a civilian adviser, you won't even notice he's there. Same with reanimated Jean-Francois revel.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 1:23 PM on October 30, 2011


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