Slavoj Žižek on Trump and the Republican Party

[This is an extract from Slavoj Žižek’s appearance at Left Forum on May 22nd 2016. The primary topic is Trump and the Republican Party, but he digresses among others to WikiLeaks, normalisation of torture and rape, and of course toilets. Transcript below the video.] …today. I’m sorry. I speak too long, I will start to, try to, cut it short a little bit. I want to address, with Trump, what Amy was addressing; Donald Trump problem.[ …]

What is an authentic political event?

December 2013 I visited Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy located just behind the Harrods store in London. It was a rather depressing experience, in spite of the kindness of the embassy personnel. The embassy is a six-room apartment with no garden attached, so that Assange cannot even take a daily walk in fresh air. He also cannot step out of the apartment into the house’s main corridor – policemen are waiting for him there.[ …]

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[ …]

Zero Dark Thirty: Hollywood’s gift to American power

Here is how, in a letter to the LA Times, Kathryn Bigelow justified Zero Dark Thirty’s depicting of the torture methods used by government agents to catch and kill Osama bin Laden: “Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our[ …]

Knight of the Living Dead

SINCE the release of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s dramatic confessions, moral outrage at the extent of his crimes has been mixed with doubts. Can his claims be trusted? What if he confessed to more than he really did, either because of a vain desire to be remembered as the big terrorist mastermind, or because he was ready to confess anything in order to stop the water boarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques”? If there was one[ …]

Jack Bauer and the Ethics of Urgency

The fifth season of “24,” the phenomenally successful Fox television series, premiered on January 15. Composed of 24 one-hour episodes, the show chronicles the workday of the fictitious L.A.-based Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) as it desperately attempts to thwart a catastrophic terrorist attack. (In season four, they stopped a stolen nuclear weapon from exploding above a major U.S. city.) The “real-time” nature of the series confers a strong sense of urgency, emphasized by the ticking[ …]

The depraved heroes of 24 are the Himmlers of Hollywood

n Sunday, the fifth season of the phenomenally successful television drama 24 will start in the US. Each season is composed of 24 one-hour episodes and the whole season covers the events of a single day. The story of the latest series is the desperate attempt of the LA-based Counter Terrorist Unit to prevent an act of catastrophic magnitude and the action focuses on the unit’s agents, the White House and the terrorist suspects. The[ …]

Biopolitics: Between Terri Schiavo and Guantanamo

Now we finally learned what we all suspected: the numerous reports and testimonies about the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons were a trap to distract the attention of the public from the true secret: in the last days, big media reported that the CIA operates secret detention facilities beyond the reach of the law and outside official oversight at bases in two eastern European countries and some other Asian countries. The CIA has not even[ …]

Are we in a war? Do we have an enemy?

When Donald Rumsfeld designated the imprisoned Taliban fighters ‘unlawful combatants’ (as opposed to ‘regular’ prisoners of war), he did not simply mean that their criminal terrorist activity placed them outside the law: when an American citizen commits a crime, even one as serious as murder, he remains a ‘lawful criminal’. The distinction between criminals and non-criminals has no relation to that between ‘lawful’ citizens and the people referred to in France as the ‘Sans Papiers’.[ …]