Pseudo-Žižek

By now most everyone is familiar with Žižek’s style of thinking. Often there is a high level of theoretical engagement with a particular topic mediated through a series of counter-intuitive assertions, often bordering on offensive, and a number of jokes that display impressive sense of comic timing. The man’s numerous and often manifest personal tics that he (rightly really) does not hide during his presentation and lectures make him one of the most easily impersonated academics around. Young men (and it does seem to be mainly men) in theological and philosophical circles have taken to impersonating Žižek’s style of thinking. Pretend there is some catastrophic event that wipes away civilization as we know it and after a long period of decline and regeneration the scholars of the future begin to try and put together Žižek’s corpus from millions of fragments found on the recently discovered, but degraded, Google archive. Surely these scholars would have to compile the texts of Pseudo-Žižek and find some way to differentiate these texts from Žižek’s actual writing. I am sure these future scholars will be much more skilled at Žižekian philology than myself, but perhaps they will find these few suggestions helpful.

If the counter-intuitive idea is counter-intuitive simply because it doesn’t make sense then it is likely a work of Pseudo-Žižek. If the political position is aggressively pessimistic about the current state of the world but then includes some discussion about what is needed is a more faithful ecclesia then it is likely a work of Pseudo-Žižek. If the author goes on at length about how the real politics is beyond Right and Left while supporting the notion of conservative social values and some form of national socialism then it is a work of Pseudo-Žižek. Remember, Žižek doesn’t balk at saying he is on the Left and those who babble on and on about being beyond Right and Left always mean they are the third column of the Right and just too stupid to get any of the good spoils for themselves. If these scholars of the future don’t make these differentiations then they will confuse Žižek the committed egalitarian Communist with the third-way fascism of some of his self-declared acolytes.

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4 Responses to “Pseudo-Žižek”

  1. The Necromancer Says:

    This post seems like deja vu. Maybe all philosophy has that quality…I’ve noticed at my local “popular” bookstore that there are editions of his work starting to appear more frequently. Perhaps a sign that the catastrophic event in question is just around the corner…

  2. Ben Myers Says:

    Hey Anthony, I’ve just posted a quick reply to your comment on my blog (regarding ecology and nature). If there’s any chance you could send me some of your own work in this area, I’d be eternally grateful!

    I’m a complete novice in this area, and your comment made me realise that I’ve obviously bitten off WAY more than I can chew…

  3. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    I’ll respond over there, but just wanted to say quickly that this wasn’t directed at you as such. I was feverish and I did use the term pseudo-Zizek in a comment and thought it might make a funny post. The humor got lost as my affect of illness manifested in the writing.

  4. Alex Says:

    Another psuedo-Zizek giveaway would be to deploy his critique of identity politics in order to not give a damn about women, homosexuals, blacks etc, whereas Zizek supports all their liberation struggles, just under the rubric of universalism.


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