First As Tragedy, Then As Farce

First As Tragedy, Then As Farce

3.3 3
by Slavoj Zizek
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Billions of dollars have been hastily poured into the global banking system in a frantic attempt at financial stabilization. So why has it not been possible to bring the same forces to bear in addressing world poverty and environmental crisis?

In this take-no-prisoners analysis, Slavoj Žižek frames the moral failures of the modern world in terms of

Overview

Billions of dollars have been hastily poured into the global banking system in a frantic attempt at financial stabilization. So why has it not been possible to bring the same forces to bear in addressing world poverty and environmental crisis?

In this take-no-prisoners analysis, Slavoj Žižek frames the moral failures of the modern world in terms of the epoch-making events of the first decade of this century. What he finds is the old one-two punch of history: the jab of tragedy, the right hook of farce. In the attacks of 9/11 and the global credit crunch, liberalism dies twice: as a political doctrine and as an economic theory.

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce is a call for the Left to reinvent itself in the light of our desperate historical situation. The time for liberal, moralistic blackmail is over.

Editorial Reviews

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
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844674893
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
10/05/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
920,538
File size:
829 KB

Meet the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

First As Tragedy, Then As Farce 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
duluoz_beat More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago