Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle

Overview

In order to render the strange logic of dreams, Freud quoted the old joke about the borrowed kettle: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you, (2) I returned it to you unbroken, (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms exactly what it attempts to deny—that I returned a broken kettle to you.

That same inconsistency, Žižek argues, characterized the justification of the attack on Iraq: A link between ...

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Overview

In order to render the strange logic of dreams, Freud quoted the old joke about the borrowed kettle: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you, (2) I returned it to you unbroken, (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms exactly what it attempts to deny—that I returned a broken kettle to you.

That same inconsistency, Žižek argues, characterized the justification of the attack on Iraq: A link between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda was transformed into the threat posed by the regime to the region, which was then further transformed into the threat posed to everyone (but the US and Britain especially) by weapons of mass destruction. When no significant weapons were found, we were treated to the same bizarre logic: OK, the two labs we found don’t really prove anything, but even if there are no WMD in Iraq, there are other good reasons to topple a tyrant like Saddam ...

Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle – which can be considered as a sequel to Žižek’s acclaimed post-9/11 Welcome to the Desert of the Real – analyzes the background that such inconsistent argumentation conceals and, simultaneously, cannot help but highlight: what were the actual ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq? In classic Žižekian style, it spares nothing and nobody, neither pathetically impotent pacifism nor hypocritical sympathy with the suffering of the Iraqi people.

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Editorial Reviews

The Stranger
Zizek will entertain and offend, but never bore.
Counterpunch
Hopping from peak to peak, and periodically descending into the valley of present-day culture for refreshment, Zizek outlines a topology of activity that recovers revealed truths.
New Yorker
Zizek is a stimulating writer; with a knack for turning scenes from movies into little parables, and he is adept at spotting other people's nonsense.
From the Publisher
“Žižek will entertain and offend, but never bore.”—The Stranger

“Hopping from peak to peak, and periodically descending into the valley of present-day culture for refreshment, Žižek outlines a topology of activity that recovers revealed truths.”—Counterpunch

“Žižek is a stimulating writer; with a knack for turning scenes from movies into little parables, and he is adept at spotting other people’s nonsense.”—New Yorker

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844675401
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 11/5/2005
  • Series: Wo Es War Series
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.62 (d)

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.
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