― Ned Raggett, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (11 years ago) Permalink
zizek is a leninist, a means-to-an-ends kind of guy, so his stance here is unexpected.
of 24: "It is here that we encounter the series' ideological lie: in spite of the CTU's ruthlessness, its agents, especially Bauer, are warm human beings - loving, caught in the emotional dilemmas of ordinary people."
which begs the question: well, can't ruthless people also be loving fathers? s/z's answer is:
"As Arendt says, the fact that they are able to retain any normality while committing such acts is the ultimate confirmation of moral depravity."
i can't help finding his paradoxes (and there are umpteen more in the article) a bit fortune cookie. isn't the ultimate confirmation of moral depravity the morally depraved act itself? likewise, do we need his thoughts on 'why is cheney telling us this' -- isn't the fact of torture enough?
― Theorry Henry (Enrique), Tuesday, 10 January 2006 09:58 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Real Goths Don't Wear Black (Enrique), Monday, 3 April 2006 10:43 (8 years ago) Permalink
But the main point is fairly straightforward. The means-to-an-end argument, when it comes to torture, boils down to "do what you need to do, then pay the price later." But by implying that torture has no price for those who practice it, legal or emotional, 24 to some extent moves the issue beyond mere means-to-an-end - there's no longer any moral balancing going on at all. It simply becomes "this is what we do." Torture becomes unfortunate but no longer morally troubling. The notion that this somehow goes to a person's guilt and depravity is popularly accepted in the entrenchment of the consideration of remorse as a mitigating factor in sentencing for crimes.
It's basically the same argument w/r/t Cheney openly justifying what was formerly tacitly permitted: this does violence to the notion that there is a price to be paid for these actions, that there is a price that should be paid. The point is not merely to bring formerly hidden acts out into the open, but to disrupt and overturn the systems of understandings that necessitated the acts be hidden. A government which has to hide its torture is one which submits to the notion that, strictly speaking, what is being done is wrong. And there is always the possibility that the torture will be publicly exposed, resulting in loss of face and power for the ruling government.
The hiding at least pays lipservice to the notion that what is happening is morally reprehensible (as Mac says on Commander In Chief, "I don't want to hear that he was tortured"). What is changed in publicly announcing the use of torture is not necessarily the seriousness of the acts of torture committed (which, perhaps in the short-term, does not increase), but the system of morality within which that act is situated, and the system of power relationships. The Government says "you can no longer hold your avowed distaste for torture over me"; if the public does nothing at this stage, it effectively acknowledges "I accept your use of the torture as morally defensible."
I think that the ramifications for "society" in this are pretty huge, and that it's therefore right for Zizek to argue that the consideration of the moral depravity of an act can go beyond the act itself and extend to how it is framed in discourse.
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Monday, 3 April 2006 13:56 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Monday, 3 April 2006 14:21 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Real Goths Don't Wear Black (Enrique), Monday, 3 April 2006 14:23 (8 years ago) Permalink
I wouldn't go that far because I haven't really gotten to the "make your own zizekian argument" stage. But yeah his stuff (esp. these sorts of arguments) feels very familiar now, you sort of know where it's going immediately.
Yeah he is very repetitive, and not just in terms of overall approach but in terms of specific detail - the analogy of the husband and the wife who have the tacit agreement w/r/t his infidelity is in half a dozen other books by him. For me it's really all about the world-building of the first two big books (The Sublime Object and For They Know Not What They Do).
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Monday, 3 April 2006 14:53 (8 years ago) Permalink
(of course, he also coasts in other things too, but then that's more an element of not seeing himself as a "theoretician" so much as a sort of gadfly polemicist)
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Monday, 3 April 2006 15:02 (8 years ago) Permalink
But cool that he'd thought enough about it to come up with that one perfect phrase.
― Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Monday, 3 April 2006 15:21 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Monday, 3 April 2006 15:30 (8 years ago) Permalink
― Nathalie (stevie nixed), Saturday, 13 May 2006 14:08 (7 years ago) Permalink
excellent combination of bad faith and projection, well done.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 12:16 (5 years ago) Permalink
it would be kind of interesting to see him deploy that argument w/r/t palestine though, also not an independent state pre-1948, etc etc etc
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 12:18 (5 years ago) Permalink
I agree that he is too understanding of China's policies, but I thought this paragraph was spot-on:
One of the main reasons so many people in the West participate in the protests against China is ideological: Tibetan Buddhism, deftly propagated by the Dalai Lama, is one of the chief points of reference for the hedonist New Age spirituality that has become so popular in recent times. Tibet has become a mythic entity onto which we project our dreams. When people mourn the loss of an authentic Tibetan way of life, it isn’t because they care about real Tibetans: what they want from Tibetans is that they be authentically spiritual for us, so that we can continue playing our crazy consumerist game. ‘Si vous êtes pris dans le rêve de l’autre,’ Gilles Deleuze wrote, ‘vous êtes foutu.’ The protesters against China are right to counter the Beijing Olympic motto – ‘One World, One Dream’ – with ‘One World, Many Dreams’. But they should be aware that they are imprisoning Tibetans in their own dream.
