Guy Debord: The Role of Žižek (a few excerpts)

“In ‘radical theory’ Žižek currently represents formal pseudofreedom and the pseudocritique of manners and values — the two inseparable manifestations of all fake, co-opted contemporary thought. Everyone does everything to present him as a misunderstood and unappreciated thinker, shockingly audacious and unjustly despised; and everyone praises him, from Purple Fashion magazine to London’s Royal Opera House. Despite the absence of any real critiques of Žižek, we see developing a sort of analogy to the famous theory of the increase of resistances in socialist regimes: the more Žižek is hailed as a brilliant leader of modern philosophy, the more people rush to his defense against incredible plots. Repetitions of the same clumsy stupidities in his books are automatically seen as breathtaking innovations. They are beyond any attempt at explanation; his admirers consume them as confusedly and arbitrarily as Žižek produced them, because they recognize in them the consistent expression of a subjectivity. This is true, but it is a subjectivity on the level of a graphic designer educated by the indie media. Žižek’s ‘critiques’ never go beyond the innocuous humor typical of nightclub comedians or The Daily Show.”

“Žižek is a Slovenian from Ljubljana who envied the chic of the French of Paris, and then the radical chic of Park Avenue, and his successful ascent up from the provinces is most exemplary at a time when the system is striving to usher everybody into a respectful production/consumption of culture — even ‘avant-garde’ culture if nothing else will do. We are not referring here to the ultimately conformist exploitation of any thought that professes to be innovative and critical. We are pointing out Žižek’s directly conformist use of ‘radical politics’.”

“Žižek is to philosophy what Tarantino is (or was) to film: both possess the appearance of a certain freedom in style or subject matter (in Žižek’s case, a slightly free manner in comparison with the stale formulas of writing theory). But they have taken this very freedom from elsewhere: from what they have been able to grasp of the advanced experiences of the era. They are postmodernism for dummies.”

(Debord’s integral text can be found here.)

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