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Talking to the Left: Zizek and Levy

If we take the Gadamerian advisment that lived dialogue is the lesson to be learned from the Platonic dialogues, and not any particular content or Theory, one must admit that it is a pleasure, even an edifying pleasure, to listen to two intelligent persons in discussion.

Here is a recording of a discussion between two “Lefts”: the “half-pessimistic Marxist” Zizek, and the son of May ’68 intellectualism Bernard-Henry Levy, conducted at the New York Public Library on September 16th, 2008. In dialogue the theoretical/political differences between them somehow become translated in something of the way Zizek humorously describes,

Rhett Butler says to the woman, Scartlett O’Harra, ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’, like “F, three points, off” In Japan I was told, where they are very polite, you know how they translated this line when they subtitled the film? Something like, ‘Frankly my dear, I think there is a slight misunderstanding…between the two of us’… So in this sense, maybe there is a slight misunderstanding [between us]…maybe

Between each speakers’ frequent return visits to rehearsed points, heart-felt slogans and comforting illustrations, there is the experience of a communication, a meeting together. Instead of a string of sitcoms, TV dramas, or even a newshour, this nearly two hours of waxing and waning of “talk” measures something of a happy experience, where happy connotes the good life. The French riots, the consequences of ’68, the role of anti-semiticism in Israel/Palestinian stalemates, the difficulties with personal charity, the future of the Left, the problem of Fundamentalism amid Capitalist freedoms, the Fascism in the phrase Islamo-fascism, the necessary Presidency of Palin vs. the liberal path of more and more political freedoms, are all talked over, with some light. And it’s compelling to hear Zizek in his characteristic gesture say, “I agree with you without question/without reserveration/100%, when you say…”

The mp3 found over here, on this mp3 page, over at Prōlogus.

One response to “Talking to the Left: Zizek and Levy

  1. Verso Books November 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Greetings from Verso Books NYC! Please help us promote this great event by posting it to your blog or adding it to your organization’s calendar of events.

    Thanks for your time and support!

    Verso Books
    Brooklyn, NY

    Slavoj Žižek reveals the signs of the coming apocalypse…

    November 08, 2010. 7PM
    The Great Hall at Cooper Union
    7 East 7th Street, New York

    Now Žižek will make a major New York City appearance at Cooper Union on November 8 to discuss the “End Times”—in which he identifies the terminal crisis of global capitalism. As Slavoj’s events always sell out, buy your tickets in advance. Regular admission includes a FREE copy of Living in the End Times, worth $29.95. (Already have one? Then give your new copy to a friend who’s in ideological denial …)

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    Slavoj Žižek is today’s most controversial public intellectual. His work traverses the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory, taking in film, popular culture, and literature to provide acute analyses of the complexities of contemporary ideology as well as a serious and sophisticated philosophy. The author of over 30 books, Slavoj Žižek’s provocative prose has challenged a generation of activists and intellectuals. His latest work is Living in the End Times.

    More information about this event can be found on the Verso Website:

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