Reflections on Zizek, continuing…


In my previous post, I attached the You Tube video of a recent conversation between Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Zizek, Democracy Now’s Amy Gutman, and Julian Assange. In this, Zizek can be seen talking about the work of Julian Assange with his usual and uniquely provocative demeanour:

You are a terrorist in the way that Gandhi was. In what sense was Gandhi a terrorist? He tried to stop the normal functioning of the British state in India. You are trying to stop the normal functioning of information circulation.

Zizek’s talk is never linear and one has to work through the entire conversation to connect the dots. At another point he said the following, which threw some more light on what he may have meant above. Below is my attempt at a transcription:

what really did we learn new? may be we learned nothing new…but you know its the same as that beautiful ode…fairy tale…the emperor is naked..we may all know that the emperor is naked…but the moment somebody publicly says that the emperor is naked, everything changes…This is why, even if we learn nothing new–but we did learn many new things–but even if nothing learnt, the forum matters…

So don’t confuse Julian and his gang–not the way they have [garbled speech] you–don’t confuse them with this usual bourgeois heroism, investigative journalism, free flow, and so on…you [pointing toward Julian] are doing something much more radical. You are, just by…arousing such an explosion of resentment, you are not only violating the rules of disclosing the secrets and so on…let me call it in the old marxist way, the bourgeois press today has its own way to be transgressive. Its ideology not only controls what you say but even how you can violate what you are allowed to say…you are not just violating the rules, YOU ARE CHANGING THE VERY RULES…HOW YOU ARE ALLOWED TO VIOLATE THE RULES.

Is Zizek distinguishing the radical acts of Julian and his gang [as he puts it] from the Bob Woodward style of investigative journalism? The latter is apparently the acceptable type that follows the rules of violating the rules, and so is incapable of arousing the same kind of resentment as the former, which violates the rules of violating the rules.

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About Irfan

I am an independent researcher and blogger interested in everything under the sun, but more so in the philosophy and history of education and education reform generally, and specifically in the so-called post colonial contexts

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