|THE PILL BOX|
A CATALOG OF CULTURE & BARBARITY
this may in tself be a lazy supposition but couldn't the programme at least be seen as a gateway drug? i showed it to a few of my 16 year old students a few weeks back and it fits in quite well with the level of analysis that is expected from them at A level... none of them had previously heard of Zizek except from a few quotations I've put into their course booklets (Psychology) but some were very definitely interested in him as an intellectual (it helps that he fits their understanding of that term, right down to the lisping) and I find it hard to dismiss their interest out of hand just because it's making it too easy...
of course, perhaps they themselves have had their sights / expectations/ intellectual aspirations lowered by this kind of TV intellectualism but at least they're a little bit interested in something that's not immediately on their agenda / syllabus / specification...
i liked his hair, though not as nice as Derrida (who I think refused to be made accessible not because his work could not be prepared in that way but because it would break the carefully crafted illusion that there was any thought there at all; nothing will convince me that Derrida's theories and persona are anything other than a spectacularly elaborate and enduring piece of performance art (didn't Gilbert and George do a piece based on one of his books - ?)
(Deep Breath: P
Put keyboard down.
i'm fully prepared to admit that my reaction to Zizek is (over) emotional (or, better say temperamental maybe) rather than anything more 'rigorous'... whatever it is he 'has', it just misses me: i've been reading his stuff for years now and can't get over this base feeling that i'm being sold a pup. coincidentally, i have the same negative reaction to darian leader's books. temperamentally, i react badly to the constant - the *self confident* - reduction to simple formulae: 'So, we see cleearly here that this scene in Jane Austen / Batman / Alien' = X. Yeah, OK. And now?
wdn't be *quite so bad* if he had a stock of out-of-the-way films/auteurs (and of course he's an auteurist, right?) to run his script on, but all he's actually done is take already consecrated films, often by directors who were playing with psychoanalytic ideas in the first place (lynch, hitch). he adds exactly nothing.
i have asked this at different times and different places, but within the area of psychoanalysis/psychology/etc, does lacan have much in the way of chops? is it not worrying that this bulwark of the academic film studies sausage factory is never contested even on his own ground?
Zizeck's TV show was quite disappointing - standard stuff you'd do in media studies a-level back in the late 80's/early 90's. I - foolishly - went on to study this stuff as an undergrad, so I'm all Derrida-ed/Barthed/Lacan-ed out. I remember trying to relate 'texts' to socio-political REALITY (not 'phantasy'), or even Hollywood business practices, and being looked at as if I was the village idiot. Endless Lacanian garbage about Westerns and war movies - without once mentioning nationalism, economics or race. Well, duh - wars and genocides are about an incomplete 'mirror stage' apparently. The kind of academic 'vanguard' who played their part in handing academia over to corporate interests. Tossers.
Also using horror, sexual nightmares and surrealism to prove the point (and as said elsewhere, made by people who are very clued up on psychoano). Might even be an interesting parlour game if applied to 'Police Academy', 'Eastenders' or 'Fletch'.
Is there anything left to say about 'Blue Velvet' or 'Vertigo' that isn't concsiously displayed on the screen in all its conceptual obviousness? That's why the more pretentious critics love these films - they give 'em a chance to talk about how tewwibly well-read they are.
My love of cinema (as a substance, as a thing-in-the-world that can MOVE) comes from its 'magick', that somehow these unterfreudians have digested and burped out into a series of psychological cliches. Please never let them get their hands on music... AGUIRRE ANON
Yeah - it alays seems to be Vertigo or Blue Velvet or Peeping Tom - never Heathers or Caddyshack or whatever. Zizek et al say 'We are talking here about CINEMA!' - but it's a very specialist, fetishised little canonic sushi-slice menu of friendly-to-psychoanalytic-crib movies they seem to endlessly revisit, to mostly wring out observations of egregious obviousness. ('This scene in Blue Velvet is about The Gaze...' Well, DUH!) That they mostly pick on films that merely *illustrate* what they always knew they were going to say anyway (phallus, gaze, objet peit a, blah blah blah), is maybe no concidence. I.e., it's a bit harder to paint wicked, spectral "SINema" as a theatre of gaze and whisper and trapdoor and scintillation" if your raw material isn't Mulholland Drive, but, I don't know, the latest Jackie Chan or Drew Barrymore light comedy vehicle. (BTW: I *like* Drew.)
Something that started out as a destabilisation of all ontologies of certainty (Lacan, via Heidegger, Hegel and Kojeve) is now rolled out as THE TRUTH, Ths SAME Truth in all different situations, a Truth you must not challenge or doubt. "In this we see that X = Lacan's Y." Lego theory.
Some 'post'-derrida/lacan movies/tv made by the pomo film studies generation:
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
SIX FEET UNDER
KISS KISS BANG BANG
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
KING KONG (2005)
'IS IT REALITY?' DREAM SEQUENCES
CHILDISH SOURCES (COMICS, VIDEOGAMES, DRUGS ETC.)
MONSTERS WITH 'ADULT' HANG-UPS
TOO-CUTE TOO-YOUNG ACTORS
GROOVY ELECTONIC GIZMOS
ANYTHING BY PIXAR
ANYTHING BY COEN BROTHERS
Do they exist to confirm post-structuralist theory? Does anyone have other examples so we can concoct a handy list for film studies essays
My favourite module of film studies was 8o's cinema (a goldmine of trash with weird political clues). There was a helluva lot of fascinating anxieties back then.
Watched 'Cobra' and 'Ghostbusters' and 'Police Academy 2' and 'Trading Places' recently and they're full of all kinds of Reaganite contradictions; with a large dose of social anxiety (all those murderous sneering hispanics! Valkerie-ish women with huge tits! Nouveau riche clowns with too much power! Cops who clean their guns with sexual relish! Close-ups of oily men's muscles! The obsession with WINNING!).
Not paticularly Lacanian (or any 'good')- but much more theoretically interesting if we are to actually think about the place of production line crap in the world. Hey I love Polanski, but outside 'auteur' egos, society 'breathes' through its trashier products... remember PK Dick's concept of 'Kipple?' AGUIRRE ANON
on tonight's program he said that when women are having sex they are simultaneously making a narrative of it. Well, we've all done that!
"Yeah - it alays seems to be Vertigo or Blue Velvet or Peeping Tom - never Heathers or Caddyshack or whatever."Post a Comment
In all fairness, he did spend sometime on 'Groundhogs Day' in his book 'Looking Awry'and way too much time on 'The Graduate' in His latest. Its interesting to see how so many academics hate Zizek and Derrida, but both seem to come as such a breath of fresh air to many in the 'art community' to whom reading Kant and even Heidegger is like reading the Bible. I agree that Zizek's use of examples sometimes makes him sound like an absolutist, and i think its because even though he will deny it to his grave, deep down he wants to be a philosopher, which i dont consider him to be. It makes reading his books much easier when your not expecting anything monumental. They are like a much better written, less patronising Cliffsnotes.