Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

I Went to See Slavoj Zizek Talk Tonight

Or, “Skate Philosophy”. This is a subtle joke. Or maybe not so subtle now that I have highlighted it.

I went to see Zizek speak at the RSA tonight.

I met L at Charing Cross. He had his skateboard. We walked to the RSA. We talked about work. I met R outside. She had her hood up. We talked about houses. We met J. I had not seen J in a while. L, J and me went inside. The RSA is plush. I said “This is nice.” We sat down on some seats. We made some jokes. Me and J said that we did not know much about Zizek. I say hello to B who sits elsewhere. I don’t know where R is. I notice G but don’t say hello. I regret this later. Zizek was introduced. I started posting to Twitter via text message.

“not a very high level of physical fitness in this room” @jkosem

Nigel Winterburn is here?

Deep v-neck.

“Against charity”?

Consumation transformed to giving. Now purchasing occludes anti-consumption. Yes.

I work for a trading charity, not sure how that works. “You buy your redemption by consumerism.”

This seems obvious to me so far, he may step it up though.

Now on ‘rent’ and social contract reversal, guaranteeing the citizen’s residency via income.

Exploitation of state/workers by non-workers.

Eros and lack based in desire / pride and generosity. Relation disturbed today.

“Only the rich can save the world?” via generosity.

Charitable capitalism is powerless therefore?

Social-national politics fail in this climate?

Z’s contention that bail-outs are people sustaining creative givers. (Maybe need more nuanced image of latter?)

The view he argues against is that wild capitalism is compatible with a functioning welfare state.

Capitalism depends on eliding envy, to make life liveable.

Charitable capitalism prevents + destroys actual charity seems to be overall argument.

Charity giving of private property to alleviate problems created by capitalism is wrong.

That we are approaching a soft apocalypse of env, ecol, bio-gen, capt, etc. China as new model.

Break of capitalism and democracy.

Me, J and L leave. We talk on the street for a while. We discuss how much we understood of Zizek. We talk about ‘violence’ and his various definitions of this. We seemed to enjoy the experience. We walk to Charing Cross. B joins us. We talk about America a bit. I realise everyone is American except me.

Me and B go to the pub. We discuss the lecture a bit more. I talk about teaching The Searchers and Deadwood. I talk about society and capitalism. We talk about some things we didn’t understand in Zizek. We talk about his of creative givers/third world and banking/domestic poor. We talk about in what ways Russia and China are ‘new’ societies. I talk about the corruption of Russian police. I feel this is a good example. It supports my theory that these are not ‘stable’ societies. Zizek did not claim this but I feel I would have liked to ask him about it. We think of other things we would have asked him. It is now about an hour after the event has finished. We cannot ask him these things.


Filed under: miscellaneous

2 Responses

  1. Leonard says:

    I think, maybe, he would respond that the aspects of what we imagine to be somehow outside of the system of politics is, in fact, a function of it. It is, in a sense, as much a part of the political ‘order’ as anything else. In the case of the Russian Police, for example, my understanding is that they are so underpaid that they practically *have to* take bribes in order to live. On that level, the Russian gvt. would be more or less *presupposing* a corrupt system.

    Another thing I found interesting was Zizek’s ‘de-philosophizing’ of his talk. There was no mention of Lacan, no Hegel, hardly any Freud, and only a touch of Marx. Where is he going w/ this?

  2. Kevin says:

    Re: Russia, that’s a good analysis, but I wish I’d thought of this and questioned him about it. He said that China and Russia (to a lesser extent, I think) are examples of new societies where democracy and capitalism aren’t in sync anymore, and I’d want to know what he thinks about the viability of those models. I don’t imagine he *likes* China, for example, but how long he thinks they can last, e.g. as long as their businesses keep thriving?

    And maybe he saw your skateboard and decided to dumb down the talk? (I hope that my repeated references to your dude don’t imply that I am somehow against this, it’s a nice expression of personal freedom. Couldn’t do it in China!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

my twitter

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

my flickr


born this way



More Photos


%d bloggers like this: