Extremely busy day, today. I have time for only the merest sketch of a post.
The title is not mine, but a label given to Slavoj Zizek, the rock-star communist philosopher (the easiest job in the universe, incidentally; “communist philosopher”, I mean). As related in Der Spiegel, the nickname was slapped on Zizek by one of his enemies. It is apt.
You might have seen Zizek’s Living in the End Times; not to be confused with Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’s similarly covered Are We Living in the End Times?, a question which I hope is answered ‘Yes’, for it would allow me to skip paying my quarterly income taxes.
Here’s the blurb from Zizek’s jacket, which again shows similarities between LaHaye’s Christian pre-apocalyptic rhetoric:
There should no longer be any doubt: global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis. Slavoj Zizek has identified the four horsemen of this coming apocalypse: the worldwide ecological crisis; imbalances within the economic system; the biogenetic revolution; and exploding social divisions and ruptures. But, he asks, if the end of capitalism seems to many like the end of the world, how is it possible for Western society to face up to the end times? In a major new analysis of our global situation, Slavok Zizek argues that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the stages of grief: ideological denial, explosions of anger and attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and withdrawal.
The sheer hopefulness of this passage! It is emphasized in the interview:
In fact, it isn’t absurd at all to assume that capitalism and democracy have reached a dead end. “That’s true,” says Zizek, “but I believe that the left is, tragically, bereft of any vision to be taken seriously. We all wish for a real, authentic revolution! But it has take place far away, preferably in Cuba, Vietnam, China or Nicaragua. The advantage of that is that it allows us to continue with our careers here.” [emphasis mine]
This, dear readers, is not mere gibberish or bluster to dazzle a reporter. It is heartfelt conviction. It expresses a deep-set pining. Again, the interview:
His detractors accuse him of fighting liberal democracy and of wanting to replace it with authoritarian Marxism, even Stalinism. They say he is particularly dangerous because he cloaks his totalitarianism in pop culture. The jacket of his book “In Defense of Lost Causes” depicts a guillotine, the symbol of leftist terror decreed from above — “good terror,” as Zizek has been known to say.
How nice that we can finally look back at the guillotine in a nostalgic way, particularly today. It represents “good”, not “bad”, terror! Something to remind the bourgeoisie about if they get uppity. It was only used for their own good.
It’s easy to understand why Christians desire earnestly the coming of the end. For the devout, it will be a time when they meet their just rewards, a time for peace and eternal communion with God. No more sin, no death, no pain. You might not believe the possibility of this, but it is, at least, a noble wish.
But communists! They look forward to a time when those that disagree with them can, once more, be made to part with their heads. Paradise will be enforced, no matter how many have to die or suffer horribly to bring it. And, naturally, since this mass bloodshed—carried out in the name of Peace—takes planning, somebody—Zizek, perhaps?—will have to be in charge. He already has quite a following, which grows steadily.
It is said Zizek displays a poster of the sublime murderer Stalin on his wall. When a fellow traveler questions this, Zizek says it’s for a “joke.” Ha ha!
Happy Bastille Day everybody! Meet you at the guillotine.