National commemorations of major historical events usually offer an incredible opportunity for the Right to showcase its jingoistic logorrhea about national identity and patriotism. Starting this coming August, the First World War centenary will most likely be no exception.
The Conservatives are battling on two different, though not unrelated, fronts. Contrary to what Max Hastings argues, it is the Right indeed who is “making an ideological argument out of World War I, as it does out of almost everything else in history.”
In a Telegraph article, David Cameron puts particular emphasis on commemorating, and even celebrating the break-out of World War I as a moment of national unity and cohesion, “a fundamental part of our national consciousness.”
In the lead up to the release of The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, The Independent and The Guardian have published interviews with the film’s co-creators, Slavoj Žižek and Sophie Fiennes.
Largely improvised, the film exhibits the high octane intellectual energy which characterizes much of Slavoj Žižek’s work. Against the solid identities of conventional academic or philosophical respectability, his ‘habit of self-contradiction’ and ‘impromptu hyper-digressive tours de force’ make his ideas more like ‘protons ricocheting frenetically in the Large Hadron Collider of his brain’ than ‘austere’ philosophical tenets. Jonathan Romney, Žižek’s interviewer, finds joy and humour in this dynamism. For Fiennes herself, Žižek’s verve is near to being sonorous: ‘“you have to engage with it almost like music”’.
Urban exploration, urbex or UE is recreational trespass in the built environment. Among the requirements for participation are claustrophilia, lack of vertigo, a taste for decay, a fascination with infrastructure, a readiness to jump fences and lift manhole covers, and a familiarity with the laws of access in whatever jurisdiction you're undertaking your explorations. Archive and web skills are useful too, for acquiring the schematics and blueprints that will inspire and orient you. Among the sites in your sights are disused factories and hospitals, former military installations, bunkers, bridges and storm-drain networks. You should be content on the counterweight of a crane 400 feet above the street, or skanking along a sewer 10 yards under the asphalt.
The banal, biscuit-box Shakespeare needs to be broken up and his work made dangerous again. If the authorities really understood what was going on in Hamlet's head, students might never be allowed to study the text. Hamlet's world is a globe defined by the omnipresence of espionage, of which his self-surveillance is but a mirror. Hamlet is arguably the drama of a police state, rather like the Elizabethan police state of England in the late 16th century, or the multitude of surveillance cameras that track citizens as they cross London in the current, late-Elizabethan age. Hamlet's agonised paranoia is but a foretaste of our own.
Rather than look at Hamlet in the usual humanistic and moralistic manner—Hamlet is a nice guy who suffers from being given a task that is an overwhelmingly unbearable burden - we approach the play in a spirit of what Virginia Woolf calls rashness, illness, and irreverence. We look at the play through the lenses provided by a singular series of outsider interpretations that happen to mirror our mutual occupations and preoccupations—philosophy and psychoanalysis - and which shed some light on the question of Shakespeare and Englishness: Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Hegel, Freud, Lacan, Nietzsche, Melville and Heiner Müller. We’d like to give a little taste of each of these interpretations.
Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.