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Žižek!
May 12, 2008 2:00 PM   Subscribe

"Žižek!" is a feature documentary exploring the eccentric personality and esoteric work of the "wild man of theory": the eminent Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.

Democracy Now! did a two-part interview with Žižek which concluded today: Part 1, Part 2.

His latest book is "In Defense of Lost Causes".

Žižek was previsouly discussed here and here.
posted by homunculus (18 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
Weird synchronicity, The content in my clipboard in that clipboard thread three days ago was "Slavoj Zizek"
posted by delmoi at 2:26 PM on May 12, 2008


Zizek. You know how this will wend.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:38 PM on May 12, 2008


Slavoj "give Iranian nukes a chance" Zizek is everywhere. I was just going to read what Terry Eagleton wrote about him in Times.
posted by Termite at 2:52 PM on May 12, 2008


He was pretty sweet in Children of Men. Breakout performance.
posted by spiderwire at 3:04 PM on May 12, 2008


Did anyone else think that was a mistake at first? Like, "Wait, WTF is Slavoj Zizek doing here?"

... I thought I returned Debbie Does Critical Theory last night
posted by spiderwire at 3:13 PM on May 12, 2008


I really enjoyed his Pervert's Guide to Cinema. Here's a clip.
posted by muckster at 3:25 PM on May 12, 2008


I saw Žižek speak about a year ago, in a relatively intimate setting, right here in New London, a place where dreams go not so much to die as to never be born. He was brilliant, a friendly but challenging intellectual giant. Damn, he talked purdy. Thanks for the links, and sign me up for the Koolaid.
posted by Kinbote at 3:48 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Met the filmmaker briefly at a party once (in the Verso offices that are briefly in the film, when Zizek visits his NY publisher). Looks like she has a new film on philosophy due out next month? It features, somewhat surprisingly, more Zizek? I would have thought the Zizek film exhausted that guy as a topic, since the man talks non-stop (i.e. he talks almost as much as Phil Schapp does).

I forget who it was who said about Solzhenitsyn that if you take away the beard he loses much of his gravitas (beards being an intellectual identifier since at least the 19th Century), but I think w/Zizek if one removes the beard, the accent, the Stalinist quasi-apologetics, and the endless otiose digressions and Lacanian theorizing, the aura wears thin (he seems to admit as much himself in the film). One has the distinct impression w/SZ (and how appropriate that his initials mimic a Barthes book!) of a man talking just fast and frequently enough so as not to be pinned down.

Cerebral documentarians have naturally gravitated towards Zizek and Derrida, but one will wait in vain to see a documentary on, oh I don't know, say, John McDowell. In other words, the academic chicness of a philosopher is often in inverse proportion to his or her lasting philosophical merit. I don't wholly dislike Zizek, but his attempts to remain relevant by prattling on about Hitchcock, the Matrix, Pepsi, what have you, ring a bit hollow and seem a bit forced.
posted by ornate insect at 3:56 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've never enjoyed someone I disagree with as much as Slavoj (and I love reading him when he talks about cinema).
posted by Falconetti at 4:55 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


the academic chicness of a philosopher is often in inverse proportion to his or her lasting philosophical merit

You're hurting Zombie Sartre's feelings.
posted by dyoneo at 5:23 PM on May 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


awesome! missed him when he spoke at my school recently so this will be a good catchup.
posted by auralcoral at 5:23 PM on May 12, 2008


Excellent! A good friend of mine just published a wonderful book about him, Zizek and Theology.

Both Zizek and Derrida have deeply wounded my personal soteriology in ways that I believe may never fully heal. Which may or may not be a bad thing. In both cases. All the time, and never. time for whiskey.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:27 PM on May 12, 2008


The Lion of Ljubljana doesn't have enough diacritical marks to be taken seriously as a philosopher. If he was called Śľãvðý Żĩžĕķ I'd be a lot more open to his ideas.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:52 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Zizek is also an urban beats club in Buenos Aires specializing in cumbia-based mixes. The name is no accident.
posted by Gull City at 4:37 AM on May 13, 2008


Interestingly, if you leave off the diacritic marks you get something close to the Slovenian words for "tits." (zize)

Another interesting bit of trivia: Most Slovenes have no idea how famous he is abroad. He went into self-imposed exile after the current government came to power, and he kind of dropped off the local radar. I've talked to numerous Slovenes who can't believe that Americans know who he is, or that he can fill buildings to capacity.
posted by Ljubljana at 6:29 AM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I really wish the documentary on Zizek had included some biographical information, such as: when was he born, who are his parents (are they still alive), what was his upbringing like, does he have any siblings (and if so, might they like the parents, have been available to briefly comment), what was he like as a child, when did he become interested in philosophy, what was his life like up to his early books, it appears he was married but is now seperated, what happened, etc? Even spending 20 minutes on these basic questions might have made for a much better picture (as it is, it's the least biographical film one can imagine, lacking all context, which is ironic given Zizek's obsession with Freud, Lacan and psychoanalysis). Also, the decision to have endless scenes w/Zizek in cabs, walking, buying DVDs at Kim's Video in NYC, what have you, ends up being tedious and not especially insightful into Zizek the person.
posted by ornate insect at 7:57 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw him speak last year in a small theatre at my school -- the place was packed and people who couldn't get in actually snuck in to the loft, causing the lights to go out halfway through the lecture. He couldn't read his notes so he just started digressing on Lacan.
posted by SoftRain at 1:21 PM on May 13, 2008


Is it just me or does it seem like Zizek is on cocaine in some of his lectures? He incessantly plays with his "sniffy" nose like a lot of people I've met who are on coke, and it would help explain his wired, manic energy. Of course, Freud liked him some nose candy too, so there you go.
posted by ornate insect at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


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