Thursday, 15 July 2010
Music from the Other Side of the Fence
I don't know what possessed Te Graun to host an interesting video with an interesting person, but this Zizek piece is essential viewing (h/t Anatoly). Not quite up there with the opportunity to watch Peter Mandelson tributes of course, and he is talking drivel, albeit amusing and engaging drivel.
The weird thing, I thought when watching this was what a great demagogue Zizek would make, and ironically, how the capitalist system could prepare people for such a figure. Who cares if he praises Lenin and Mussolini if he comes up with such great one-liners? Think by contrast of Te Graun's man of the hour, Peter Mandelson, a smug little dullard who they adore because he reconciled the Labour party with being 'filthy rich'. All very well, but will the free-market love Mandy back and reward Te Graun for unrolling the red carpet for him? Will panting lefties be racing for the news-stands to grab their copies of Te Graun before it's all sold out, just so they can read about their hero? Imagine the collective sigh of relief when they find they've picked up the very last one?
By contrast, I think Te Graun grudged giving a few milimetres of internet to Zizek. His self-conscious interesting nonsense certainly upsets the humanist vicars, who are less interested in dialectical playfulness than pointing the J'accuse figure. And no doubt the blogosphere will erupt that Te Graun has come out as a friend of Stalinism or whatever self-righteous delusion appeals to them.
Perhaps strangely, Zizek reminds me of one of my favourite literary characters, Peter Stepanovich Verkhovensky in Demons. This character was very prophetic in my opinion, because he was attracted to anti-establishment politics just to be a troublemaker rather than for any concern about the poor of the earth.
Perhaps Verkhovensky is a favourite character because he knew this, unlike Christopher Hitchens say, whose observations of the American right led him to notice that caring about the world's poor was no prerequisite for self-righteousness.
I don't know if Zizek is any more idealistic than Hitchens, and his holding onto the commie card is probable a tactical masterstroke (so as not to join the clapped out last-chance saloon of lefty neo-cons: Henri-Levy, Hitch, Julie Burchill etc, who don't even know they're clapped out), but it is precisely because Zizek knows that he is a clown first, that as a consumer from a consumerist culture, I find him an appealing figure.