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Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks
January 14, 2011 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Slavoj Žižek on WikiLeaks
posted by acb (65 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Okay, I read the whole article and I have a question:

How do you pronounce his name?
posted by Ritchie at 4:49 AM on January 14, 2011


According to the only person I have ever heard pronounce his name: Slah-voy Zhi-zhek.
posted by griphus at 4:51 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am suing this guy's name.
posted by orme at 4:58 AM on January 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ah, I was sounding it in my head as Slah-VOY SHAY-shek, so thank you.
posted by Ritchie at 4:58 AM on January 14, 2011


I think Griphus is right.
posted by acb at 5:00 AM on January 14, 2011


Well, keep in mind this pronunciation came to me from someone who said "nukular," so YMMV.

She was a PoliSci grad student who taught -- well! -- several undergrad classes I took. It was confounding.
posted by griphus at 5:02 AM on January 14, 2011


Well, an interesting article... it explains what I was trying to in some other wikileaks thread about how sometimes lies/secrets are actually necessary to maintain the status quo, and that Assange's crusade was at best ill advised, at worst reckless.
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:04 AM on January 14, 2011


I like the bit about politeness vs. tact in the 10th paragraph:
the difference between politeness and tact: ‘Imagine you inadvertently enter a bathroom where a woman is standing naked under the shower. Politeness requires that you quickly close the door and say, “Pardon, Madame!”, whereas tact would be to quickly close the door and say: “Pardon, Monsieur!”
But I don't know if Dale Carnegie-style advice has much to teach us about democracy.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:09 AM on January 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


That wasn't really what I took away from it, dougrayrankin. You are correct he did give examples of where lies/discretion/tact were used to avert bloodshed in the past, but in the final paragraph he seemed to be saying that in the current period concealment hasn't really worked (see Iraq), and exposure is appropriate.
posted by Ritchie at 5:14 AM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not too sure about the general thrust of the article, but this is brilliant:

The ultimate show of power on the part of the ruling ideology is to allow what appears to be powerful criticism.
posted by litleozy at 5:20 AM on January 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


This reads like the argument of a brilliantly lyrical man who hasn't made up his mind yet. In summary: um. I want my time back.
posted by londonmark at 5:25 AM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was waiting for him to comment on this!
posted by ReWayne at 5:25 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


and that Assange's crusade was at best ill advised, at worst reckless.

Well, of course many people make careers interpreting to others what Zizek "is really saying" in his writings, but I thought it was more nuanced that this. Often Z's tack is more like "this is a notable development, but for a different reason than you might think." Which is what I thought he was doing in this column, tracing the structural necessity of secrecy, any secrecy, in post-Straussian American politics, and then discussing how what Wikileaks did by leaking the diplomatic cables isn't notable so much for the content of what was revealed (which was anti-climactic), but for the structural implications of such a leak to U.S. power relations, forcing the players in the game of secrecy to face the inherent hypocrisy of their system -- rather than there being any actual damning facts in any of the cable's textual content.

(At least that's what I took away from it after two quick scans.)
posted by aught at 5:37 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


did we read the same article dougrayrankin?

I thought the thrust of the article was that wikileaks is dismantling the institutions of 'democratic' power themselves and exposing our complicity in allowing the ruling elite (liars) to have carried on for so long. and that this is good (to dismantle the lies).
posted by mary8nne at 5:39 AM on January 14, 2011


I agree with Ritchie: Zizek draws a direct line between the US Empire and the "ancien regime" of Germany:
. . .[the] regime "only imagines that it believes in itself and demands that the world imagine the same thing. If it believed in its own essence, would it. . . seek refuge in hypocrisy and sophism? The modern ancien regime is rather only the comedian of a world order whose true heroes are dead."
All you have to do is picture George Washington gazing on an America that has the world's largest standing armies, the world's most convoluted and entangling alliances, and the worst record of any modern Democracy when it comes to shedding foreign blood on foreign land. And then tell him that carrying hemp could get him more jail time than violently assaulting one of his neighbors, or that his country had started hiring mercenaries to carry out their wars.

Our heroes aren't just dead. They're spinning in their graves.
posted by notion at 5:46 AM on January 14, 2011 [18 favorites]


When asked about the meeting (by a journalist friend of mine), Cunhal said that he would confirm it took place only if Antunes didn’t deny it – if Antunes did deny it, then it never took place.

