La La Land: A Leninist Reading

Among the PC reproaches to Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, the one that stands out for its sheer stupidity was that there are no gay couples in the film which takes place in LA, a city with a strong gay population… How come those PC Leftists who complain about the sub-representation of sexual and ethnic minorities in Hollywood movies never complain about the gross misrepresentation of the lower class majority of workers? It’s OK if[ …]

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (transcript/subtitles)

They Live (1988) I’ll give you a choice: either put on these glasses or start eating that trashcan. I already am eating from the trashcan all the time. The name of this trashcan is ideology. The material force of ideology makes me not see what I am effectively eating. It’s not only our reality which enslaves us. The tragedy of our predicament when we are within ideology is that when we think that we escape[ …]

Refugees, Conservatism, and Cultural Incompatibility

[Transcript below video.] We who try to be decent people are bombarded by some kind of moral political pressure from two sides. First there is the worst one, of course, this anti-immigrant populist side; like, ‘why should we even allow refugees in; it’s their fault; third world travel and so on, there are enough poor people here; they come from another civilization; it means conflict,’ and so on and so on. So there is all[ …]

Sexuality in the Posthuman Age

[Appeared in Stasis 2016, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 54-69 – pdf] It is the profound distrust of sexual love that is the main feature of Platonov’s work throughout the 1920s. His great novels from this period—Chevengur and especially The Foundation Pit—are usually interpreted as a critical depiction of Stalinist utopia and its disastrous consequences. Such a view of his work is deeply misleading. Why? The utopia Platonov stages in these two works is not[ …]

Slavoj Zizek: Am I a Philosopher?

[Delivered at International Žižek Studies Conference on May 27th 2016. Download .pdf] In his perspicuous review of the volume Repeating Žižek, dedicated to my work, Jamil Khader notes how some contributors interrogate “Žižek’s credentials as a philosopher, especially in relation to Badiou’s critique of Lacan’s anti-philosophical position. Hamza points out, in fact, that philosophers who are Žižekian are always reminded that compared to Žižek, ‘it is not a difficult task to be a follower of Badiou, or a Badiousian[ …]

A Cup of Decaf Reality

The Real Cancun (2003), the first ever “reality movie,” follows sixteen people together for eight days in a beachfront Cancun villa for the ultimate Spring Break vacation. The movie which was advertised with “NO SCRIPTS. NO ACTORS. NO RULES. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN ON SPRING BREAK, AND IT DID.”, fared rather poorly at the box-office (earning less than 4 million dollars). It is easy to see why, in contrast to the triumph of the TV reality[ …]

The Guardian webchat

[Note: Some questions have been shortened and made more precise] You are defending Lenin and communism and you criticize capitalism, state and liberalism. But you reject the revolutionary potential of the world working class … Why? First, I’m not defending Lenin. I’m just saying that October Revolution was an authentic emancipatory event. But at the same time I’m well aware, that Stalinism was from the very beginning inscribed at least as a possibility in October[ …]

ISIS Is a Disgrace to True Fundamentalism

It has become a commonplace in recent months to observe that the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is the latest chapter in the long story of the anticolonial awakening — the arbitrary borders drawn after World War I by the great powers being redrawn — and simultaneously a chapter in the struggle against the way global capital undermines the power of nation states. But what causes such fear and[ …]

Rotherham child sex abuse: it is our duty to ask difficult questions

The outline of what happened in Rotherham is now more or less clear: at least 1,400 children were subjected to brutal sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013; children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities, beaten and intimidated. The perpetrators were (almost exclusively) of Pakistani origin, and their victims were often white schoolgirls. Reactions were predictable. The left exhibited the worst of political correctness, mostly via generalisations: perpetrators[ …]

Disposable Life (+ transcript)

[Transcript below video.] Under capitalism, the problem is not there are evil people here and there. The problem is the basic logic of the system – as it was developed by Zygmunt Bauman and many others. Some people even claim that if you look, in a non-humanitarian way, just at the pure logic of today’s global capitalism, then you arrive at the ratio even – some people claim – of 20% to 80%. That is[ …]