The Need to Traverse the Fantasy

Adam Kotsko, a professor of humanities at Shimer College in Chicago, in an email to me, provided the best characterization of the reactions to my latest text on the refugees and Paris attacks: I notice that the responses always seem to be a referendum on you, almost a Rorschach test for what people think of you. If they think you’re a terrible quasi-fascist, pro-Western ideologue, they find stuff to support that. If they assume you’re[ …]

“It Doesn’t Have to Be a Jew”, Interview with Josefina Ayerza

Zizek: Yes, in a way. To arrive at this, you need an enemy, you need a figure of an enemy. Question: The Jews or…. Zizek: It doesn’t have to be a Jew. It can be somebody who is constructed according to the same logic that is at work in anti-Semitism. It is very interesting to see how, even when the enemy is not the Jew, it is still constructed in the same way, as some[ …]

Whither Zionism?

In July 2008, the Viennese daily Die Presse published a caricature of two stocky Nazi-looking Austrians, one of them holding in his hands a newspaper and commenting to his friend: “Here you can see again how a totally justified anti-Semitism is being misused for a cheap critique of Israel!” This joke turns around the standard Zionist argument against the critics of the policies of the State of Israel: Like every other state, the State of[ …]

In the Grey Zone

The formula of pathetic identification ‘I am …’ (or ‘We are all …’) only functions within certain limits, beyond which it turns into obscenity. We can proclaim ‘Je suis Charlie,’ but things start to crumble with examples like ‘We all live in Sarajevo!’ or ‘We are all in Gaza!’ The brutal fact that we are not all in Sarajevo or Gaza is too strong to be covered up by a pathetic identification. Such identification becomes[ …]

What does Europe want? Beyond the multiculturalist deadlock

Back in the 1930s, Hitler offered anti-Semitism as a narrative explanation for the troubles experienced by ordinary Germans – from unemployment to moral decay and social unrest. Simply evoking the “Jewish plot” made everything clear by way of providing a simple “cognitive mapping.” Does today’s hatred of multiculturalism and of the immigrant threat not function in a similar way? Strange things are happening, financial meltdowns occur which affect our daily lives, but these events are[ …]

Slavoj Žižek Responds to His Critics

If I am repelled by John Gray’s review of my two last books (“The Violent Visions of Slavoj Žižek,” New York Review of Books, 12 July 2012), it is not because the review is highly critical of my work, but because its arguments are based on such a crude misreading of my position that, if I were to answer it in detail, I would have to spend way too much time just answering insinuations and setting straight[ …]

Not Less Than Nothing, But Simply Nothing

If I am repelled by John Gray’s review of my two last books (‘The Violent Visions of Slavoj Žižek’, New York Review of Books, July 12 2012), it is not because the review is highly critical of my work, but because its arguments are based on such a crude misreading of my position that, if I were to answer it in detail, I would have to spend way too much time just answering insinuations and setting straight[ …]

A vile logic to Anders Breivik’s choice of target

In Anders Behring Breivik’s ideological self-justification as well as in reactions to his murderous act there are things that should make us think. The manifesto of this Christian “Marxist hunter” who killed more than 70 people in Norway is precisely not a case of a deranged man’s rambling; it is simply a consequent exposition of “Europe’s crisis” which serves as the (more or less) implicit foundation of the rising anti-immigrant populism – its very inconsistencies[ …]

Anti-immigration politics: barbarism with a human face

Recent incidents – such as the expulsion of Roma, or Gypsies, from France, or the resurgence of nationalism and anti-immigration sentiment in Germany, or the massacre in Norway – have to be seen against the background of a long-term rearrangement of the political space in western and eastern Europe. Until recently, most European countries were dominated by two main parties that addressed the majority of the electorate: a right-of-centre party (Christian Democrat, liberal-conservative, people’s) and[ …]

Best of 2010: Barbarism with a Human Face

A month ago, a book entitled Germany Does Away With Itself by Thilo Sarrazin – a bank executive who was considered politically close to the Social Democrats – caused an uproar in Germany. Its thesis is that German nationhood is threatened because too many immigrants are allowed to maintain their cultural identity. Although the book was overwhelmingly condemned, its tremendous impact suggests that it touched a nerve. Incidents like these have to be seen against[ …]