Zizek e o elogio do totalitarismo

Whether or not it would be always a mistake to take Slavoj Zizek seriously, surely it would not be a mistake to take him seriously just once. He is, after all, a famous and influential thinker. So it might be worthwhile to consider Zizek’s work as if he means it–to ask what his ideas really are, and what sort of effects they are likely to have.

Zizek is a believer in the Revolution at a time when almost nobody, not even on the left, thinks that such a cataclysm is any longer possible or even desirable. This is his big problem, and also his big opportunity. While “socialism” remains a favorite hate-word for the Republican right, the prospect of communism overthrowing capitalism is now so remote, so fantastic, that nobody feels strongly moved to oppose it, as conservatives and liberal anticommunists opposed it in the 1930s, the 1950s, and even the 1980s. When Zizek turns up speaking the classical language of Marxism-Leninism, he profits from the assumption that the return of ideas that were once the cause of tragedy can now occur only in the form of farce. In the visual arts, the denaturing of what were once passionate and dangerous icons has become commonplace, so that emblems of evil are transformed into perverse fun, harmless but very profitable statements of post-ideological camp; and there is a kind of intellectual equivalent of this development in Zizek’s work. The cover of his book The Parallax View reproduces a Socialist Realist portrait of “Lenin at the Smolny Institute,” in the ironically unironic fashion made familiar by the pseudo-iconoclastic work of Komar and Melamid, Cai Guo-Jiang, and other post-Soviet, post-Mao artists. He, too, expects you to be in on the joke. But there is a difference between Zizek and the other jokesters. It is that he is not really joking.


It does not bother Zizek that this hoary dichotomy is built on a foundation of complete ignorance of both Judaism and Christianity. Nothing could be lazier than to recycle the ancient Christian myth of Judaism as a religion of “mere law.” And nothing could be more insulting to Christianity than to reduce it romantically to antinomianism, which has always been a Christian heresy. “Christianity,” Zizek remarks, “is … a form of anti-wisdom par excellence, a crazy wager on Truth.” But surely it is no part of the Pascalian wager that murdering millions of people will help to win it.

And there is no doubt that this scale of killing is what Zizek looks forward to in the Revolution. “What makes Nazism repulsive,” he writes, “is not the rhetoric of a final solution as such, but the concrete twist it gives to it.” Perhaps there is supposed to be some reassurance for Jews in that sentence; but perhaps not. For in In Defense of Lost Causes, again paraphrasing Badiou, Zizek writes: “To put it succinctly, the only true solution to the ‘Jewish question’ is the ‘final solution’ (their annihilation), because Jews … are the ultimate obstacle to the ‘final solution’ of History itself, to the overcoming of divisions in all-encompassing unity and flexibility.” I hasten to add that Zizek dissents from Badiou’s vision to this extent: he believes that Jews “resisting identification with the State of Israel,” “the Jews of the Jews themselves,” the “worthy successors to Spinoza,” deserve to be exempted on account of their “fidelity to the Messianic impulse.”

In this way, Zizek’s allegedly progressive thought leads directly into a pit of moral and intellectual squalor. In his New York Times piece against torture, Zizek worried that the normalization of torture as an instrument of state was the first step in “a process of moral corruption: those in power are literally trying to break a part of our ethical backbone.” This is a good description of Zizek’s own work. Under the cover of comedy and hyperbole, in between allusions to movies and video games, he is engaged in the rehabilitation of many of the most evil ideas of the last century. He is trying to undo the achievement of all the postwar thinkers who taught us to regard totalitarianism, revolutionary terror, utopian violence, and anti-Semitism as inadmissible in serious political discourse. Is Zizek’s audience too busy laughing at him to hear him? I hope so, because the idea that they can hear him without recoiling from him is too dismal, and frightening, to contemplate.

Este artigo da New Republic sobre o novo livro de Zizek é uma das melhores coisas que eu li este ano.O nome do livro é In Defense of Lost Causes, deve ser o mesmo tipo de trapaça ideológica e vômitos em série de palavras bonitinhas que o Zizek gosta de reproduzir.

Eu sei que talvez fosse o caso de rir deste cara, talvez o Moysés tenha razão. Mas eu não consigo. Eu tenho muito receio de que leiam Zizek como se ele merecesse algo além de um lugar na tua literatura de banheiro, ao lado do Garfield e do Snoopy. Ele provavelmente não se importaria.

Levar Zizek a sério é irresponsável.

3 Responses to “Zizek e o elogio do totalitarismo”
  1. Marcos disse:

    “He, too, expects you to be in on the joke. But there is a difference between Zizek and the other jokesters. It is that he is not really joking.” hahahahaha…
    Tu sabe QUEM lê Zizek e faz dissertação sobre ele?

  2. Ferrari disse:

    if (country() == UK )
    LDQN = HM
    ( member(@COMMONWEALTH_DOMINIONS,country())
    and location(HM) == $HERE )
    LDQN = HM
    LDQN = GG;

    O Marcelo entendeu.

  3. Moche disse:

    Vou correr o risco de falar e parecer anacrônico (falar sem risco não tem graça): me parece que o Zizek é o verso cômico do capitalismo cínico que vivemos (a palavra capitalismo aqui tem um sentido bem menos decisivo do que já teve outrora).

    Num patamar em que o poder ri grotescamente de si mesmo (a nossa fase atual não é do conservador que quer preservar os “bons valores”, mas do cínico que afirma “viu, eles são tão canalhas quanto eu”), Zizek é a paródia da esquerda, talvez a única que consiga competir com o cinismo generalizado.

    Bem, de qualquer forma, para mim é mesmo só piadismo.

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