Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ok, Ok, I Confess [Anthony McCarthy]

Ok, Ok, I confess I'd never heard of Slavoj Zizek until last week so I guess I'm supposed to feel guilty that I am ignorant of what looks like an up and commer in the kulture vulture world. Though at his age he might already be a came and went. Maybe that's how Molly Ivins felt when she discovered that, somehow, Camile Paglia had escaped her notice as she had her eyes on trivial stuff like what bills were getting passed into law in Austin and Washington DC.

I've looked at a bit of his stuff and was also introduced to Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. Which I guess are both supposed to be a replacement for other models. I wonder if there are the equivalent of motorheads in the edifi of academe who taunt each other that their brand of psychoanalytic theory is " a pig ". Though I'm fairly sure they don't come to have fist fights about it between classes, poison spit onto the pages of small circulation journals being their favored form of dueling.

Why we need a new model in his line of work, is Paglia is growing a bittoo rusty in the wheel wells. Here's what Wiki has to say about Zizek:

Slavoj Zizek (pronounced ['slavoj ']; born 21 March 1949) is a Slovenian continental philosopher and critical theorist working in the traditions of Hegelianism, Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis*. He has made contributions to political theory, film theory, and theoretical psychoanalysis.

Zizek is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a professor at the European Graduate School. He has been a visiting professor at, among others, the University of Chicago, Columbia, London Consortium, Princeton, New York University, The New School, the University of Minnesota, the University of California, Irvine and the University of Michigan. He is currently the International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London and president of the Society for Theoretical Psychoanalysis, Ljubljana.

Zizek uses examples from popular culture to explain the theory of Jacques Lacan and uses Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hegelian philosophy and Marxist economic criticism to interpret social phenomena. He writes on many topics including subjectivity, ideology, capitalism, fundamentalism, racism, tolerance, multiculturalism, human rights, ecology, globalization, the Iraq War, revolution, utopianism, totalitarianism, postmodernism, pop culture, opera, cinema, political theology, and religion.

So, essentially, he's a blogger who gets paid for it and gets credited and gets paid gigs at posh universities. I read a bit of his stuff that I could get online and it looks pretty much like the same fare you get on the blogs at much longer length with a few extra citations thrown in. Only on the blogs it's usually honest about having less status than these fashionable, fungible and, eventually, forgettable social criticism pop stars who are supposed to be taken seriously by serious people who get written about in book reviews and magazines published in major cities and eagerly carried by kulture vultures in smaller cities and college towns. And you're supposed to feel stupid if you've never heard of them before, I'd guess. Though it might be understandable if you just find you can't take any of it seriously.

I might meditate on this for a while. It might help me in my continuing effort to reform myself. Just the writing alone is enough to make me think I've been headed in a very wrong direction.

* Lacanian psychoanalysis, which I'd never heard of either, looks like just another load of stuff to me. Apparently part of Jacques Lacan's shtick was a kind of back to Freud act. Including all kinds of pronouncements related to women and sex roles and that whole ball of quacks.