New Zizek-Fiennes Collaboration

August 28, 2008

Of interest: The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is set to come out soon… looks like there is going to be a whole series of Pervert’s Guides (I think that the next one is going to be Pervert’s Guide to Opera). Also, check out the article, ‘A Pervert’s Guide to Family’ in Lacanian Ink.

* In relation to the Family Myth of Ideology, has anyone read Jameson’s article, ‘Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture’? There is some crossover in this article with the family narrative in cinema.

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4 Responses to “New Zizek-Fiennes Collaboration”

  1. battleofthegiants said

    “This brings us back to our starting point, to the “concrete” character of the two films, depicting ordinary people in a terse realistic mode. Any philosopher knows Hegel’s counter-intuitive use of the opposition between “abstract” and “concrete”: in ordinary language, “abstract” are general notions, as opposed to “concrete” really existing singular objects and events; for Hegel, on the contrary, it is such immediate reality which is “abstract,” and to render it “concrete” means to deploy the complex universal context that gives meaning to it. Therein resides the problem of the two films: both are ABSTRACT in their very “concreteness.” The function of their down-to-earth depiction of concrete individuals struggling for life is not just to avoid cheap commercial spectacle, but to obliterate the historical context.”

    The same sort of logic is involved in “Live Free or Die Hard”, the latest in the series. Bruce Willis, your stereotypical (classist view of) working-class man of the body, is set against a huge terrorist plot that’s centred around the immaterial – computer coding and hacking. Willis’ solution is to smash and crash, of course, and not combat them at the level of the immaterial. The funny part is, of course, the ridiculousness of his ‘concrete’ actions – they are MORE removed from reality than the workings of the computers, which actually DO have a corporeal effect in our world.

    Secondly, the whole ruse is to reunite Willis with his estranged daughter.

    Z’s comments on the 9-11 movies mirror Lukacs’ description of bourgeois thought in “History and Class Consciousness” – i.e. they look upon the world as a series of separate objects or facts, rather than historical processes linked to the operation of the whole. In this way the attack on the US appear to be totally irrational, as opposed to a result of American Foreign Policy.

    This is just ripped out of the (First?) chapter of DoLC, with that first sentence added.

    I forget where the argument goes, however. What conclusion about the Family does he make? It appears as though he’s saying that disaster movies aren’t really about disasters, but about the family and how this family is founded in the re-instatement of paternal “Law” brought on by the mediation of a distracting event. Is that what he’s saying, perhaps mirroring Naomi Kline’s thesis that Capitalism is now using disasters to justify itself? (Georgia is being attacked?! Quick, NATO, pull out your guns and try to bring Georgia into NATO as an ally against our rival imperialists! National hatred in Yugoslavia!? Ignore the fact that it all started because international loans broke the back of the country and helped better integrate the territory into world Capital… just blame the Serbs and set up a Kangaroo Court to justify “humanitarian intervention”!)

    In “Parallax View” we see (perhaps) the opposite argument re: that Kurosawa movie about rape (I forget the name). There Z argues that the rape of the female protagonist is actually a stand-in for the military destruction of the country that is happening in the background. That is, it’s not a story of rape, but of war and the encounter with ‘feminine logic’ that economic upheaval brings…

  2. battleofthegiants said

    Mr The Thing pointed out to me yesterday that Astra Taylor (“Zizek!”) has a new Film at the TIFF:

    http://tiff08.ca/Blogs/blog/default.aspx?blg=1&id=584&t=The-making-of-Examined-Life
    http://www.sphinxproductions.com/pages/examinedlife.html

  3. dystopier said

    It’s from the second chapter of IDLC. I don’t have the book on me right now… but I remember thinking of the Family narrative as a kind of ideological displacement of class struggle (or class antagonism), with the re-unification of the family at the end of the films functioning as an ideological foreclosure of class antagonsim (at least, that’s how I’ve been interpreting this idea of the family narrative… as a kind of hegemonic representation of the bourgeois notion of family… and its vicissitudes). But I could also be conflating with Jameson’s argument in ‘Reification and Utopia in Mass Culture’. Jameson refers to the renewal of the family narrative as the utopian moment of these films.

  4. sonnyburnett said

    I kinda keep antagonism back in my mind also, when I watch horror movies, or any movie that has some external threat that must be defeated.

    One thing I’ve taken from Zizek is how these films almost always have some relationship, say, between a man & woman, father & son, or a family that is tore by INTERNAL antagonism – it can & must be read in feminine not-all terms.

    Then you have an EXTERNAL threat – mutants attacking a family stranded in their winnebago in the desert or genetically altered bats or snakes in which the newly-formed couple must defeat since they are the only ones that perceive the dire threat to the community – it can & must be read as that very internal antagonism in its ‘outward’ appearance.

    The logic is clear: feminine (mathematical)inherent-antagonism logic is primordial for Z, and the masculine (dynamical) external-threat logic is a retreat from the feminine logic, an attempt to heal that inherent antagonism. In Kantian terms, the mathematical logic is ‘domesticated’ or transposed into the phenomological/noumenal split, so the inherent antagonism appears to disrupt from the ‘outside’, from some external threat, from the noumenal realm.

    So simply kill off the mutuant monsters that attacks & you’ve sown up that inherent antagonism that has prevented the (incestuous)union, the couples hug, the credits roll toward the horizon, w/ the promise that everyone’ll get on from now on… The hollywood production of the couple/family.

    So the fundamental muslim enemy attacks our way of life in 9-11. This is now perceived as an external threat & our foreign policy is pitched & designed to meet that threat. What extactly is the inherent antagonism in our culture that this threat ‘domesticates’, transposes into something we all can fight against?

    =============
    Mr. The Thing: I’ve seen you’ve done some work on Kantian Transcendental Imagination, how Zizek develops it into THE key to Kant’s notion of spontaneity, radical freedom – all in the first chapter of Ticklish Subject. The problem I’m hoping you (or anyone!) have thoughts on: how does the Transcendental Synthesis of Apperception fit into this, exactly?

    In Ticklish, Z speaks of Apperception, but earlier he more fully develops it in the 1st chapter of Tarrying, in terms of Kant’s version of cogito, $, etc… Any thoughts?

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