PEL’s last episode focused on Karl Marx via The German Ideology. Possibly one of the most famous/infamous Marxists of our time is Slavoj Zizek. Some have called him too extreme to be taken seriously, while others have praised him for his brilliance. A recent article in U.K. based paper The Guardian sheds some light on this interesting character and also discusses an upcoming opera based on Zizek’s ideology.
An opera? Seriously? Controversy is no stranger to Lacanian/Marxist Slavoj Zizek. The intellectual prowess of this philosopher is only sometimes outshadowed by his prankish invocations and outspoken stances on politics and religion. Although this article doesn’t expand on the concept of an upcoming opera about Zizek, it does allow for a background approach at this interesting figure. For instance, not only does it cover the work he is known for, the article makes many pop culture references, something Zizek has been known to do, which allow him to have a somewhat accessible reference point. Considered one of the greater minds of the last 20 years, he has brought a lot of attention to political philosophy and psychoanalysis. The big question, then, is does the philosophical world need more figures like this? Does Zizek and his antics give a culture devoid of intellectualism a chance at salvation, or should the philosophical world be red in the face?
This article not only does a good job of providing information about Zizek himself, it stirs up some insight into the world of philosophy today. Zizek is a good example of the present state of philosophy, trying to branch out to the mass public and invite others to think independently. He states in the article,”I should not be this man who talks about The Dark Knight and Hegel, about the value of WikiLeaks and Lady Gaga. I should be a mediocre philosophy professor in Ljubljana.” Is he forced to use pop culture links to get others to appreciate his intellectualism? Does this statement sum up the future of philosophy professionals, or is this just another example of Zizek’s extremity?
Another legitimate question, to tie it back to his Marxist roots, is whether he is indeed ‘changing the world or simply interpreting it.’ It is certainly the case that he has created an audience and platform for his criticisms of capitalism, political systems and pop culture. Whether he will incite revolution to match the fervor of his admirers and detractors remains to be seen.