First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

by Slavoj Zizek

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Overview

The leading philosopher of our time tackles the demise of liberalism, from the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown.

Billions of dollars were 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 Zizek 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. The election of Donald Trump only confirms the bankruptcy of a liberal order on its last legs.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781786635938
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 07/10/2018
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 1,154,265
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.60(d)

About 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, Less Than Nothing, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

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First As Tragedy, Then As Farce 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 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.
logocentric on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is ¿i¿ek at his polemical best. If you want to know what ¿i¿ek is about this is the book. It sets out in a clear and concise way his take on current politics. Get ready for his Communist Hypothesis, which does not take any prisoners and does not blink in the face of 'political correctness', "the point is simply that the British colonization of India created the conditions for the double liberation of India: from the constraints of its own tradition as well as from colonization itself" (116).This book is informative and philosophically rewarding. I highly highly recommend it. Oh, if you just received your MBA from Stanford, you might want to pour yourself a stiff drink first, because the truth will hit you hard.
jcook818 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This tract by ¿i¿ek is another solid addition to his continuing work on ideology in contemporary society. While the book tends to flow with the efficiency of a falling brick, due to ¿i¿ek's unique style, the point of the book is clear -- the ideology of 'utopia' is no longer isolated to modern conceptions of communism, but in fact it is a vital part of liberal-democratic capitalism. It starts with a critique on modern political and capitalist rhetoric, then flows into a rather disjointed (but typically ¿i¿ek) analysis of everything from Starbucks to classical Marxism. ¿i¿ek's proposed response to this "ideology in the age of post-ideology" to continue a call to "get back to work" at establishing a new communist "Idea" for the twenty-first century, one that can escape the failings of twentieth-century experimentation, and one that works in modern-day social relations and structures of labour -- a continuation of Badiou's work on a new "communist hypothesis." I found the book to be a great read, with tons of compelling points made, and would recommend it to anyone who has more than a passing interest in these ideas. At only 157 pages, it is easy enough to finish in a few days, great for a light introduction to the "new school" of modern communist philosophers.For those who are not familiar with ¿i¿ek's work, he draws a lot from the concepts of Jacques Lacan and Alain Badiou, so it would be helpful to at least have a familiar knowledge of their core concepts before jumping in to this book.
edh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like any good book title ¿First as Tragedy, Then as Farce¿ misdirects the reader then guides him back to a new and better understanding of the author¿s intent. Zizek¿s writing is dense and not easy to read. I picked this book for its leftist critique of democracy and capitalism; that it was and more. There are enough insightful comments along these lines to make the read worthwhile. But Zizek¿s shotgun approach to writing makes it difficult to see what he is aiming at. While reading if you keep in mind this central theme, the enemy of communism is not democracy or even socialism but capitalism, then the thrust of the book becomes clear. The front page blurb from the New Republic calls Zizek ¿The most dangerous philosopher in the West¿. If he was more comprehensible we would be more dangerous.
MarkHurn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book renewed my interest in political philosophy, although saying that, it is probably better appreciated by someone with a renewed interest than with a new interest. The reason I say this is that there are a lot of references to writers and use of terminology which many will not know, I found myself turning to dictionaries of philosophy more than once.The book attacks contemporary capitalist society from a communist perspective, but not the communism of Marxism-Leninism but a contemporary communist thought rooted in the classics of Kant and Hegel, but strongly influenced by psychoanalysis and phenomenology.'all the features we today identify with freedom and liberal democracy (trade unions, the universal vote, free universal education, freedom of the press, etc.) were won through a long and difficult struggle on the part of the lower classes throughout the ninetenth and twentieth centuries - in other words they were anything but the "natural" consequences of capitalist relations' (p.38). He points out that many of the demands of The Communist Manifesto have been won and are widely accepted.Some of his comments on contemporary oppositions are frighteningly perceptive: 'such a Left fears for its own comfortable position as a critical voice fully integrated into the system, ready to risk nothing' (p.75) how many in the Labour Party and trades unions must feel this at the moment? And if you do feel it can you afford to take the risks?And you think you've heard all the criticisms of capitalism? Well no, I was amazed to read that 'help' from the International Monetary Fund makes people ill, and this is no wild claim, it is based on research by a respected University, showing how IMF inspired cuts in public health budgets of many countries has led to increased ill-health in those countries (p.81).Some might be surprised that Zizek states that the future conflicts will between socialism and communism, that is a 'corporate' socialism of state and big-business that actually rules/owns most everything at the moment, the individual entrepreneur (so beloved of the neo-liberals) is extremely rare and ineffectual. There is so much more I could say about Zizek's arguments, often they are excellent, but not always convincing, he is like a boxer that wins on points and not on knock-out blows. Also, however good criticism of the existing order might be, the question will always arise 'how would you do otherwise?' and Zizek is rather short on advice in this department.
Mandarinate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The start of this book has promise as a social critique but quickly drifts into seemingly pointless erudition and abstraction. The only message I extracted from it was "there's a recession, so you see now that capitalism sucks, onward to revolution."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago