Zizek article in LRB on the Current Economic Crisis and the US Financial Bailout Plan

October 15, 2008

Check it out: “Don’t Just Do Something, Talk”


9 Responses to “Zizek article in LRB on the Current Economic Crisis and the US Financial Bailout Plan”

  1. sonnyburnett said

    Zizek the trickle-down supply-sider! Great stuff!

    If I didn’t know any Zizek, he would certainly read to me as a rather inconsistent conservative theorist who throws in a little marxist rhetoric to confuse us.

    Articles like this are proof that the man CAN write clearly & concisely. Reminds me of something I read about Lacan in Roudinesco’s biography. That the master, when pressed to explain himself to the uninitiated audience, could very well do so in simple, plain language.

  2. The Universal Singular said

    Are you suggesting that Zizek is our Master?? lol just kidding!

  3. battleofthegiants said

    Then we’d need to explain why Lacan was such a jerk when he did the “television” thing… I seem to remeber someone quoting Lacan to the effect of “They’ll get what they asked for!” You want clear and concice so you can accept or dismiss me? Ha! You’ll need to work harder than that!

  4. Joe said

    I’m not convinced that the real issue at stake in this essay is the bailout as such, in the sense that some want to read this as Zizek saying the bailout is a good thing (for Main Street). I think shifting the question from “State intervention or no?” to “what kind of State intervention?” is the key-point. By making something of an apology for the Democrats capitulation on the bailout, I think the bailout is of secondary importance for Zizek. The apology is for the appearance of State intervention for the people, not the “economically wrong” bailout.

    It is all too easy to be cynical in this interpretation, much in the same way that it was “all too easy to dismiss [Zizek’s] line of reasoning as a hypocritical defence of the rich,” as another moment of “they know very well (that the bailout doesn’t really help The people) but they do it anyway (affirm the bailout as a measure to protect The People).” I think we should resist this cynical reading and promote one that sees the debate over the bailout as one between “civilization and barbarism” in the sense he applies it to Stalinism and Fascism.

    The point of the essay, though, is not this apology. Zizek doesn’t think we should be debating whether we go the way of civilization or barbarism, whether the government should intervene on behalf of The People or (not) intervene on behalf of The (Free) Market. The point of the essay is precisely to encourage shifting this debate, nominally won by the Democrats in the name of The People, to a more productive one about what kind of State interventions really help The People.

  5. The Universal Singular said

    Agreed… And is that not how the debate in the US has shifted recently – with McCain mocking Obama for wanting to redistribute wealth, as if this is the devil’s medicine?

    BTW… who is Joe?

  6. Joe said

    A guy from Portland, Oregon taking a year off before applying to graduate school.

  7. The Universal Singular said

    Cool! Thanks for your comment, Joe.

  8. sonnyburnett said

    Hey Joe – don’t let that year off stretch any further. My ‘year off’ turned into 15 years! I’m now trying to get back into a grad program & I’m finding it tough to do so.

    Mind me asking where you are applying & what type of program? Interested in doing work in Zizek?

  9. Joe said

    Yeah, sure, Sonny. I know what you mean. I didn’t decide to take this year off without much hesitation, and after an initial round of applying to grad-school without much success. I have more schools in mind than I know I will eventually apply to, but the philosophy program at the University of New Mexico (working with Adrian Johnston) is at the top of my list. I also have my sights on the philosophy program at The New School, UT Austin and University of Oregon. I will probably apply to the English programs at SUNY Buffalo, UC Davis and my alma mater, Portland State University. I have tossed around the idea of pursuing an MLS too, but find the prospect of paying for graduate school too distasteful right now.

    I would like to study Zizek, yes, but I want to pursue psychoanalysis clinically too. I’m interested in the work of Shingu Kazushige as a serious grounding point for (Lacanian) psychoanalysis, Buddhist studies and Zizek’s critique of ideology. I am both skeptical and appreciative of Zizek regarding this triad, and think he offers a critique of “Western Buddhism” that resonates with the Buddhist tradition more than it flatly contradicts or undermines it. Otherwise, wherever the split-subject is encountered in philosophy is my concern. As far as literary studies are concerned, I’m less intensely focused, but have a long standing adoration for Blake, Emerson and Irish literature.

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