This may not be to people’s tastes, but what about putting together a panel for the upcoming Historical Materialism conference in NYC on Zizek, Marx and Method?

I told you so

The conference is more or less about the resurgence of interest in Marx, so I think a panel on Zizek would be pertinent.

It would also give some focus to the next few rounds of readings…

Marx 100-Mark-1971

P.s. What would Marx have thought of having his face on money??


For all new and incoming members,

a project that I wanted to start along with this group was a “referece-dictionary” of Zizek’s examples. The idea was that as he (sometimes) changes what he says about the examples he makes, it would be useful to be able to look up examples that you’re interested in.

The “At the level of a bug…” page was set up for that. So, if you’re going through other Zizek peices and you note some examples, add them to this page.

Does anyone want to ‘bottomline’ doing this for The Tick? I’m happy to do it (it was my idea, after all) but if someone else is keen on it there’s no point of us both doing the same thing.


Here is a quote from The Fright of Real Tears (2001) which, I think, suggests that the Hegelian ‘concrete universality’ is, according to Zizek, the Universal Particular.  That is, the particular content which fills out the empty place of universality:

“This, then, is the Helegian ‘concrete universality’:  at every stage of the dialectical process, the concrete figure ‘colours’ the totality of the process, i.e. the universal frame of the process becomes part of (or, rather, drawn into) the particular content.  To put it in Ernesto Laclau’s terms, at every stage its particular content is not only a subspecies of the universality of the total process:  it ‘hegemonises’ this very universality, the ‘dialectical process’ is nothing but the name for this permanent shift of the particular content which ‘hegemonises’ the universality” (FRT, pp. 23-24).

I was reading Zizek’s “Against the Double Blackmail” today and I thought I’d share one or two little thoughts.

First, to pick up on what Bill was saying the other day about Zizek constantly pumping out books, I noticed again today that Zizek’s writing generally doesn’t have much of an introduction – and when his books do, they’re pretty short. I think this is in part related to ‘praxis’. That is, ‘I can’t summarize what I’m about to tell you in an introduction because it only makes sense when you have all the examples and arguments in there. It only makes sense in doing it’. And I think that it’s true of Lacan too: He never really gives a summary of what the “Other side of psychoanalysis” is, other than in a few places saying ‘this is the other side of psychoanalysis’ (and each time its something different). I think that the premise behind this is 1) like Bill was saying, Lacan doesn’t have the answer; i.e. he doesn’t have the formulation that will definitively spell out what he’s trying to get at. And as a consequence 2) both he and we can only figure it out by reading and arguing about his book.

But I wonder what the limits of this are. There must be a point where we can say “Lacan is definitely not saying X”; there must be a difference between the internal structure/logic of the argument and a ‘bad’ reading of it. In no way can we endorse that ‘there is no meta-position’ means there’s no truth – that flies in the face of everything Lacan (and Zizek) argue. I suppose, however, that the come-back is “you have to misread it and reflect that misreading back into the original”… which sounds okay, I guess. (I’m resisting!)

The other thing I was wondering is whether or not Zizek’s constant reference to “The other side of the coin” has been eliminated since he began talking about the ‘parallax’. In “Against…” he writes that the difference between 2 perspectives from within the same thing (specifically NATO’s intervention in Yugoslavia and the Serbs) are like a Gestalt illusion where you see either the vase or the two faces (he uses a goose/rabbit example). He then goes on to talk about how to break the deadlock between these two dependent positions. This to me sounds like the parallax, and flies in the face of ‘two sides’ in favour of one side that is seen from two perspectives. But I could be making shit up – does anyone remember if he still uses the ‘coin’ metaphor in Parallax?

Oh yeah – and I found a bunch of “flies” (i.e. examples) in this paper that I know I’ve seen elsewhere. Take a look, and if you come across any of them when you’re reading be sure to note the page and post it here.