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When Thatcher was asked about her greatest achievement, she promptly answered New Labour Risking an air of redundancy, Trouble in Paradise is troubling, concerning, topical and immediate Cobbled from pieces i ek wrote for periodicals largely the Guardian and the LRB I had read most of them previously there I found his arguments much persuasive presented here, linked arm and arm, even if the repeated jokes do ache a bit after the 5th telling What I appreciate about the text is how i ek look to other theorists for answers or at least models of opportunity Sloterdijk and Berardi feature prominently So quickly inequality and a lack of social justice are inflaming many throughout the world It is a question of expectations, so watch out China Mindsets are becoming medieval at digital speeds The establishment feels threatened why Snowden, Assange, Manning are viewed as such threats the welfare state was doomed once the Wall fell, as the lack of a political alternative meant that such securities were a superfluous expenditure Z reflects on Benjamin s mystic violence while he imagines a Communist horizon I texted my best friend while reading this that I felt the weight of emancipatory politics all weekend, yet I could only trust beer in such weighty matters. i ek jerks off to words for two hundred pages.If there was a point he was trying to communicate besides how very clever he is for managing to fit so much vocabulary into a paragraph, I wasn t able or willing to extract it. Note to self Do not read any Slavoj Zizek If tempted, repeat the wordtransfunctionalizationuntil comatose.I forget why I thought I needed to read this, it was something to do with harsh words about globalization and the banking crisis, I think Much of what Zizek says may well be sharp and provocative, but he doesn t take aim so much as fire scattershot he can t leave any unrelated topic alone Worse, it s wrapped in an unfocussed jumble of pop culture, and disentangling anything from the impenetrable pseudo intellectual babbleBadiou opposes a new affirmative dialectics to what he considers the classic dialectical logic of negativity which engenders out of its own movement a new positivityis just not worth the effort.Near the end I skimmed a lot to get there he quotes a critic Ari Kohen, who took him to task over his convoluted verbal masturbation, and attempts to defend himself at length But the quote is the clearest and most succinct paragraph in the book I thought, good on you, Ari. Once I d finally finished the first draft of my PhD thesis, all 79,659 words of it, the first book I decided to read was by Slavoj i ek From this I infer that academia has warped my brain, possibly for life I found Trouble in Paradise a great deal easier to read than Living in the End Times, for several reasons Firstly it is shorter, secondly it is ostensibly based on a lecture series given in South Korea, and thirdly there is less frequent recourse to Hegel and Kant The style is much the same, however As i ek freely admits at the end, No single idea underlies this bric a brac, nothing like Negri s multitude or Piketty s soak the rich to orientate the book s analyses towards a clear political strategy The text flits from analysis of a poem or joke to discussion of genocide and financial crisis I ve become curiously fond of this unique style, but it doesn t lend itself to reviewing the book as a whole Instead, I found myself writing references to specific points in a little notebook, as otherwise I d forget them under the onslaught of further eclectic miscellanea Parts that I found interesting and thought provoking included discussion of structural unemployment as a necessary underpinning of global capitalism p.23 , the link between debt and guilt p 44 , and this comment on freedom Since free choice is elevated to a supreme value, social control and domination can no longer appear as infringing the subject s freedom it has to appear as and be sustained by the very experience of individuals as free This unfreedom often appears in the guise of its opposite when we are deprived of universal healthcare, we are told that we are given a new freedom of choice to choose our healthcare provider when we can no longer rely on long term employment and are compelled to search for a new precarious job every few years or maybe even every couple of weeks, we are told that we are given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and discover our unexpected creative potential when we have to pay for the education of our children, we are told that we become entrepeneurs of the self , acting like a capitalist who has to choose freely how he will invest the resources he possesses or has borrowed in education, health, travel Constantly bombarded by such imposed free choices , forced to make decisions for which we are not even properly qualified or do not possess enough information about , we increasingly experience our freedom as a burden that causes unbearable anxiety.That second sentence is longer than I remembered Further intriguing material is to be found on constructed ignorance p.69 , the conflict between superego individualisation and global problems p.87 , and analysis of the Arab Spring and how revolutions are re appropriated p.102 I further noted this idea about consistency and general principles versus specific circumstances market freedom goes hand in hand with the US supporting its own farmers, preaching democracy goes hand in hand with supporting Saudi Arabia This inconsistency, this need to break one s