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Tag Archives: Liberalism

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.