I always love to see dominated strategies of game theory in action.

The article presents a justification for a pragmatic approach to fraud in a nuanced and dynamic execution of Plato's noble lie. Yet fraud always has the fault of being nullified by reality. Lincoln said: No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar. The same is true for bureaucratic lies.

Making things even worse, the goals of modern day pragmatism is perpetuating a fraudulent stasis (endless growth!!). Let's at least reevaluate that if we are going to advocate fraud...
posted by AndrewKemendo at 5:50 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think his state power arguments are underwhelming. He needs to stick to doing philosophy of political behavior through the lens of the individual or market. His own view on Marx's critique of Hegel are interesting, but the German experiment in communism failed though it attempted to be true to the creator it had too much pressure to be part of military bloc where it was hopeless, ultimately being used for African expeditions where they had less of a role than the Cubans.

My own view is if we cannot look at Wikileaks through the lens of Marxism and in fact Zizek is making Wikileaks beside the point of antiquated state power. It's a paper argument, which is why it's just a short piece in a literary review.
posted by parmanparman at 5:54 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd agree with londonmark. Žižek clearly articulates the claims that wikiLeaks' philosophy is dangerous, while giving those claims little personal support, and quietly acknowledging that now we need transparency more than diplomacy.

We only see Žižek articulating his own opinions when he says "Truth liberates, yes, but not this truth. ... but neither do we find truth in the gossip shared behind that façade. Appearance, the public face, is never a simple hypocrisy. ... We are often told that privacy is disappearing, that the most intimate secrets are open to public probing. But the reality is the opposite: what is effectively disappearing is public space, with its attendant dignity."

I'd agree with his supporting sentiments here, but not his assertion that wikileaks' truth does not liberate. We cannot and should not wish to uninvent the communications technology that's merging personal and public space. Instead, we must embrace that progress to ensure that progress produces new justice, freedom, etc. wherever they're being lost.

In particular, we know 'the gossip shared behind that façade' need not itself be the truth, but that gossip has always been exactly how historians piece together 'the truth' later. Žižek's knows this, not acknowledging it emphasizes how he feels the facade must be maintained. And that my friends was the one biggest point he very cleverly avoided making any personal commitment to.

I'd disagree vehemently with Žižek's assertion that wikileaks' philosophy is dangerous. There is always great risk that change will further empower the powerful, but stagnation almost always further empowers the powerful anyways, and change can empower everyone else too if a few heros run far enough ahead. Assange has done exactly that.

In short, Žižek's essay is articulately yelling 'Get off my lawn!'
posted by jeffburdges at 6:08 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


but for the structural implications of such a leak to U.S. power relations, forcing the players in the game of secrecy to face the inherent hypocrisy of their system -- rather than there being any actual damning facts in any of the cable's textual content.

More than that, he was saying that what Wikileaks does is discomfit us, the democratic citizens who already knew the types of things Wikileaks exposes were going on, but chose to let them ride. In other words, his point is that Wikileaks poses a kind of question of political morality: What are you, the average Joe, gonna do about it? I tend to be sympathetic to Zizek, so I liked it. I'm not sure it's as easily dismissed as some would suggest, though.
posted by OmieWise at 6:11 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Slavoj Žižek: the Rorschach test of philosophy.
posted by jet_manifesto at 6:25 AM on January 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


Man I just love reading Žižek. He's like a really high-level functioning schizophrenic, just connecting disparate things to built his argument. 'And if we see Coppola's The Conversation as representing the superego, then the id comes to us in the form of Mott's Applesauce, which has a green label: green, the color of envy, which is what Harry Caul's competitors suffer, and thus superego and id are set in opposition, and therefore the shape of the political allegory of Coppola's films comes to the surface. Isn't The Godfather, after all, an image of Nixon?'
posted by shakespeherian at 6:27 AM on January 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


If Zizek and Assange somehow were in the same room at the same time, I'm fairly certain that the universe would collapse under the weight of their combined egos.
posted by proj at 6:30 AM on January 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm not really familiar with the man's writings (as evidenced by my first comment), but I was a little nonplussed by the early reference to Batman and the Joker. At first I thought it might be a way of easing readers in to an argument that has a couple of twists to it. Then I remembered Žižek is supposedly known for including pop-culture references as part of his usual formula - a Mefite even broke this formula down in an old comment I think.
posted by Ritchie at 6:34 AM on January 14, 2011


All you have to do is picture George Washington gazing on an America that has the world's largest standing armies, the world's most convoluted and entangling alliances, and the worst record of any modern Democracy when it comes to shedding foreign blood on foreign land. And then tell him that carrying hemp could get him more jail time than violently assaulting one of his neighbors, or that his country had started hiring mercenaries to carry out their wars.

