Home > Uncategorized > Žižek’s virtue (or one of them, anyway)

Žižek’s virtue (or one of them, anyway)

I’ve been more open, lately, in confessing my deep appreciation for Žižek around the department, and as I do I commonly find myself saying how enjoyable he is to read, how funny, how provocative… and then feeling guilty, like I’ve done him a disservice. I have to backtrack and say that of course he’s an eminently serious thinker, too, doing “important work” on Hegel and Schelling and Fichte.

Still, I’ve just started First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, and again I’m struck first by how straightforwardly pleasurable it is to read his work. The prose is crisp and energetic, his meaning is clear, his arguments are insightful, and he’s consistently entertaining at the same time. And that’s an extremely difficult confluence of features to achieve. Judging from the academic work that I read from day-to-day, it’s nearly impossible.

Žižek really is exemplary here. At some relatively early point in their training, aspiring scholars should try to read as much well written, lively, entertaining academic work as possible, to prove to ourselves that this isn’t an exercise in dullness.

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  1. Michael
    April 10, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    You’re absolutely right, Brian. In that review of Žižek and Milbank on Christ which you posted, O’Regan noted Žižek’s incredibly diverse and engaging use of sources to prove his points. I can’t think of too many scholars who are as much fun to read in any field.

  2. John
    April 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    But Zizek is just another entertaining clown trapped within Plato’s famous cave, or the “normal” socially constructed world as depicted in the Matrix Trilogy.

    With some entertaining and perhaps insighful things to say about the nature of the walls of the cave, and the few fragments or flickers of light that occasionally and momentarily shine through the darkness.

    He offers no way out of the trap–and never can.

    He has not taken the Red Pill yet, and contrary to his seeming radicalism is effectively a clone of Agent Smith and his “reality” police.

  3. Andrew
    April 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

    What a ridiculous way to brush somebody’s entire work to the side! You refer to Plato’s story as if it is some sort of absolute truth, impenetrable by all those lesser mortals of modern times. You even veil him with the cheap guise of images from the Matrix to weakly attack his political aims. If anyone is trapped so heavily in this cave, wouldn’t it be you who makes no critique of his ideas, simply pretending Plato will critique him for you?

  1. May 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

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