Donald Trump’s topsy-turvy world

The most depressing aspect of the post-electoral period in the US is not the measures announced by the President-elect but the way the bulk of the Democratic Party is reacting to its historic defeat. Notably, its supporters oscillate between two extremes: the horror at the Big Bad Wolf called Trump and the obverse of this panic and fascination — the renormalization of the situation, the idea that nothing extraordinary happened, that it is just another[ …]

Lessons From the “Airpocalypse”

In December 2016, smog in big Chinese cities became so thick that thousands fled into the countryside, trying to reach a place where one could still see blue sky—this “airpocalypse” affected half a billion people. For those who remained, moving around began to resemble life in a post-apocalyptic movie: people walking around with large gas masks in a smog where even nearby trees were invisible. The class dimension played a crucial role: Before the authorities[ …]

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek warns about ‘New Invisible Walls’

He does not hold back when it comes to his criticism of Europe and he is considered a revolutionary by many for his ideas to transform the global economic order. Slavoj Žižek is a straight talking philosopher. We meet here in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and he is my guest in the Global Conversation. Sergio Cantone: Slavoj Žižek, according to you, globalisation is one of the primary sources of the current migration crisis. Slavoj Žižek: I think[ …]

Dear Britain: Elena Ferrante, Slavoj Zizek and other European writers on Brexit

Dear Britain, When Stalin was asked in the late 1920s which is worse, the right or the left, he snapped back: “They are both worse!” And this is my first reaction to the question of whether or not to leave the EU. I am not interested in sending love letters to the British public with the sentimental message: “Please stay in Europe!” What interests me is ultimately only one question. Europe is now caught in[ …]

Democracy’s Fascism Problem

Sometimes faces become symbols of the anonymous forces behind them. Was not the stupidly smiling face of Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem the symbol of the European Union’s brutal pressure on Greece? Recently, the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP)—the European cousin of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—acquired a new symbol: the cold face of E.U. trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who responded to massive public opposition to TTIP this way: “I do not take my mandate from the[ …]

Philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks to Gary Younge (Podcast)

In a new book, Against the Double Blackmail, in response to Europe’s refugee crisis, philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that the left must shed its liberal taboos in favour of global, class solidarity. At a Guardian Live event, Gary Younge sat down with Žižek to discuss the immigration crisis, the response of the liberal left, and the future for Europe. [Appeared in The Guardian on April 19th 2016.] What happens to democracy when the majority is[ …]

The Cologne attacks were an obscene version of carnival

Who are the “hateful eight” in Quentin Tarantino’s film of the same name? The ENTIRE group of participants – white racists and the black Union soldier, men and women, law officers and criminals – they are all equally mean, brutal and revengeful. The most embarrassing moment in the film occurs when the black officer (played by the superb Samuel L. Jackson) narrates in detail and with obvious pleasure to an old Confederate general how he[ …]

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[ …]

Henning Mankell, the Artist of the Parallax View

Henning Mankell’s recent series of police procedurals set in the southern Swedish town of Ystad, with the inspector Kurt Wallander as their hero, is the exemplary case of the fate of the detective novel in our era of global capitalism. The main effect of globalisation on the detective fiction is discernible in its dialectical counterpart: the powerful re-emergence of a specific locale as the story’s setting – a particular provincial environment. In a global world,[ …]