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Sunday, 08 April 2007


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Why you should actually care about my misprision, I don't know. Seemed salient at the time.

Joseph Kugelmass

This actually reminds me of another thing happening right now with Zizek: by publishing editorials in the New York Times that are written in Strunk and White English, with awkward but overly digested sound bites from writers like Hegel, he is helping to build higher the walls between academia (where he writes and thinks one way) and the "common man," who, as we imagine him, can't read more than one sentence of Hegel without succumbing to narcolepsy.

We all know what Zizek needs to do. Blogspot, Wordpress, TypePad -- hell, I'd even friend him on LJ. Theorist, get thyself a blog.

Jason Adams

I had Zizek for the "Lacan Master Class" and found that everything he said sound like it came directly from one of his books like well-rehearsed act or something. Showmanship aside, the Lacanian emphasis on 'lack' rings increasingly hollow for me, as does the Lenin-celebrations, etc. In any case, I also wanted to alert you to my new blog>Zoepolitics if you feel like adding it to your blogroll, I used to do>Immanent Multiplicity.


Wow. I disagree. You know I'm not a reflexive Zizekian, but I just watched the xtras and found his solo turn quite excellent. Especially the opening bit about oblique representation. That is exactly what I would say about the film too, if somebody rolled tape with me talking.

In general, god, what a wonderful set of extras. You can say what you like, but, holy christ, look at least at what Cuaron is trying to do here... Would you rather have had, dunno, a Clive Owen blooper reel?


I've got other things on my mind tonight, but really, you don't think they edited him into the mundane? I thought I made it clear in the post that I thought he had really interesting things to say about the film, but that he'd been edited down to where he sounded like some undergraduate's idea of profundity. Don't crucify me, but maybe it's because I've seen him riff more than a couple of times that I knew he wasn't being elusive and indirect, but that one of his brilliant fifty-minute-long improvisations had been chopped beyond recognition?

Anthony Paul Smith


I haven't seen the extras yet but of six people I've heard say anything about it you are the only one to be expressing this particular opinion. That ranges from guy with high school diploma-artist to PhD holding dude. When I first read your post I did think you seemed to be expecting an academic, nay, a peer-reviewed, rigorous, and scholarly piece of work, which seem to be a little much for a DVD extra.

I'm trying not to crucify you, but it's just so hard not to sometimes. Especially with all this extra wood and nails always lying around my apartment.

Scott Eric Kaufman

I'm having a hard time localizing your complaint here, Anthony. I think that Zizek would have been able to've made a brilliant point had he not been edited to bits by an overzealous producer. I don't think we're disagreeing here. All I'm saying is that what he was allowed to say was interesting, but that what I imagine he actually said was much, much more so. I'm not expecting a peer reviewed work here, merely something more than the faux-profundity of (what was likely) the former Discovery Channel director, schooled in the tradition of withholding everything interesting until the final commercial break ...

... in short, between this and the Foucault thread, I just want to spit nails. How many times can I say "I think the very interesting ideas of these brilliant folk are being obscured by unnecessary detritus" before someone realizes that I do, in fact, believe what I so plainly stated. (I.e. that I was frustrated by the producers' reluctance to let the man speak, and that if I had my druthers they'd have let him ramble on for a while.)

Anthony Paul Smith

No complaint, just an observation. I'll try and help you localize that though. I wasn't clear, I didn't mean to suggest that you expected from Zizek a peer-reviewed bladdy-blah, but that you expected from the DVD extra. People get edited and sometimes it comes out badly, from what other people have told me this is not one of those times. This really isn't a statement about your character, I was just making conversation by pointing out that most people I've talked to really like it and that your standards for DVD extras were a bit higher than most peoples. I do hope you won't write a mock news dialogue saying that I'm stupid now. I do think on the Foucault thing I've not really commented on your post the way you are suggesting.

I have to ask though, isn't editing taking away detritus? I guess it was just a metaphor.


I agree with APS.


We can at least agree that "decent for a DVD extra" is a low, low standard, no? The point of my post was to say that I saw germs of more developed thoughts slashed to bits by an editor who wanted to make Žižek look like a layman's version of an intellectual. That doesn't seem like the best approach to Žižek, who plays the role of the public intellectual poorly. Given that they didn't fill the DVD with 28 hours of commentary, they could've included more with him, such that what he said would be more than just suggestive. (Again, because what he unintentionally "suggested" sounded so interesting.)


Jesus you're on a rampage Scott first you try to make everyone stop talking about Foucault and now you're saying we need to burn our Zizek books. Is it because you hate Theory?

Anthony Paul Smith

Low, low standard for what? Not for a DVD extra. That is the context for the standard right?

I can certainly agree, though, that for someone like yourself who has read Zizek and is pursuing a humanities PhD the editing would obscure what you find interesting (or would have found interesting as the case may be). Seriously, my only point was that you seem to have a minority opinion on this. Nothing wrong in that as it was really just small talk. Sorry it got confused as being part of the great Death to Theory Blog Wars of 2005-continuing.

Anthony Paul Smith

Though I think I might disagree that Zizek is a bad public intellectual. I'd have to see the argument for that, perhaps with some empirical data and a methodology, before I could assent.


Again, what APS said.

I just really, really liked the extras. Not going after you here, and certainly not in concert with anything that might be happening elsewhere.


Anthony's comment about Zizek as public intellectual caught my eye. Personally, I like to think of Zizek as the CEO of a small Slovenian cultural production firm that went rapidly from niche market (boutique) to a globalized market rather suddenly. Insofar as public intellectuals are or should do that, he's phenomenally successful. Insofar as public intellectuals are people who should have stuff to say about politics that will help anyone do anything important about anything which is important, I've yet to see evidence of his being one.

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