Wednesday, February 6, 2008

HOW TO READ LACAN by Slavoj Zizek

I've read enough of How to Read Lacan to be unimpressed by the hyperactive Zizek style, that cool, fast, glib skimming across the surfaces of texts (mixing high and low culture, from St. Augustine's Confessions to Ridley Scott's Alien) that scoops out only what one needs to exemplify one's (Lacanian) theory before moving on to the next text. Zizek writes philosophy for the age of channel surfing. He doesn't linger long enough to let his examples drag him down. If he did, some of them might drag him into a critique of Lacan, as great art always exceeds interpretations. The Slovenian Supernova is an enthusiastic follower, not a leader.

After finishing Zizek's book on Lacan, I think I've learned more about Zizek's style than Lacan's thought. Zizek quotes someone else as saying that Lacan's writings show us how he thinks more than what he thinks. In this sense, SZ (oh, those Barthesque initials are perfect for a poststructuralist!) may be the truest Lacanian of them all (meaning, of course, the phoniest).

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