The Fright of Real Tears (Introduction)

The Strange Case of the Missing Lacanians If this book had been published twenty-five years ago, in the heyday of ‘structuralist Marxism’, its subtitle, undoubtedly, would have been ‘On Class Struggle in Cinema’. Let me begin by stating the obvious, with what in France they call une vérité de la Police’. to put it in good old Maoist terms, the principal contradiction of today’s cinema studies is the one between the deconstructionist/feminist/post-Marxist/psychoanalytic/sociocritical/cultural studies etc. approach,[ …]

The Fright of Real Tears (Preface)

This book out of a series of lectures that Slavoj Zizek delivered at London’s National Film Theatre in the summer of 1998. My invitation to give these lectures had a very precise purpose. I wanted Slavoj to address the weaknesses and insularity of film studies as they had developed in the university sector over the previous two decades. The lectures were intended to mark the end of a cycle of work in which at every[ …]

Zizek’s Anecdotes in The Fragile Absolute

According to the media, when – at a recent meeting of the leaders of the great Western powers, dedicated to the politico­ideological notion of the ‘Third Way’ – the Italian Prime Minister Massimo d’Alema said that one should not be afraid of the word ‘socialism’, Clinton – and, following him, Blair and Schröder – could not restrain themselves, and openly burst out laughing. This anecdote tells us a lot about the problematic character of today’s[ …]

Zizek’s Jokes in The Fragile Absolute

How, then, are we to grasp the difference between the two gaps that characterize the symbolic process: the gap between the Master-Signifier and the series of ‘ordinary’ signifiers (S1 and S2), and the more radical gap between the very domain of the signifier (S) and its objectal remainder/leftover, objet petit a? There is an old racist joke, popular in ex-Yugoslavia, about a gipsy being examined by a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist first explains to the gipsy[ …]