Thursday, November 29, 2012


In October the Times Literary Supplement ran Steven Connor's review of Slavoj Žižek's Less Than Nothing. The book was published last May, over a thousand pages long. In October, while Steven Connor's review was being distributed, Žižek was publishing his next book. He is the Joyce Carol Oates of political philosophy.

In one short paragraph, Steven Connor explained Žižek's special appeal (his special pointlessness) better  than I ever managed to do.

"Although Žižek gives us plenty of pseudo-reasons for revolutionary change, it is plain that he can only keep up for short sprints his alleged outrage at the exploitation, brutality and misery that are all he will associate with capitalism. The real impulse to revolution is not to put any of this right, but to effect the joyous, violent emergence of the radically new, beyond any kind of prediction, likelihood or drearily utilitarian weighing of consequences. In this, Žižek may be said to adhere to a wholly formalist theory of revolution, which must be kept vigilantly void of any content save its own vehemence. What revolution is for, is not to usher in utopia, but to keep the dialectic alive."