There are other peoples the Chinese central government has oppressed as well, such as the Uyghurs, but since they don't have evoke similar imagery in Westerners as the Tibetans do, and don't have a charismatic leader like the Dalai Lama, they are mostly ignored. (Also, the Uyghurs happen to be mostly muslims, which of course makes them less likely to get much Western support.)
― Tuomas, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:15 (5 years ago) Permalink
The difference is, though, that the Israeli government has done little if nothing to develop the Palestinian areas. I'm not trying to defend China here, but the two situations aren't that easily comparable.
― Tuomas, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:20 (5 years ago) Permalink
oh that bit about new-age hippies was what i meant by 'projection'; i suppose it might be true of some people who are actively pro-tibet, but most people seem to be against the occupation on more liberal grounds. just as many people who broadly support the palestinian cause might not be so keen on hamas.
zizek doesn't actually advance any evidence of this syndrome, anyway:
When people mourn the loss of an authentic Tibetan way of life, it isn’t because they care about real Tibetans: what they want from Tibetans is that they be authentically spiritual for us, so that we can continue playing our crazy consumerist game.
is just a standard zizek-y paradox. i'm sure he's used it before, conjoining it with the line from 'to be or not to be'; "the poles do the camping, we do the concentrating."
i'm not saying palestine corresponds with tibet 1:1, but zizek's take on it is likely to be 180 degress from his take here -- namely that the occupier is right, and the vocal support for a religio-nationalist cause is wrong.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:26 (5 years ago) Permalink
Tibetan Buddhism, deftly propagated by the Dalai Lama, is one of the chief points of reference for the hedonist New Age spirituality that has become so popular in recent times.
This is bullshit as regards specifically Tibetan Buddhism, which strikes me as being way too particularist to offer much to New Age thinking. The Dalai Lama's charisma and media savvy has done far more to keep Tibet in the public consciousness of Western liberals. I'm also pretty sure that a lot of anti-Chinese government protests are grounded in issues other than Tibet. Amnesty's campaigns are one obvious example.
― Noodle Vague, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:29 (5 years ago) Permalink
Plenty of Stalin apologists argued that he was only liquidating horrible reactionaries, too.
― Noodle Vague, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:30 (5 years ago) Permalink
Yes to the Dalai Lama's media profile keeping it in public consciousness - linked to strong idea of Tibet as a separate occupied country, a profile that abkhazia, dagestan, kurdistan, don't have - kosovo being the anomaly here (but western govts wanted kosovar independence, rather than western people - so a bit of a red herring?)
Aren't Uyghar's in a minority in Xianjiang?
― laxalt, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:39 (5 years ago) Permalink
laxalt, by that i'm guessing you think none of these countries deserve independence? pretty blatantly in the case of kosovo.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:41 (5 years ago) Permalink
bringing the opinion of 'western people' is a huge red herring, really, but i'd have thought those western people who have heard of kosovo will generally recall why its independence from serbia could be seen as a good thing for the people of kosovo.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:43 (5 years ago) Permalink
No that isn't what I mean. (also wether Western Govt's wanted Kosovar independence or not shouldn't make that independence any more or less desirable per se)
I'm not suggesting any of these countries either deserve or don't deserve independence (just that western policy towards Kosovo was unusual as the usual state of affairs is to preseve integrity of the nation state).
Its more that I was trying to suggest that Tibet has a higher profile as an actual occupied state in western minds, whereas the others are probably thought of as regions - and that itself must be at least partially responsible for pro-Tibetan feeling in the west.
― laxalt, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:46 (5 years ago) Permalink
Surely one of the Kosovans' core claims to independence is that Kosova corresponds to what a nation-state is supposed to be?
