05 August 2010

Žižek in the End Times

As a welcome respite from the mental complexities of my recent trip to [REDACTED] I am working my way through Žižek's latest cultural commentary, "Living in the End Times", which pretty much picks up where "In Defense of Lost Causes" left off. Yes, I am indeed a glutton for punishment with a twisted notion of relaxation.

If you've read any recent Žižek, if not any Žižek at all, you'll know what to expect with stream-of-consciousness chapters encompassing Lacan, Marx, and a bizarre reverence/disapproval for Badiou, all illustrated through numerous TV and Film references and borderline inappropriate sexual jokes. I always come away knowing that I've taken in a lot of ideas that have provoked a few good insights, but I always struggle to pin down exactly what those insights are. Its a bit like philosophical popcorn really, I know I've eaten something, I can feel that I'm full, I just can't quite remember exactly what flavour the food was, or when exactly I finished it off.

Its not earth shattering, but if you like his style, as I do, then you'll enjoy it. Otherwise its probably not the best introduction to his cultural commentaries, try "The Sublime Object of Ideology or "First as Tragedy, Then as Farce" for something a bit more engaging.

Thanks to the wonder of Google Goggles whilst idly scanning the cover of the book to see what would happen (its a slow evening), I was directed to the above YouTube clip of Žižek on a Dutch tv program where he explores some of the themes in "End Times".

Interesting format, amazing platform for a dynamo of provokative ideas, unfortunate choice of shirt.



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