Zizek is cool but rude:

to Marxist-feminists, and Deleuze and Guattari:

"Let us take one of the commonplaces of the Marxist-feminist criticism of psychoanalysis, the idea that its insistence on the crucial role of the Oedipus complex and the nuclear-family triangle transforms a historically conditioned form of patriarchal family into a feature of universal human condition: is not this effort to historicize the family triangle precisely an attempt to elude the 'hard kernel' which announces itself through the 'patriarchal family'--the Real of the Law, the rock of castration?"

Titanic as the Thing

The story of the Titanic has never really intrigued me but I loved Zizeck's reading of it. Firstly, I had no knowledge of the overwhelming parallels between Morgan Robertson's story and the real event of the Titanic's crash. The fact that both ships were labeled "unsinkable" and then both sunk after hitting icebergs is eerily fascinating. The same description could be used for peoples' obsession with the underwater photos of the wreckage. People find jouissance in looking at images of the aftermath of a tragedy.

Zizek's a consumer, too.

Zizek seems to be arguing that were we, the everyman, to fully comprehend the 'reality' of the exchange farce, "the effective act of exchange would no longer be possible" (p 20). That we cannot grasp its scope and depth is essential to its veil, he claims -- certainly echoing the likes of Jameson and Baudrilliard on the tactics of postmodern forces in ensuring our complacency. I have a few issues to take up with the politics of this claim.

a third abstraction: non-liquid money in the Zizekian framework?

Given Zizek's discussion of Marx's unfinished treatment of "the material character of money," it is interesting to consider what separates us - in this 21st century multinational iteration of capitalism - from the very exchange value system of which Zizek speaks (p 18). Zizek is interested in the ways in which the value of money is abstracted from its actual material form. Yet we currently reside in a moment when tangible gold-standard transactions are expired.

more thoughts on zizek

The last third of Zizek's exercise in thought is full of examples and jokes. These little anecdotes explain his thoughts will and are followed by a close analysis that illuminates their deeper meaning. However, we don't have a basis for the analysis as we did not read Lacan, who I take to be some sort of psychoanalyst in the vein of Freud. The anecdotes, therefore, seem to be touching upon something profound, but I only understood the surface value of these lessons. I actually enjoyed reading the anecdotes as they were a happy reprieve from the Lacan vector field/graph creation of Zizek.

Pretty good visual of the Lacanian Real


Hey, I found this online, and I thought it was a lot cleaner and clearer of a representation of the Lacanian Real (and all the concomitant desiring lacking identification processes) than the 'evolving paperclip' diagrams in Zizek, so I thought I'd share it:


--Guattari Hero

cynicism: steal this movie


Zizek's critique of the Althusserian concept of ideology in light of the rise of cynicism was interesting to me. It is a pretty intense wrinkle in the seemingly never ending quest to unravel the question of if and how the means of production in our society reproduces itself. He discusses how cynicism looks like a "kind of perverted negation of the negation" (30), in which even though people are able to see the inconsistencies in problematic ideas, they somehow still refrain from acting.

strange objects of filesharing


Why someone would scan all of the book and post it is beyond me. It's also not a very good scan. However, I was so startled to see this that I thought I'd share. I guess it's always nice to have a searchable copy (providing you could OCR this).

thoughts from part 2

Thinking about my last post, I realized how ridiculous a laugh track is. Zizek glosses over it with that quote I provided last time; the laugh track basically serves as way for us to realize something is funny and react to it without actually having to react. That is the ridiculous part; the ridiculous part of the laugh track is how far out of touch from reality it is. TV shows are there to mimic reality to the point where we can identify with the characters to the point where we escape reality for 22 minutes. However, there is no laugh track in reality.

thoughts from part 1

Well, Zizek has managed to fry my brain in ways that only G&D, and possibly Huyssen, have fried it. I like to think of myself as the everyman, capable of understand pretty much everything that is thrown my way. However, I feel lost, dazed, and confused by these past couple of readings. The lack of a coherent point or flow has driven me mad. One page will talk about capitalism, then skip to phalluses and anal, and then decide to jump to anti-Semitism and ideologies.

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