― Noodle Vague, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:50 (5 years ago) Permalink
yeah, undeniably. though again: palestine is fairly prominent in the west. those other places barely even register as names, kurdistan excepted. i think there's some kind of insinuation threaded through this line -- i don't know what it is exactly, but my main reaction is 'so what?'
western policy towards Kosovo was unusual as the usual state of affairs is to preseve integrity of the nation state
greater serbia wasn't a nation state. plus the west had been operating in the former yugoslavia pre-1999. plus it was the west (germany) that encouraged its break-up.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:51 (5 years ago) Permalink
I'm curious as to why Zizek is someone you guys read/talk about? Is he someone you read in school, and if so in what course of study? Or is he a big public intellectual in the UK or Australia or somewhere, and in those places public intellectuals are taken seriously? I'm just ignorant but curious, not trying to be snarky.
― Euler, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:52 (5 years ago) Permalink
-- Euler, Saturday, April 19, 2008 2:52 PM (7 seconds ago) Bookmark Link
he's definitely a prominent public intellectual -- ie he doesn't just address a specialist philosophy audience. (there is a q-mark over what his specialism is, perhaps.)
there've been about four films made about him, he gets new yorker profiles done on him, he gets into the LRB, guardian, etc, and he publishes a lot.
he's achieved this mostly post-9/11 and i was at uni before then and anyway he doesn't have much to say on my subject (history).
as for public intellectuals being taken seriously -- britain has often perceived itself as not giving intellectuals their due, in comparison with france where they alledgedly have a bigger public profile.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:57 (5 years ago) Permalink
What do you mean by greater serbia?
― laxalt, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:57 (5 years ago) Permalink
Yeah, the French version of Play Your Cards Right was hosted by Louis Althusser.
― Noodle Vague, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:59 (5 years ago) Permalink
in that case, i agree Yugoslavia, like USSR not a nation state
but kosovo was part of Serbia, not part of Yugoslavia. Same reason Estonias independence a different matter to, say, Dagestans, no?
― laxalt, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:59 (5 years ago) Permalink
He also was on the DVD of _Children of Men_, and made me realize that I did not in fact like _Children of Men_.
― Eppy, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:03 (5 years ago) Permalink
-- Noodle Vague, Saturday, April 19, 2008 2:59 PM (13 seconds ago) Bookmark Link
well this is the thing. but the received opinion is that french intellectuals had a nicer time of it.
-- laxalt, Saturday, April 19, 2008 2:59 PM (9 seconds ago) Bookmark Link
i don't think this is a very fruitful way to look at this issue -- comparatively, from the outside, but also using unchanging categories like 'serbia' and 'kosovo', and indeed 'nation-state'. "kosovo was part of Serbia, not part of Yugoslavia", but serbia was "part of" yugoslavia, so...
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:05 (5 years ago) Permalink
Yeah I wasn't skitting you I was just playing the comedy disinformation game.
― Noodle Vague, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:06 (5 years ago) Permalink
I.E. yes of course this is a widespread perception but from my experience French TV channels frequently mistake po-faced earnestness for intellectualism. NOT THAT THEY ARE ALONE IN THIS
― Noodle Vague, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:07 (5 years ago) Permalink
Ok, thanks for the help! I work in pretty mainstream analytic philosophy in the US (and also in France), and it would be weird for any of us to get attention on a general interest internet message board. But we all have provocative political things to say, it's just that we don't work on those things as our speciality and so we don't receive attention for them. I wanted to gauge better why Zizek gets this kind of attention, since he's never come up in a discussion I've had with colleagues in the US or France.
― Euler, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:08 (5 years ago) Permalink
The west has quite clearly encouraged the breakup of state-nations such as yugoslavia, and the USSR. Whether it is fruitful or not, I still find the west encouraging the breakup of nation-states to be unusual. This distinction clearly exists, fruitful or not
― laxalt, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:10 (5 years ago) Permalink
-- laxalt, Saturday, April 19, 2008 3:10 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Link
ussr was an empire rather than a state-nation or nation-state.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:15 (5 years ago) Permalink
state-nations do sometimes have a tendency to be constructed that way don't they!
― laxalt, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:17 (5 years ago) Permalink
not on expert on how far it had a 'national' identity -- from the rate of break-up, i'm thinking maybe not too much. of course, this could be down to western 'encouragement', but it does seem to have been unusually fissile.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:23 (5 years ago) Permalink
new celebrity eggheads? (just looking for ideas. zizek is 60 next year and he seems like the tail end of a eurotheory wave.)
― tipsy mothra, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:34 (5 years ago) Permalink
Whether it is fruitful or not, I still find the west encouraging the breakup of nation-states to be unusual.
Divide and conquer. Nationalism, the idea that particular ethnic groups should have their own discrete states, is a recent ideology and never a neutral one. There is no consistent U.S. policy toward ethnic nationalism -- it's mostly encourage the break up of our enemies/competitors (Russia, Serbia, Iraq), and help our friends stick together (Pakistan).
