'Slavoj Zizek: the Elvis of Philosophy' a talk by Chris Bainbridge Tuesday 12 January 2016
"The Elvis of philosophers", "the Giant of Ljubljana", and "the thinker of choice for Europe's young intellectual vanguard" are just some of the descriptions of 66-year-old Slovenian-born philosopher Slavoj Zizek. "To witness Zizek in full flight is a dizzying and at times alarming experience, part philosophical tightrope walk, part performance-art marathon, part intellectual roller-coaster ride" (Sean O'Hagan, the Observer).
Zizek has published some 60 books in his lifetime, 6 in 2014 alone. You meet the same ideas and identical chunks of text in several of his works, but it's still a Stakhanovite feat. There is even an institute of Zizek studies.
He illustrates his points with an extremely wide range of cultural references, including Jane Austen, Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, G.K. Chesterton, Wagner, Eric Satie, and recent films such as "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer" ( a lesser known aspect of the great US president's early career).
His great influences are Hegel, Marx, Christianity and the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. But does it all add up to a coherent philosophy? Some argue that beneath the firework displays of provocative jokes and unconventional use of language his thoughts are unoriginal and banal. Are they right? "