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First As Tragedy, Then As Farce

From the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown.

Billions of dollars have been hastily poured into the global banking system in a frantic attempt at financial stabilization. So why has it not been possible to bring the same forces to bear in addressing world poverty and environmental crisis?

In this take-no-prisoners analysis, Slavoj Zizek frames the moral failures of the modern world in terms of the epoch-making events of the first decade of this century. What he finds is the old one-two punch of history: the jab of tragedy, the right hook of farce. In the attacks of 9/11 and the global credit crunch, liberalism dies twice: as a political doctrine and as an economic theory.

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce is a call for the Left to reinvent itself in the light of our desperate historical situation. The time for liberal, moralistic blackmail is over.

Reviews

  • “Zizek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation.”
  • “The Elvis of cultural theory.”
  • “One of the most innovative and exciting contemporary thinkers of the left.”
  • “Zizek is an influential thinker, and this short book offers an excellent entry into his thought.”
  • “[A] great provocateur and an immensely suggestive and even dashing writer... Zizek writes with passion and an aphoristic energy that is spellbinding.”
  • “The most dangerous philosopher in the West.”

Blog

  • Ecology against Mother Nature: Slavoj Žižek on Molecular Red

    How are we to think the anthropocene? Slavoj Zizek, in his review of McKenzie Wark’s Molecular Red below, offers a comment on one of the most pressing questions of our time. For Žižek, Molecular Red provides some answers to the major fallacies of ecological discourse: "If there is one good thing about capitalism it is that under it, Mother Earth no longer exists."



    On November 28, 2008, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, issued a public letter titled “Climate Change: Save the Planet from Capitalism”. Here are its opening statements:

    Sisters and brothers: Today, our Mother Earth is ill. … Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so called “developed” countries have consumed a large part of the fossil fuels created over five million centuries. … Under Capitalism Mother Earth does not exist, instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the asymmetries and imbalances in the world.[1]

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  • Video: Slavoj Žižek discusses freedom and love with the Guardian

    Slavoj Žižek's take on freedom was never going to be common-sensical, so it's perhaps no suprise that he begins his recent Guardian Comment is Free video in typically paradoxical style. To be truely free, for Žižek, would involve "the state taking care of things, not only without my choice, but even without me knowing about them."


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  • "I'd tax cats. Heavily" - Slavoj Zizek

    Renowned Slovenian philosopher and cultural theoriest, Slavoj Žižek, recently participated in a live webchat on the Guardian website. Guardian readers were asked to submit their questions for the typically rambunctious Žižek, and they ranged from his thoughts on Scottish independence, ISIS and the London riots to...cats.


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Other books by Slavoj Žižek