Friday, September 19, 2008
Orasimcha. "Žižek For Jews." JEWCY.COM August 26, 2008.
Zizek, Slavoj. In Defense of Lost Causes. London: Verso, 2007. Slavoj Žižek declares in his latest opus, In Defense of Lost Causes (Verso), that while postmodernism has caused (or allowed) every other kind of racial, social, and cultural identity to be in flux, Jewish identity appears to have become fixed in a simple equation in which Jews=Zionists=racists (thank you, UN) Jews are expected, he says (in his usual difficult prose) to “yield with regard to their name”—that is, “in the liberal multiculturalist perspective, all groups can assert their identity – except Jews, whose very self-assertion equals Zionist racism.” Žižek, an internationally reknowned intellectual, has been at the cutting edge of social and political theory for almost two decades, and apparently strives to be an outsider. It is therefore no surprise that he has developed an interest in Jews, as such. Žižek cares so much about Jewish identity because he identifies as Jewish. Not literally. He is no more a Jew than Joe Lieberman is a liberal. Rather, Žižek, a product of Slovenia, a country torn by the last century’s wars, sees in the Jewish experience a representation of contemporary experience that is far more subtle than a chaotic and relativistic mash-up of identity politics. Was it not, as Žižek says, that “in the history of modern Europe, those who stood for the striving for universality were precisely atheist Jews from Spinoza to Marx and Freud?" The irony is that throughout the history of anti-Semitism, Jews stand for both of these poles. They're either too insistent on being 'Jewish,' so much so that they never integrate fully in the societies in which they live; or, conversely, reveling in a stereotypically homeless cosmopolitanism indifferent, if not hostile, to religion and ethnicity. The first thing to recall is thus that this struggle is (also) inherent to Jewish identity. And, perhaps, this Jewish struggle is our central struggle today: the struggle between fidelity to the Messianic impulse and the reactive (…) “politics of fear” which focuses on preserving one’s particular identity. . . . Read the rest here: http://www.jewcy.com/post/zizek_jews.