Yeah, and he'd probably also be shocked by the lack of slavery, the suffrage of women & non-land owners, the existence of industry and cities, and the scandalous dearth of powdered wigs.

What I'm trying to say is that your point is rather flimsy.
posted by graphnerd at 6:41 AM on January 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


His reference to The Dark Knight threw me off, as it did when he made virtually the same allusion in Living In The End Times. From the article:
The film’s take-home message is that lying is necessary to sustain public morale: only a lie can redeem us. No wonder the only figure of truth in the film is the Joker, its supreme villain. He makes it clear that his attacks on Gotham City will stop when Batman takes off his mask and reveals his true identity; to prevent this disclosure and protect Batman, Dent tells the press that he is Batman – another lie. In order to entrap the Joker, Gordon fakes his own death – yet another lie.
But the Joker isn't a figure of truth at all. Even more pointedly, it's clear that the Joker won't stop terrorizing Gotham even after the Batman is revealed - he's only demanding that the Batman reveal himself so that he can kill him on behalf of the mob, so that the mob can once again gain control of Gotham City. Even then, it's evident that the Joker, who is a profligate liar and who has no loyalty to anyone, would rather just defy the mob and play with Batman for all eternity, using the people of Gotham as his pawns. Just more and more concentric lies.

The general point about The Dark Knight being about a noble lie still stands, but it's weird to insist that the Joker represents any form of truth within the story. The closest the movie comes to this is when the Joker says "I'm a man of my worrrrd" in his video speech - nothing the Joker says can ever be trusted, but you can always trust that he'll hurt people.

It's one thing to use pop culture references, but this one isn't even really correct.

I may also be pedantic on this point, but it bugged me then and it bugs me now.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:49 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The article wasn't nearly as bullshitty as I expected it to be.
posted by jayder at 6:50 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: He's like a really high-level functioning schizophrenic, just connecting disparate things to built his argument. 'And if we see Coppola's The Conversation as representing the superego, then the id comes to us in the form of Mott's Applesauce, which has a green label: green, the color of envy ... etc'

I think this is the sort of argument one tends to get in fields when there's lots of intelligence and opinions but a lack of scientifically tested models and results. The game then becomes joining the most interesting or esoteric dots possible together to make a cool sounding argument. Its a game that can go on forever. but dont let me re-start the science wars right here

But I did quite like his article. As to interpreting what he meant, the final paragraph is pretty clear:
This is precisely our situation today: we face the shameless cynicism of a global order whose agents only imagine that they believe in their ideas of democracy, human rights and so on. Through actions like the WikiLeaks disclosures, the shame – our shame for tolerating such power over us – is made more shameful by being publicised.
posted by memebake at 6:52 AM on January 14, 2011


Zizek is pretty famous for his film reviews. Perhaps that's why this was one of his better pieces.

Aaron Bady did a great job analysing Assange's anarchist political philosophy, based on actually reading what Assange has written, over at zunguzungu
posted by Philosopher's Beard at 6:55 AM on January 14, 2011


Every time I read something by Zizek, I feel like I am understanding what he is saying. But then, when I reach the end of the article and ask myself "what was his thesis?", my mind is blank...
posted by wittgenstein at 7:01 AM on January 14, 2011


How you pronounce his name depends on where you are in your PhD program, and what discipline. It has a mordant, heart-stopping quality when sprinkled liberally in between Kittler and Deleuze.

Seriously, I'd rather read Sarah Palin on tolerance.
posted by spitbull at 7:01 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought this was one of his more clear articles. Caviling over the Joker aside, I liked it. I found this Marx quote, quoted in the article, to be especially apt with regard to the West: "The modern ancien regime is rather only the comedian of a world order whose true heroes are dead."
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:03 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the Joker isn't a figure of truth at all.

