Presented by Poetry-in-the-Round and hosted by English Professor Russell Sbriglia, Slavoj Žižek presented a talk at Seton Hall University entitled "Samuel Beckett as the Writer of Political Abstraction; or, What Can Beckett Tell Us about the Alt-Right and Political Correctness?"
In a wide ranging talk before a full audience, the renowned academic discussed everything from the difference in responses to applause by fascists and party communists, the inherent inability of Ivy League schools to engage in meaningful innovation, "green bullets," the scourge of antisemitism, hysteria and even, for a moment or two, Samuel Beckett.
On ideology and the prospect of living in what has been described as a post-ideological era, Žižek said, "We've never lived in an era that is so truly, radically ideological than our era today precisely because, apparently, nobody believes in it."
"But belief is a very paradoxical structure," he noted and then told a joke about Neils Bohr, who was asked by another scientist why Bohrs, as a scientist, would have a horseshoe – in Europe believed to ward off evil spirits — hanging at the entrance of his vacation home? Did he believe in such superstitions? "Of course not," Žižek tells us said Bohrs, "I'm not an idiot. Of course, I don't believe in it. I'm a scientist."
"Then why do you have it?" said the friend.
"I have it because although I don't believe in it, I was told that it works even if you don't believe in it."
Žižek then exclaimed: "That's ideology today. Nobody has to believe in it… The illusion is in our acts."
You can watch the full presentation at Seton Hall by the man The Chronicle of Higher Education described as "the Elvis of cultural theory," here.
Categories: Arts and Culture