own rules, opens up a space for genuine political interventions In Greece, a reasonable call for a efficient and non corrupt state apparatus, if meant seriously, implies a total overhaul of the state A measure say, the defense of human rights which is in general a liberal platitude, can lead to explosive developments in a specific context i ek also has some striking things to say about Europe s rising anti immigrant sentiment p.138 , the necessity and impossibility of global government p.160 , and post colonialism p.170 At times, though, he is just talking nonsense What if, today, straight marriage is the most dark and daring of all transgressions It really isn t The most memorable part of the book concerned the need for a new Master The initial point is both very true and well expressed When Thatcher was asked about her greatest achievement, she promptly answered New Labour And she was right her triumph was that even her political enemies adopted her basic economic policies The true triumph is not victory over the enemy it occurs when the enemy itself starts to use your language, so that your ideas form the foundation of the entire field.From this, i ek moves through Badiou to make this claim, which I am not sure how to feel about What we need today, in this situation, is thus a Thatcher of the Left a leader who would repeat Thatcher s gesture in the opposite direction, transforming the entire field of presuppositions shared by today s political elite of all main orientations.Food for thought, certainly I was amused that i ek ended the book in the same way as David Graeber ends The Utopia of Rules On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy with an extended analysis of The Dark Knight Rises That film appears to hold a fascination for critical theorists I can understand why on some level, but it is also an absolute chaos of plot holes Here, Ra s al Ghul is compared to Robespierre I was the first person to borrow this book from the university library evidently my fellow students have no idea how to have fun. To use his own description a tartle I can t remember what his point is Una nuova epoca oscura incombe, con l esplosione di passioni etniche e religiose e l affievolirsi dei valori dell illuminismo Queste passioni sono sempre state in agguato, di nuovo oggi c che esse sono uscite allo scoperto p 153 .E-pub ⚇ Trouble in Paradise ⚖ In Trouble In Paradise, Slavoj Zizek, One Of Our Most Famous, Most Combative Philosophers, Explains How By Drawing On The Ideas Of Communism, We Can Find A Way Out Of The Crisis Of Capitalism There Is Obviously Trouble In The Global Capitalist Paradise But Why Do We Find It So Difficult To Imagine A Way Out Of The Crisis We Re In It Is As If The Trouble Feeds On Itself The March Of Capitalism Has Become Inexorable, The Only Game In Town Setting Out To Diagnose The Condition Of Global Capitalism, The Ideological Constraints We Are Faced With In Our Daily Lives, And The Bleak Future Promised By This System, Slavoj Zizek Explores The Possibilities And The Traps Of New Emancipatory Struggles Drawing Insights From Phenomena As Diverse As Gangnam Style To Marx, The Dark Knight To Thatcher, Trouble In Paradise Is An Incisive Dissection Of The World We Inhabit, And The New Order To Come if moderate liberal forces continue to ignore the radical left, they will generate an insurmountable fundamentalist wave At the time of writing Marianne Williamson, a spiritual self help author and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, remarked that US politics is gripped by dark psychic forces predictably stunning TV audiences and lighting up social media platforms The unconventional to say the least wording resonated with some viewers and mystified pundits who tried to ridicule her afterwards I believe there s no other way to explain these reactions with the typical political rhetoric but to bring on Zizek s brand of analysis If you ve seen any of Zizek s many lectures and interviews then you know the drill The arguments are verbose, circuitous and seemingly so ironically distant the listener is forced to question if it s all bullshit Yet somehow the ramblings always end with a satisfying punchline and often than not I m compelled to nod.Why doesn t he get to the point rather than force feed us with the proverbial word salad I claim there is a consistent method to his approach The very language we use to address politico socio psychological and so on issues are steeped in the waters of ideology To ignore the linguistic context is to ignore the submerged part of the iceberg If the reader can buy into at least that much then there is much to be gained from his critique of capitalism It is not a narrow technocratic critique minimum wage, distribution curves, tax percentages, etc but a critique of the unconscious in psychoanalytic terms This is a perspective that s often ignored or even openly dismissed in political discourse yet it is as Zizek might say immanent It shouldn t surprise anyone that Williamson s or many of Trumps for that matter comment captured a part of the public imagination while doing the opposite for most of the experts People already intuitively frame experiences, political or otherwise, in these terms i.e vibes, moods, psychic forces.In the wake of the US 2016 election perhaps the concerned political reader would do well to consider adopting other analytical tools other than the Rationalist approach For no matter how much you try to chase away nature, it will always come back. Slavoj is my very favourite philosopher, and this book did not disappoint.