Wait, are you conflating "good" with "true"? The Joker may be evil (in that he's unrepentantly harming innocents to pursue his goal), but he's working to reveal a core truth (Batman's secret identity), right? And those wondering about the pop-culture reference surely see the (rather simplistic, when stated baldly) end-justifies-the-means comparison between The Joker's collateral damage in Gotham to reveal a truth and the U.S. government's collateral damage in Iraq and Afghanistan to achieve a net Good?

Tangentially, this argument somewhat reminds me of the days just after 9/11 when some people seemed incapable of making a distinction between "evil" and "courageous", attacking comments like those Bill Maher made about how the 9/11 hijackers could be called many vile things, including blind ideologues, evil, cruel, compassion-less -- but couldn't accurately be called "cowards" as many leaders had proclaimed.
posted by aught at 7:11 AM on January 14, 2011


OmieWise: "More than that, he was saying that what Wikileaks does is discomfit us, the democratic citizens who already knew the types of things Wikileaks exposes were going on, but chose to let them ride."

Yah, but there are many democratic citizens who don't read much online, if at all, and get their *news* from Fox or CNN or their local news-rag or whatever and they knew nothing about what was going on, knew nothing at all of how our governmental systems work, or don't work. Wikileaks shows this to them -- even to them -- and though they are perhaps seeing it through the lens of Fox CNN et all, they still are seeing it, many for the very first time. (I'm thinking of my 89 year old mother as I typed this paragraph, who truly did not know that the whole Iraq thing is a rape/pillage, she truly thought -- likely still thinks, regardless what I've said, or anything else -- that Iraq is somehow tied to 9/11. Her *news* comes through cable news, and also through *Christian* broadcasting organizations; she also somehow thinks that it's just a darn good thing that the government of Israel -- thus of course the US government, through their absolute approval of all this -- is totally in the right to kill as many Palestinians as they can, and displace them, and destroy their culture and their lives, somehow my mother believes this is What Jesus Would Do; I never had Jesus pinned as a psycho-political piece of dogshit but it seems that many do...)

Cases abound in our daily lives in which not telling all is the proper thing to do. In Baisers volés, Delphine Seyrig explains to her young lover the difference between politeness and tact: ‘Imagine you inadvertently enter a bathroom where a woman is standing naked under the shower. Politeness requires that you quickly close the door and say, “Pardon, Madame!”, whereas tact would be to quickly close the door and say: “Pardon, Monsieur!”’ It is only in the second case, by pretending not to have seen enough even to make out the sex of the person under the shower, that one displays true tact.

Except we didn't walk in on a woman taking a shower, we walked in on a torturer shocking and drowning and beating the living shit out of his/her victim, all the while getting their own shit all over themselves as they happily wiped it all over their victims, and pounding and slashing at them mercilessly, coldly, hatefully, gleefully -- I think as I write this of the eyes of Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney, Wolfowitz. Those poor people in Iraq did not have a chance against us, it was shooting fish in a barrel, and they never did one goddamn thing to provoke it.

Antunes and Cunhal made a deal without stating it: there was no agreement between them – on the face of things, they did nothing but disagree – but they left the meeting with an understanding that the Communists would not start a revolution, thereby allowing a ‘normal’ democratic state to come about, and that the anti-socialist military would not outlaw the Communist Party, but accept it as a key element in the democratic process.

Yeah, that's a picture of Pelosi hugging Bush after the 2006 elections, the elections which stated unequivocally that the electorate wanted out of that goddamn war, which in fact the Dems stated unequivocally in their campaigns they were going to stop, were they put in power. That's also the picture of Obama ramping up in Afghanastan, Obama not closing Guantanamo, Obama voting to allow the bankers into our wallets; it's the picture of Obama's promise of *Change.* The new boss, looks just one heck of a lot like the old boss, though he can sure rouse the troops at a memorial, and get them to cheering and clapping and stomping at an occasion deserving of huge solemnity -- how proud I am to be an American! O say can you see! Amber waves of grain! Etc!

Anyways, it's an interesting if awfully wordy screed, glad you posted it.

I can't tell you how happy I am that all of this information is being put into the open, I have this huge man-crush on Assange, I'd love to have his baby, etc. Of course all of this has been in the open for anyone with an internet connection and even a passing interest in what it is we might be up to, but many aren't at all interested in that, what with the sale on at Walmart and all, plus the holidays just wiped us out, we were just so, so busy...
posted by dancestoblue at 7:15 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, are you conflating "good" with "true"? The Joker may be evil (in that he's unrepentantly harming innocents to pursue his goal), but he's working to reveal a core truth (Batman's secret identity), right?