― Gavin, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:49 (5 years ago) Permalink
Nationalism, the idea that particular ethnic groups should have their own discrete states, is a recent ideology and never a neutral one.
kind of a CHALLENGING OPINION. what ideologies are neutral? what political philosophies are older? (and therefore more valid?)
anyway, nationalism doesn't have to specify 'ethnic groups' and your view of US influence would gratify the state department.
(did the US do *that much* to aid chechnya against russia?)
i don't get why you (and laxalt) are so keen on the preserving territorial integrity of serbia and russia!
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:55 (5 years ago) Permalink
But Gavin, I don't really think the US has encouraged the breakup of either Russia or Iraq! (precisely why Kosovo is something of an anomaly).
I have no particular desire to preserve territorial integrity of either serbia or russia, but neither do i believe that fragmentation is a default good for peoples either (the smaller the state, the weaker when it comes up against commerical interests?)
― laxalt, Saturday, 19 April 2008 15:04 (5 years ago) Permalink
It seemed like some posters were assuming it's always good and right and natural for particular ethnic (or maybe I should say "cultural" to be more expansive) groups to have their own self-governing political entities, and were assuming that the U.S. is somehow consistent on this question. I was trying to point out the actual pattern of U.S. support for cultural nationalism around the world is consistent, but only with U.S. interests. I am not justifying it.
As far as "keen on Serbia's territorial integrity," that is much less important to me than explaining what actually happened, not some Hollywooded-up genocide -> U.S. benevolent cluster bombing -> happy flag-waving new nation paradigm that is continually regurgitated by the media. I don't know what crawled up your ass, I might as well ask you why you are so keen on the U.S. paying Al Qaeda to fuck with Serbia back in the '90s!
― Gavin, Saturday, 19 April 2008 15:07 (5 years ago) Permalink
But Gavin, I don't really think the US has encouraged the breakup of either Russia or Iraq
No, but Serbia is a historical Russian ally, so fucking them up does weaken Russia. Combined with the "Color Revolutions" along Russia's border and the message supporting Kosovo sends to other minorities in Russia (including Chechnya)... I guess the jury can still be out on this one. And as for Iraq, we will just have to disagree, or maybe take it to another thread. I think that dividing the country along ethnic lines has been in the cards for a while and certain policies (walls, arming various militias) are exacerbating this.
― Gavin, Saturday, 19 April 2008 15:11 (5 years ago) Permalink
iirc you were on the kosovo thread again getting misty-eyed about milosovic?
i don't buy the hollywood version, but 'what actually happened' doesn't reflect so well on the serbs.
again, the US acting in its interests is challenging-opinion material. what state or actor on the international stage doesn't do this?
haha the US *wishes* it could control iraq to that degree.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 15:14 (5 years ago) Permalink
No, but Serbia is a historical Russian ally, so fucking them up does weaken Russia
"fucking them up"
― G00blar, Saturday, 19 April 2008 15:16 (5 years ago) Permalink
banriquit, you keep drawing these false dichotomies and putting me into them instead of responding to my posts. I have reservations about encouraging Kosovo independence and disagree with the mainstream narrative about these events -- oh I must be a misty-eyed apologist for the savage Serbs! What exactly does dragging the discussion down to this level accomplish other than re-establishing your "big dawg" status on this thread?
again, the US acting in its interests is challenging-opinion material. what state or actor on the international stage doesn't do this?
Yes, well, no shit. Yet people still believe we invade other countries for some sort of greater good, like stopping bad guys. I guess we shouldn't bother to remind them how the world actually works.
― Gavin, Saturday, 19 April 2008 15:24 (5 years ago) Permalink
that seems to me a pretty big dichotomy: acting in self-interest/stopping bad guys.
but to respond, ok:
No, but Serbia is a historical Russian ally, so fucking them up does weaken Russia. Combined with the "Color Revolutions" along Russia's border and the message supporting Kosovo sends to other minorities in Russia (including Chechnya)...
tbh my reaction is like, AND? i don't really have a dog in this fight. on the whole i'll take my capitalism with (on the whole) the rule of law rather than without.
And as for Iraq, [...] I think that dividing the country along ethnic lines has been in the cards for a while and certain policies (walls, arming various militias) are exacerbating this.
i seriously don't think the US has the power to direct events the way you're suggesting here; i don't even know if they anticipated the break-up and the transfer of power to iran. this is not a great example of US cunning.
