Zizek’s jokes in The Universal Exception

Recall the old joke about a man suspected of smuggling: every day for twenty years a man pushed a wheelbarrow full of sand across the border-crossing. The customs inspector would dig through the sand but never discovered any illegal goods. He nevertheless remained convinced that he was dealing with a smuggler. On the last day before his retirement, the inspector asked the smuggler what he had been smuggling all these years and how he did[ …]

Who needs charity from rich capitalists? The ethics of giving and the Communist vision

In his recent book Rage and Time, Peter Sloterdijk has attempt to assert – as the solution to what one might call the “antinomies of the Welfare State” – an “ethics of gift” over against mere egotistic market exchange. His proposal brings us unexpectedly close to what can only be called the Communist vision. What Sloterdijk proposes is a kind of new cultural revolution, a radical psycho-social shift based on the insight that, today, the[ …]

Ágota Kristóf’s The Notebook awoke in me a cold and cruel passion

There is a book through which I discovered what kind of a person I really want to be: The Notebook, the first volume of Ágota Kristóf’s trilogy, which was followed by The Proof and The Third Lie. When I first heard someone talk about Ágota Kristóf, I thought it was an east European mispronunciation of Agatha Christie; but I soon discovered not only that Ágota is not Agatha, but that Ágota’s horror is much more[ …]

We don’t want the charity of rich capitalists

There is something profoundly strange about Peter Sloterdijk’s attempt to assert – as the solution to what one is tempted to call the “antinomies of the Welfare State” – an “ethics of gift” over against mere egotistic market exchange. His proposal brings us unexpectedly close to what can only be called the Communist vision. Sloterdijk is guided by the elementary lesson of dialectics: sometimes, the opposition between maintaining the old and changing things does not[ …]

Communist Absconditus (transcript)

[Transcript below video.] Schirmacher: If you don’t know him, you don’t live in this world. Obviously he is the one best-known philosopher in the world, the not the best but the best-known …. To say, the most dangerous one, you know. And he has already threatened us with his last 1000-page book, Hegel is coming towards us in my form you know, I will write all about the entire world, and that, he has already[ …]