...for dishonest reasons, because the attacks won't stop after Batman is revealed. It's unclear whether he'll be attacking Gotham 1) either through killing Batman and placing the mob back in power or, more likely, 2) continuing to be the Joker through and through and continuing to terrorize Gotham City.

Dude lies all. the. time. There is no indication in the movie that the Joker's endgame is merely Batman's identity.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:18 AM on January 14, 2011


Wikipedia says "pronounced [ˈslavoj ˈʒiʒɛk]", for those of you that read IPA.
posted by msittig at 7:22 AM on January 14, 2011


What WikiLeaks threatens is the formal functioning of power. The true targets here weren’t the dirty details and the individuals responsible for them; not those in power, in other words, so much as power itself, its structure. We shouldn’t forget that power comprises not only institutions and their rules, but also legitimate (‘normal’) ways of challenging it (an independent press, NGOs etc) – as the Indian academic Saroj Giri put it, WikiLeaks ‘challenged power by challenging the normal channels of challenging power and revealing the truth’.[*] The aim of the WikiLeaks revelations was not just to embarrass those in power but to lead us to mobilise ourselves to bring about a different functioning of power that might reach beyond the limits of representative democracy.


Yes.
posted by caddis at 7:23 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Joker may be evil..., but he's working to reveal a core truth (Batman's secret identity), right?

Nonsense. The Joker doesn't want truth, he wants chaos. His pursuit of "truth" in The Dark Knight is another avenue through which he can commit violence to society. The proof is this: "Do you know how I got these scars?" He tells an new origin story every time he threatens a victim in the movie. He's not really interested in core truths. He's interested in tearing down social order. The Joker is an anarchist.
posted by bonehead at 7:26 AM on January 14, 2011


There is no indication in the movie that the Joker's endgame is merely Batman's identity.

I don't think it ever was stated to be an ends - only as a means to the broader ends of a societal reversion to the "purity" of the anarcho-hobbesian state of nature which naturally disapproves of unclean human aspects of charity and humanity in support of extreme competition and survival of the fittest.

Paradoxically if the Joker gets what he wants he likely loses anyway - however he may view himself as having overcome materialism and the need for security in a pseudo-zen nihilist spin.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 7:29 AM on January 14, 2011


Jesus if a WikiLeaks thread has been derailed into a Batman thread, I think we finally know what Metafilter's favorite topic is.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:34 AM on January 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jesus if a WikiLeaks thread has been derailed into a Batman thread, I think we finally know what Metafilter's favorite topic is.

That favorite topic? Owls of Ga'Hoole.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:38 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


All you have to do is picture George Washington gazing on an America that has the world's largest standing armies, the world's most convoluted and entangling alliances, and the worst record of any modern Democracy when it comes to shedding foreign blood on foreign land.

Largest standing army based on aggregate public defense expenditure. Not in terms of soldiers. The phrase "most convuluted alliances" requires a citation. "Worst record of any modern democracy.". Why don't you elaborate on your rubric for reaching
this conclusion. Also are the UK, Australia and NATO who participated as junior partner in many of these actions equally responsible? Do secret NATO members like Sweeden get an exemption. What about the occupies territories are those foreign lands. Is Israel responsible or is it just the USA? Exempting multinational actions we are left with:
Panama, Grenada, Sudan unilateral airstrikes against Al Qaeda, bombing Lybia and a handful of other actions. Contrast with French actions in Vietnam, Algeria, the grand mosque in saudi Arabia, ongoing operations on Africa? Austrialian actions in east Timor and Indonesia? Christmas Island detentions?

These modern democracies love their glass houses.
posted by humanfont at 7:41 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That favorite topic? Owls of Ga'Hoole.

I was going to say lilacs.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:42 AM on January 14, 2011


Zizek is often a contrarian in such a way that it is a bit unclear what he is contrary to. His quips are brilliant, but his overall rhetorical power is often limited.
posted by mai at 8:01 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


His quips are brilliant, but his overall rhetorical power is often limited.