― banriquit, Saturday, 19 April 2008 15:29 (5 years ago) Permalink
zizek ebooks is prob one of my favorite feeds tbh
― BIG HOOS aka the denigrated boogeyman (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Thursday, 1 August 2013 21:33 (8 months ago) Permalink
― flopson, Thursday, 1 August 2013 21:33 (8 months ago) Permalink
nobody's saying you can't critique z. b/c you haven't read his heavier tomes. what i was responding to wasn't the fact that you were critiquing him, but the fact that a major point of your critique was that you saw in zizek a lot of hot air and posturing without substance, and i'm saying, well, there are these books of his where, um, i do think there's a lot of substance.
r. pippin sez 'srs book is srs', writes ginormous review to demonstrate
― j., Saturday, 3 August 2013 10:37 (8 months ago) Permalink
interesting review. funny how it seems Zizek has sorta come around to Sartre's notion of consciousness as a "hole in Being."
― ryan, Saturday, 3 August 2013 15:52 (8 months ago) Permalink
Hasn't he been saying something along those lines since at least Tarrying With The Negative?
― Tim F, Saturday, 3 August 2013 23:08 (8 months ago) Permalink
― opie dead eyed piece of shit (Merdeyeux), Tuesday, 24 September 2013 15:21 (6 months ago) Permalink
― j., Tuesday, 24 September 2013 17:32 (6 months ago) Permalink
― Mordy , Tuesday, 1 October 2013 22:42 (6 months ago) Permalink
― Mordy , Sunday, 6 October 2013 05:37 (6 months ago) Permalink
― Mordy , Friday, 11 October 2013 17:37 (6 months ago) Permalink
They reject the concept of fruit
― wmlynch, Friday, 11 October 2013 18:53 (6 months ago) Permalink
uh he's doing a lot of interviews
― markers, Monday, 14 October 2013 07:45 (6 months ago) Permalink
i just found a bunch more
shocking for a man who seems pretty prominent most of the time and also has a movie out lol
― the Shearer of simulated snowsex etc. (Dwight Yorke), Monday, 14 October 2013 10:35 (6 months ago) Permalink
― Mordy , Monday, 9 December 2013 05:21 (4 months ago) Permalink
And was this also not the truth about the whole of the Mandela memorial ceremony? All the crocodile tears of the dignitaries were a self-congratulatory exercise, and Jangtjie translated them into what they effectively were: nonsense. What the world leaders were celebrating was the successful postponement of the true crisis which will explode when poor, black South Africans effectively become a collective political agent. They were the Absent One to whom Jantjie was signalling, and his message was: the dignitaries really don't care about you. Through his fake translation, Jantjie rendered palpable the fake of the entire ceremony.
This article was amended on 16 December 2013 to comply with our editorial guidelines
― A Skanger Barkley (nakhchivan), Thursday, 19 December 2013 03:53 (3 months ago) Permalink
― VENIET IMBER (imago), Thursday, 19 December 2013 03:54 (3 months ago) Permalink
brotherhood, unity, etc.
― j., Monday, 6 January 2014 21:34 (3 months ago) Permalink
omg that doctor story at the end
― Mordy , Monday, 6 January 2014 21:56 (3 months ago) Permalink
lot of books coming out this year
― markers, Friday, 14 February 2014 19:47 (2 months ago) Permalink
like, at least four
he just does a word scramble of all his other books though
― sent from my butt (harbl), Friday, 14 February 2014 19:48 (2 months ago) Permalink
I like the Philip Kaufman version, with Donald Sutherland. The ending, when the world is already occupied by body snatchers, you remember how the snatchers react when they see still humans? [Imitates Donald Sutherland’s gaping jaw howl] For years it became fashion among my friends to greet each other like this.
― images of war violence and historical smoking (Dr Morbius), Friday, 28 February 2014 20:41 (1 month ago) Permalink
heh seeing his initials like that made me think of
― Ward Fowler, Friday, 28 February 2014 21:02 (1 month ago) Permalink
My last revisionism: I quite liked—and I know this is the lowest of the lowest—the last two seasons of 24. You have Jack Bauer torturing, blah, blah, and you have Alison Taylor, good liberal president. They both got in the bad luck and break down. It shows very honestly how, within today’s universe, there is no way to be noble.
SF: You make me want to see it now.
SŽ: It’s not that good, I have to tell you. Life is too short. Fuck, even if you count out the publicity, it’s 24 times 45 minutes! Unless you are freak with nothing but time, it’s just too much.
― difficult listening hour, Saturday, 1 March 2014 06:31 (1 month ago) Permalink
SF: I like it, but it’s sort of falling back on titties.
― j., Saturday, 1 March 2014 14:30 (1 month ago) Permalink