[eDebate] turkey, death of debate, stickers, the dixie
Tue Nov 26 20:27:06 CST 2002
>===== Original Message From "goof garen" <goof_dummy at hotmail.com> =====
>"The effects of the EXPERTISE SURROUNDING ZIZEK ("we read Zizek for
>24 hours and you didn't. Ahh Hahh.") are ossifying, calcifying, and
>complicit in existing structures of domination."
>My point was not that I had spent 24 hours straight reading "Did Somebody
>Say Totalitarianism?" Nor was it that I could bench-press more of Lacan's
>seminars than you. It was simply that, even though my (notoriously) feeble
>memory could call up only the cite to a book I had finished in the past 24
>hours, it was instructive that the book in question spoke directly to the
>issues you accused Zizek of ignoring.
I don't think it is about mentioning academic positionality, I think it is
about generating a course/planning/alternative that takes it into account.
Again, alternative? The initial claim made in the post was that Zizek lets
the labor politics of higher education overcome his posturing about change and
resistance. You say he answers that in what you just read. What is the
answer? Simple enough question.
>I am surprised by your fear of a Zizek "EXPERTISE." My strongest attraction
>to his writing is that, though it often includes Hegelian and Kantian rants
>that mean squat to me, in general it is still more accessible than other
>critical literature by leaps and bounds. There are two reasons for this:
>first, Zizek tells jokes (that are actually funny); second, he makes
>reference to real-life circumstances, especially popular culture and
>particular political struggles.
He is still just as thick as the next theorist when it comes right down it--it
depends what you read. Besides, everyone tells stories--Bhabha, Spivak,
Baudrillard, Irigary, hooks...the question is: "What is his doing with his
stories?" (or, more accurately, what are debating doing with his stories?).
If he is just telling stories, your entire defense comes down to
>Example: The finals of Wake, which was a heavy-duty discussion of Western
>Metaphysics, Transversal Dissent, "What does it mean to think outside of
>thinking?", Deleuze, Guattari, Lacan, etc. became (according to my
>perception) accessible to a large audience in terms of things like Buffy the
>Vampire Slayer, The Usual Suspects, the difference between recess in first
>grade and recess in sixth grade, etc.
Great--why don't you tell those of us not lucky enough to be around for finals
what was actually said instead of reapeating popular culture references. Good
job for getting to finals--don't just tease us. TELL US WHAT WAS SAID THAT
WAS SO ACCESSIBLE. PLEASE. it sucks to say, "hey, i made it to finals. my
arguments are accessible. want to know what they are? nope."
>And is this not the ultimate test of theory's value (and perhaps the reason
>that Plato's dialogues are sweeter than Aristotle's definitions)? Sure, _The
>Illusion of the End_ might be cool, and sure it might be moving to you. But
>how can it be relevant to the public at large if it cannot speak their
Good question. Some of it makes sense to me, some of it might not. I would
not defend J.B. unless it was in comparison to Zizek.
Besides, do you now know the "public at large"? Does finals at Wake mean you
speak the truth about the public at large? I bet just about everyone could
read the Illusion of the End in different parts and get something out of
it--probably something more useful than the "buffy" reference you alluded to
earlier when you were mentioning finals at Wake. Spit out the details.
Go ahead, tell us about Delueze and Guattari....it's your floor. it's not
finals or anything, but it would be nice to hear what was accessible....
(...or was it accessible? we shall see...)
>This is why I take issue with your claim that Zizek's digressions are simply
>"a sea of contradictory stories." I agree that his stories include
>contradictions. So did Plato's. But it is exactly these contradictions - the
>slippages of everyday popular culture (or the unconscious, if you prefer
>that term) - that can illustrate the paradoxes of modern life. They do force
>the reader to "interpret." By the same token, they empower the reader to
Sure, maybe interpretation is inevitable. Some would disagree. The point is
still, what STORIES AND WHAT DO THEY DO FOR YOU? You say his contradictions =
slippage? Come on, Goof, slipping doesn't mean sliding away. Give some
specifics. Lots of people write about popular culture and actually have
>And when you demand an authoritative statement that might eliminate
>contradiction (and therefore interpretation), thus "compelling" you toward
>your appointed alternative future, are you not engaging in the "ossifying,
>calcifying . . . structures of domination" yourself?
Not asking for authority--only a guess or a stab. something would be nice.
it can be flexible. if it is authoritarian, we should know. I don't care
about contradiction either way--I JUST WANT ARTICULATION OF WHERE YOU ARE
GOING WITH THIS. All I get so far, is "cool stories that I get to interpret"
and "if he contradicts, it causes some cool slipping around." Not sufficient
GOOF, DO YOU HAVE A POSITION ON THE SIGNS IN THE BATHROOM? Were you there?
Oh, yeah, you were in finals. What's your take? Got a better response?
>Or, to put it in Zizek's terms, are you not acting like the loyal soldier in
>Full Metal Jacket - the one who wears both the "born to kill" sign and the
>peace symbol on his helmet? Yes, you demand an alternative future: you
>demand nothing less than an end to the Vietnam war (or in this case, class
Demand of you? I wouldn't do that. I'm asking for a defense of something you
really want to defend. The only problem is, you aren't and you can't. Tell
me how I'm the soldier, Goof? it seems to me that you want to say "I KILL YOU
AND GET TO FINALS" and "I CAN MAKE THINGS ACCESSIBLE AND OPEN TO YOU WITH
BUFFY REFERENCES." Who has the duality going there? At the very least,
expressing the need to struggle against class oppression is more than a an
unanswered query for an alternative.
>But by your very cynicism and fear of cooptation, by your
>demand for an uncompromising Leader, you end up carrying out the orders of
>the military (or in this case, capitalist) machine perfectly: you take on
>all of its opponents, accuse them of being "SOUTHERN APOLOGIST[s]," etc.,
>focus them in your sights, and shoot (off another email).
Funny. I like your play on the word "shoot." How about you shoot off an
answer instead of announcing how you explained everything in finals? I
accused no one of being a Southern apologist--i accused some people of being
worse. Why worse? Because they (and you in this message) deploy Zizek for
incredibly tragic and elitist ends. This is not an attack on you, it is an
argument about the effects of Zizek in debate right now. If you want to
defend those, feel free. The only problem is, you have already spent enough
time to make it A MAJOR FLAW not to shoot (off) another email that actually
talks about alternatives and arguments. You ain't said nothing here really,
even though I still have love for you :)
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