Only limited if you're chiefly interested in something other than the criticism itself, which is why his writings work just fine for many people.

Nonsense. The Joker doesn't want truth, he wants chaos. His pursuit of "truth" in The Dark Knight is another avenue through which he can commit violence to society.

Possibly, though I am not sure this extension of the analogy would be a problem for the argument someone like Zizek or Assange might make (i.e., "the pursuit of so-called 'democracy' is another avenue through which the hegemony can commit violence...", etc.).
posted by aught at 8:17 AM on January 14, 2011


The truth is that Batman is the real identity and Bruce Wayne is the mask, anyway.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Whooaaaaaaa.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:40 AM on January 14, 2011


A supreme case of tact in politics is the secret meeting between Alvaro Cunhal, the leader of the Portuguese Communist Party, and Ernesto Melo Antunes, a pro-democracy member of the army grouping responsible for the coup that overthrew the Salazar regime in 1974.

Oh this is good. "I coup you too"
posted by clavdivs at 8:48 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jaron Lanier on WikiLeaks
Bruce Sterling on WikiLeaks, cf.
Clay Shirky on WikiLeaks
Ethan Zuckerman looking forward to more reflections on Wikileaks
posted by kliuless at 8:53 AM on January 14, 2011


The question is, if Assange learned the true identity of Batman would he publish it?
posted by memebake at 9:05 AM on January 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Žižek claim that "WikiLeaks threatens is the formal functioning of power" is just patently absurd, an epitome of "get off my lawn". Yes, wikileaks may change the formal functioning of power, fine. You know, rock n' roll was a pretty big cultural change too that likewise all the old people felt was armageddon. As I said, it's all just 'get off my lawn.'

An unnamed Australian MP articulated this position much more honestly & succinctly than Žižek, or the various mefis I've seen oppose wikileaks, when he said "The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange."

We thankfully won't need to wait 100 years to witness reforms arising from Assange's philosophy because the world moves far faster today, in particular people are lining up to take Assange's place.

There is no threat of anarchy or diplomatic collapse, none, nada. Assange & Wikileaks herald merely the usual sort of linked technological and cultural progress, much like Shawn Fanning & Napster.

We've learned one unambiguous lesson from the first few decades of the internet : The powerful are big fat fucking winers when their power is even slightly reduced, even in ways that'll ultimately benefit them too. Yet any real social progress will impose that pain upon them. We must therefore conclude that they should be roundly ignored when they start whining. If their desires have any basis, well let them pony up the evidence, history says we'll listen when that happens.

Btw, there will be anonymous protests like everywhere tomorrow.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:36 AM on January 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I personally think that Julian Assange is much creepier looking than the Joker.
posted by sk932 at 9:42 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and he'd probably also be shocked by the lack of slavery

"There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery." Washington in a letter to Robert Morris in 1786

What I'm trying to say is that your point is rather flimsy.
The other point is, the jealousy which Congress unhappily entertain of the Army, and which, if reports are right, some Members labour to establish. You may be assured, there is nothing more injurious—or more unjustly founded. This jealousy stands upon the common, received opinion, which under proper limitations is certainly true, that Standing Armies are dangerous to a state—and from forming the same conclusion of the components parts of all, tho they are totally dissimilar in their nature. The prejudice in Other Countries has only gone to 'em in time of peace—and then from their not having in general cases, any of the ties—the concerns or interests of Citizens or any other dependence, than what flowed from their military employ—in short from their being mercenaries—hirelings. It is our policy to be prejudiced against them in time of War—and tho they are Citizens, having all the ties—& interests of Citizens, and in most cases property totally unconnected with the military line. If we would pursue a right system of policy, in my opinion, there should be none of these distinctions—we should all be considered, Congress—Army &c., as one people, embarked in one cause—in one interest; acting on the same principle, and to the same end.
Washington, and all of the founders, thought serving your nation was a civic duty, not something you could pay mercenaries for and expect to represent the will of citizens. I highly recommend you read about it before commenting to the contrary.

"Worst record of any modern democracy.". Why don't you elaborate on your rubric for reaching this conclusion.

Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq (twice)... I could go on.

And convoluted alliances? If you can find me a nation with more embassies and more arms sales and more coups under their belt, I'm all ears.

Honestly, we outspend the rest of the world combined for military expenditures. The only nation with more active duty troops is China, and they have over four times our population. We've overthrown more democracies than any other nation in the post war world.
posted by notion at 9:46 AM on January 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, an interesting article... it explains what I was trying to in some other wikileaks thread about how sometimes lies/secrets are actually necessary to maintain the status quo, and that Assange's crusade was at best ill advised, at worst reckless.

Advances in not only technology but humanity can change what is necessary in order to "maintain the status quo", or even improve the current state of things.

Electricity was reckless at one time too.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:32 AM on January 14, 2011


What is the difference between these protests and a bunch of progressive student uniok folks milling about on campus? The U Delaware gang can't even be bothered to drive down to Dupont Circle DC from Elkton MD. There has been some discussion on the power elite secret email list.
From: Power-Elite-L <>
Subject: RE: WL anonymous protests agitprop or ignore?

>>Hey let's put a old police vehicle on the street as send some agitprop guys to smash it.
>>Great TV AmIRight. -Name redacted

>Redacted 2 wrote;
>Dude it's the NFL playoffs, I don't want some breaking news bulletin delaying the game.

Oh right Baltimore Pittsburg I totally forgot. Maybe Assange and Roethlisberger can share dating tips.
posted by humanfont at 10:44 AM on January 14, 2011


How do you pronounce his name?

Sla-voy Zhee-zhek
posted by Sys Rq at 10:50 AM on January 14, 2011


n unnamed Australian MP articulated this position much more honestly & succinctly than Žižek, or the various mefis I've seen oppose wikileaks, when he said "The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange."
Assange has 100 more internets than the Galileo.
posted by dougrayrankin at 11:22 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Joker doesn't want truth, he wants chaos. [...] The Joker is an anarchist.
That's not what "anarchist" means. How about using "a discordian" or "a real jerk" instead?
posted by cdward at 11:55 AM on January 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


He lost me as soon as he dropped the Batman analogy. I guess this shows the extent of my own mental prowess in thinking about Wikileaks.

Now, if Julian Assange had six different stories for why his hair is white...
posted by sonika at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2011


Oh this is good. "I coup you too"

2 men 1 coup?
posted by Ritchie at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re: The Dark Knight analogy:

Also remember that the Joker repeatedly lies, just as do Batman, Dent, and Gordon: he tells at least 2 different stories about his scars (and starts to tell a 3rd), and lies to Batman about where Dent & Rachel Dawes have been tied up.

It's common for Zizek to simplify his pop culture references even to the point of making mistakes; it is also rumored that he often writes analyses of films he hasn't even seen, basing them off excerpts or even trailers.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:26 PM on January 14, 2011


Zizek's requalification is not a 'get off my lawn.'

Where the hell do you people get this shit?

(And if you are of a mind that wikileaks has been overanalyzed then I suspect that you might be a victim of the soundbite.)
posted by artof.mulata at 7:15 PM on January 14, 2011


It's common for Zizek to simplify his pop culture references even to the point of making mistakes; it is also rumored that he often writes analyses of films he hasn't even seen, basing them off excerpts or even trailers.

This isn't really a rumor, because Zizek himself confirms it.
posted by matkline at 6:56 AM on January 15, 2011


It's common for Zizek to simplify his pop culture references even to the point of making mistakes; it is also rumored that he often writes analyses of films he hasn't even seen, basing them off excerpts or even trailers.

This isn't really a rumor, because Zizek himself confirms it.
He opens a copy of Living in the End Times, and finds the contents page. "I will tell you the truth now," he says, pointing to the first chapter, then the second. "Bullshit. Some more bullshit. Blah, blah, blah." He flicks furiously through the pages. "Chapter 3, where I try to read Marx anew, is maybe OK. I like this part where I analyse Kafka's last story and here where I use the community of outcasts in the TV series Heroes as a model for the communist collective. But, this section, the Architectural Parallax, this is pure bluff. Also the part where I analyse Avatar, the movie, that is also pure bluff. When I wrote it, I had not even seen the film, but I am a good Hegelian. If you have a good theory, forget about the reality."
I note with amusement that this is the second time I've posted this link.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:54 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter just got so much cooler for posting this. I love Žižek.
posted by MHPlost at 7:01 AM on January 17, 2011


And now I'm reading the other two articles previously posted on the blue.
posted by MHPlost at 7:01 AM on January 17, 2011


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