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So: Who Is Zizek?

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A year or so ago I discovered that one of my relatives was reading some heavy-duty intellectual named Slavoj Zizek. Since she is merely an impressionable half century or so of age and her reading must be monitored, I asked her who Zizek was.

She told me I could read about him on Wikipedia, and even sent me a link to the relevant article.

I should mention that we've had philosophical differences before -- she was once an admirer of Ayn Rand, and I tried to persuade her that Randianism was crap. She now sees that it was crap, but I don't get any credit for my efforts at explaining this to her before she was ready.  Instead, she thinks of me as an officious intellectual meddler, and does things like referring me to Wikipedia for accounts of her recent reading material.

I read, but wasn't satisfied by, the Wikipedia article.

There's more about Zizek in a Routledge publication, "Fifty Key Postmodern Thinkers." It is arranged in reference-work fashion, alphabetically, so it begins with Adorno and ends with Zizek. I read it straight through, which yields odd juxtapositions -- pomo composer Philip Glass right before Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt. Anyway, in time I came to Zizek.

The Routledge exposition is an improvement upon the wiki.

Short version of their short version? Zizek is a bit of a Freudian (Lacanian subgenre), and a bit of a Marxist, and a bit of a post-Marxist as well. A "post-Marxist" if I understand it right (and the term recurs often in this survey book)  is someone who rejects the "meta-narrative" aspect of Marxism, the underlying Hegelian idea that there is a knowable direction to human history, but who seeks to retain such of Marxism as one can retain after rejecting that. Anyway, Zizek is one of those.

He also writes about movies, applying Lacan's ideas to Hitchcock's images. Although along with the image of him that I've chosen for this blog entry, there comes a quotation that sounds like an application instead of pomo Marxism to movies. Well, it's good to have more than one arrow in one's quiver.  

The only way to carry this further would be actually to read Zizek. But he doesn't seem like my sort of hot morning beverage, so I'll pass on it.



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