Friday, July 17, 2009

Life, Zizek and Kung Fu Panda

Sometimes when you have things to do, places to go, cricket matches to watch, books to read, films to see work rears its ugly head and you have to put the important things on hold.

Today, over breakfast, reading the LRB, I caught Zizek's latest piece on Iran, Ahmadinejad, Berlusconi and Kung Fu Panda.
But whatever the outcome, it is vital to keep in mind that we have witnessed a great emancipatory event which doesn’t fit within the frame of a struggle between pro-Western liberals and anti-Western fundamentalists. If we don’t see this, if as a consequence of our cynical pragmatism, we have lost the capacity to recognise the promise of emancipation, we in the West will have entered a post-democratic era, ready for our own Ahmadinejads. Italians already know his name: Berlusconi. Others are waiting in line.

Is there a link between Ahmadinejad and Berlusconi? Isn’t it preposterous even to compare Ahmadinejad with a democratically elected Western leader? Unfortunately, it isn’t: the two are part of the same global process. If there is one person to whom monuments will be built a hundred years from now, Peter Sloterdijk once remarked, it is Lee Kuan Yew, the Singaporean leader who thought up and put into practice a ‘capitalism with Asian values’. The virus of authoritarian capitalism is slowly but surely spreading around the globe. Deng Xiaoping praised Singapore as the model that all of China should follow. Until now, capitalism has always seemed to be inextricably linked with democracy; it’s true there were, from time to time, episodes of direct dictatorship, but, after a decade or two, democracy again imposed itself (in South Korea, for example, or Chile). Now, however, the link between democracy and capitalism has been broken.
And then comes the punchline:
Berlusconi is our own Kung Fu Panda. As the Marx Brothers might have put it, ‘this man may look like a corrupt idiot and act like a corrupt idiot, but don’t let that deceive you – he is a corrupt idiot.’
So how do you deal with idiocracy?

4 comments:

SnoopyTheGoon said...

"Until now, capitalism has always seemed to be inextricably linked with democracy..."

And you can take this shallow crapola seriously?

Neil said...

Reading Zizek is like choosing from a box of assorted chocolates.

Sometimes he says things that hit the spot and other times he makes you pull a walnut whip face of distaste.

If it weren't that way he'd be writing Hallmark cards.

Many cheerleaders for capitalism do link capitalism with democracy
( I'm sure you can look them up if you have time to spare) so Zizek in that case isn't wrong!

raincoatoptimism said...

Zizzy loves whipping out that quip on Niels Bohr, its in every book he's ever done ever

Will said...

"Zizzy loves whipping out that quip on Niels Bohr, its in every book he's ever done ever"

so fucking wot. Blogging commenter arseholes like you make me want to go on a fucking killing spree. Fucking idiotic scum.