First As Tragedy, Then As Farce

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Overview

From the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown.

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Overview

From the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

New Republic
“The most dangerous philosopher in the West.”
The New Yorker
“Zizek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation.”
Times Literary Supplement
“One of the most innovative and exciting contemporary thinkers of the left.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education
“The Elvis of cultural theory.”
Los Angeles Times
[A] great provocateur and an immensely suggestive and even dashing writer... Zizek writes with passion and an aphoristic energy that is spellbinding.— Richard Rayner
Richard Rayner - Los Angeles Times
“[A] great provocateur and an immensely suggestive and even dashing writer... Zizek writes with passion and an aphoristic energy that is spellbinding.”
From the Publisher
“Žižek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation.”—The New Yorker

“The Elvis of cultural theory.”—The Chronicle of Higher Education

“One of the most innovative and exciting contemporary thinkers of the left.”—Times Literary Supplement

“Žižek is an influential thinker, and this short book offers an excellent entry into his thought.”—David Gordon, Library Journal

“[A] great provocateur and an immensely suggestive and even dashing writer ... Žižek writes with passion and an aphoristic energy that is spellbinding.”—Richard Rayner, Los Angeles Times

“The most dangerous philosopher in the West.”—New Republic

Publishers Weekly
The charismatic and contentious Zizek (The Sublime Object of Ideology) turns his versatile intelligence and acute ear for irony to a critique of contemporary capitalism. Given the recent financial crisis, Zizek argues that it is now “impossible to ignore the blatant irrationality of global capitalism.” He sifts through recent history to reveal how capitalist ideology functions to defend the system against any serious critique, despite its manifest flaws. He draws a sharp line between liberalism and the radical left, showing how the socialization of the banks—and socialism itself—is actually aligned with the preservation of capitalism rather than inimical to it, and derides “socially responsible” ecocapitalism as another avatar of a bankrupt system. Zizek concludes with a new articulation of “The Communist Hypothesis,” setting socialism and communism as antagonists and presenting a utopian vision that relies on breaking out of the structures and strictures of statism and the markets. An earnest and timely challenge, Zizek's critique of capitalism and repositioning of communist thought is both insightful and well-reasoned, and guaranteed to rile readers across the political and theoretical spectrum. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Slovenian-born philosopher Zizek (international director, Birkbeck Inst. for the Humanities, Univ. of London; Violence; Welcome to the Desert of the Real) here argues that only a revolution that aims to overthrow the global capitalist system and replace it with a socialist society can save the world from a dire fate. He writes that, at present, an elite class of the superrich lives in a luxurious world with rare contact with anyone else. The poor have little prospect of improving their condition, and matters are likely to grow worse. As if this were not bad enough, genetic manipulation will be used to ensure a pliant population. What can save us? Only, Zizek writes, a revolution that unhinges all our conventional categories. His analysis of capitalism, although presented with his usual combination of paradox and panache, is based entirely on classical Marxism. VERDICT Zizek seems more expert in Lacanian psychoanalysis than in economic theory, and readers are likely to differ in their assessment of his analysis. There is no doubt, though, that Zizek is an influential thinker, and this short book offers an excellent entry into his thought.—David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ., OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844674282
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 10/5/2009
  • Pages: 158
  • Sales rank: 483,565
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cover tells it all?

    All we can do is assume the position and let the world go where it will? Is Zizek really a fatalist? Me thinks not. The obvious flaws in the capitalistic world dynamic are repeated ad nausea and there is seemingly nothing new here, so one is tempted to move on. But not so quickly, surely one such as Zizek must have something to prove if "he is the most dangerous philosopher" or words to that effect that that threatens from the cover.
    Alas, he harkens back to the revolutions in Haiti, Cuba, and among other luminaries, tips his hat to Che Guerva and even our Venezuelan friend (fiend) albeit with their flaws and limitless limitations that provide a Pavlovian bell to the Stalin/Lenin follies. He does back-handily (reading between the lines) admit that communism isn't in fact a naturally occurring system of the body politic rather one that lies in wait for opportunity and relies on a systemic catastrophe before the hegemonic structure is vulnerable to being ousted.
    His cheering for the financial meltdown as the last best opportunity to awaken the shopping masses aside- his point on the Freudian concept that our existence boils down to the creation of another person not ourselves as our raison de etre, helps explain the anomie gripping and strangling the proletariat and any hope of his communist utopia.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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