for the love of Zizek…

Since the latest ‘academic rock star’ – aka Slavoj Zizek – has made his presence known on the blog through various appeals and challenges to his thought, it would be interesting to get your collective take on his review of Star Wars Episode III found here on the webzine In These Times.

May the Lacan be With You…

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  1. Well, for one thing, I thought it was interesting how many readers’ responses were along the lines of, “oh, cool – so Zizek’s saying Christianity is bad and Buddhism is good. dig it.” – when that was in fact quite contrary to what he was saying (I was somewhat attuned to this as his angle, though, after reading The Puppet and the Dwarf).

    I’m still kinda chewing on this, though, in the larger sense of the political implications of the argument and his reading of the Star Wars film. He just might be on to something…I really need to read some Hardt and Negri to get the whole bit on “Empire”, but I have to admit, I am presently finding Zizek to be one of the most compelling (and fun to read) cultural theorists and commentators out there.

    His deal on diabolos and symbolos is interesting – never thought about that, I must say.

    Typically sprawling Zizek, though, throughout – that paragraph on The Da Vinci Code is kind of random, probably just an idea he’s had cookin’ for awhile and wanted to squeeze in somewhere (what’s that David Jasper says about “never have a thought you don’t publish”? maybe not the BEST line to take…).

    I think his cautioning against this watery, marketized-Westernized appropriation of Buddhism is spot on, especially as it potentially feeds the monster, so to speak. I’m not sure Zizek really has (and this is not to say that I DO have, but…) a grounded understanding of Buddhism proper (if there is such a thing), but I take and appreciate his point about the co-opted pop-cultural (re)incarnation of it we most often encounter.

    Ultimately, I just cannot accept the conclusion that he comes to in The Puppet and the Dwarf – namely, that to truly believe in and accept the “subversive kernel” of Christianity, that God-in-Christ is this “diabolos”, this internally separated, rent-in-two being, that our only faithful response is to abandon Christianity itself (that is, its institutional/ecclesial incarnation) for the sake of Christ – akin, but not quite, to Eckhart’s “taking leave of God for God’s sake.” It seems to me that hope lies where the truth resides, and rather than forsake Christianity, we (maybe even we believers along with the atheists like Zizek) should be working to constructively further the process of making Christianity into something that can most fully achieve its redemptive potential. I’ll admit right along with him and other skeptics/cynics that it’s a jacked-up, sinking enterprise, one that presently seems to be serving empire and not the Kingdom of God, but if there’s something about the story it (we) professes that gets at the truth, that gives us some hope, that enables this (if violent) love – that’s where I’m going to put my money.

    But hey, what should I expect – the guy is a professed atheist. However, I can’t help but find little prophetic nuggets whenever I read him…

  2. hey brannon – good thoughts here. In your current ‘roll-in-the-hay’ with Zizek, have you read ‘The Fragile Absolute’? Certainly worth picking up in relation to all the reimagining of St. Paul going on at present.

    I like Zizek in the same way I like watching Pulp Fiction – there is truth packaged in a violent way that both disturbs and enhances my sense of the Holy. However… it is still a movie. And in the end, akin to Lenny Kravitz, Zizek is still trying to be a Rock Star rather than an ‘artist’. The “spectacular, spectacular” of it all is fun, intriguing, and provokes thoughts and response. But when the chips are down – crisis hits, a loved one dies, a child is in need of comfort, a person is discouraged… I doubt I will had them anything Zizek has written nor reflect on it for solace. In that way, this becomes the measure of what remains and what turns to dust – the gift of solace and hope drawn from a source larger than itself…

  3. I haven’t read The Fragile Absolute, mostly because someone apparently stole or lost the Glasgow University library copy…probably will do so at some point though. I’m going to be way behind by the time I get around to reading all the St. Paul fetish stuff – Badiou on Paul, Zizek on Paul, Agamben on Paul, ad nauseum. I actually think it’s quite a cool trend, but I just don’t know when I’ll finally make time to read it all…it was cool hearing Caputo and Brad talk about the Syracuse conference, though!

  4. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you!
    I have a **ebooks** site/blog. It pretty much covers ebook/info/money making related stuff.
    Come and check it out if you get time 🙂

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