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Perverzija i metoda. Simon Rajbar - - Dissertation, Cardiff University. Media Ethics in Perspective. James D. Everybody laughs at the English monarchy, but you'll never know. There is another notion, that is popular now amongst American sociologist, the civilizations of guilt versus civilizations of shame. The Jews and their inner guilt and the Greeks with their culture of shame.
The usual cliche now is that Japan is the ultimate civilization of shame. What I despise in America is the studio actors logic, as if there is something good in self expression: do not be oppressed, open yourself, even if you shout and kick the others, everything in order to express and liberate yourself. This stupid idea, that behind the mask there is some truth. In Japan, and I hope that this is not only a myth, even if something is merely an appearance, politeness is not simply insincere.
There is a difference between saying 'Hello, how are you? Surfaces do matter. If you disturb the surfaces you may lose a lot more than you account. You shouldn't play with rituals. Masks are never simply mere masks. Perhaps that's why Brecht became close to Japan. He also liked this notion that there is nothing really liberating in this typical Western gesture of stealing the masks and show the true face. What you discover is something absolutely disgusting. Let's maintain the appearances, that's my own fantasy of Japan. GL: Let's speak about the role of intellectuals.
Before , in Eastern Europe there was this strange relation between intellectuals and the power. Both bureaucrats and dissidents had some sort of relationship with politics. Even until now, this is partly the case. In Western Europe this phenomena disappeared and it is hard to see any relationship or even dialogue. What should be the role of intellectuals?
- More In Politics.
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- Zizek and the Media (Theory and Media) - Harvard Book Store;
SZ: Partially this is true. For me what was partially so attractive, so sympathetic about real socialism, despite of being a corrupted, cynical system, was the belief in the power of the spoken word. Some twenty years ago, I was editor of a small art-theoretical journal with a circulation of Once we published a small, obscure poem, incomprehensible modern, but between the lines there was some dissident message. If the power would have ignored the poem, nothing would have happened. But there was an extraordinary session of the Central Committee.
Okay, this is repression, but what I like about it is that the communist power took the potential, detonating force of the spoken word incredibly serious. They were always interested in arguing with the intellectuals. Let's take an artist like Tarkovski, who was half dissident. He was half allowed to work, even if they suppressed some of his films. They were impressed, they bothered. Fredric Jameson made a nice point about this: we are now only becoming aware that what we liked about East-European dissidents like Havel, is only possible within a socialist system.
Our influence, beginning in the mid-eighties, was at that time incredible large, specially the philosophers, sociologists, literary theoreticians.
But this was a special, very limited conjunction. Now there is the pure ignorance of the regime, who is simply not interested in ideological questions. I feel sorry for those countries in which writes nowadays play an important role. Take Serbia, where this nationalist madness was fabricated by writers. Even in Slovenia it's the same with the nationalist writers, although they do not have much influence.
GL: But you are involved in politics yourself, up until this moment. There are a lot of controversies in Ljubljana about your involvement in the governing party and the fact that you write speeches for them. SZ: You have a messianic complex with intellectuals in Eastern Europe. Nothing against it, but it becomes extremely dangerous in Slovenia when this messianic vision of intellectuals get combined with a vulgar anti- Americanism, which is a very popular political attitude of right-wingers. America for them means no national solidarity, filthy liberalism, multi-culturalism, individualism, the market.
They are afraid for too much plural democracy and there is a proto-fascistic potential in it. This combination of nationalist writers, whose obsession it is how to retain national identity and a anti-capitalist, right wing movement is very dangerous. I did something for which I lost almost all my friends, what no good leftist ever does: I fully support the ruling party in Slovenia.
For this all my leftist friends hate me and of course the whole right wing. What the liberal democratic party did was a miracle. Five years ago we were the remainder of the new social movements, like feminist and ecological groups. At that time everybody thought that we would be vanishing mediators. We made some solidly corrupted, but good moves and now we are the strongest party. I think it was our party that saved Slovenia from the faith of the other former Yugoslav republics, where they have the one-party model.
Either right wing like in Croatia or left wing like in Serbia, which hegemonized in the name of the national interest. With us it's a real diverse, pluralist scene, open towards foreigners of course there are some critical cases. But the changes of a genuine pluralist society are not yet lost. It's typical, that this position triggers an enormous hatred against me.
Slovene media absolutely ignore me, there is never an article about me. On the other hand, if some nationalist poet publishes an small poem in some obscure Austrian journal, it's a big success in Slovenia. I am rather perceived as some dark, ominous, plotting, political manipulator, a role I enjoy immensely and like very much. GL: You have not become cynical about the current power struggles you are involved in? SZ: You do not hear me not saying that it is so disgusting. It's a simple, professional choice.
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Now politics is becoming business-as-usual in Slovenia. It's no longer that once a week you write a heroical article and you are a hero. It means intrigues and meetings. I simply had to choose. Do I do seriously theory or politics?
New York Times Rebukes Zizek for Self Plagiarism
What I hate most is the left wing beautiful soul who's complaining about the losses, that everything is corrupted, where are the good old days of the original, left wing dissidence? No, you must accept the rules of the game. Svetlana Slapzak from Belgrade, now Ljubljana - GL and the group around her present themselves as marginalized victims. But her groups controls totally two departments and the strongest publishing house.
They get the most money from the ministry of science.
Slavoj Žižek: Live Theory (Live Theory) Rex Butler: Continuum
And via the Soros Foundation they are selling the story of being surrounded by nationalism. Let's take me. I was blocked from the university before, I was only teaching abroad, in France and in America. I never taught at any university in Slovenia, I am absolutely alone, without any research assistant. They just give me enough money in order to survive. My answer to Svetlana Slapzak would be: why did she become Slovenian citizen?
Her very position is a counterprove of what she says. In a state of less than 2 millions we offered , non-Slovenians permanent citizenship, against terrible nationalistic resistance. There were no dirty tricks involved, like a test if you knew Slovenian. We are still in an intermediate stage.