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Zizek Enters India

More than a year after his entry into India (through the India reprint of TSOI), Zizek arrived in India (in flesh and blood) last week to do a lecture series with Navayana publishers and for field work in the IT lands of Bangalore.

13 comments

1 Kuhu Tanvir { 01.12.10 at 7:36 am }

I read this interview on Sunday and I am sorry to report that the journalist has taken some serious liberties with Zizek’s responses. I can say this because I was present for the interview. While I understand the constraints of newspaper journalism and their problems with space, the journalist has here presented Zizek’s answers in such a way that they seem arbitrary and silly. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I want to clarify that this was not the case. Zizek, though controversial and provocative, gave a detailed response to each question, explaining all his comments, contextualizing them. More importantly, if memory serves me right, the answer about Gandhi and Hitler has been completely misquoted. Zizek said, (at more than one event in New Delhi) the exact opposite of what this report has printed. He DID NOT say “his actions helped the British imperialists to stay in India longer. This is something Hitler never wanted. Gandhi didn’t do anything to stop the way the British empire functioned here,” he in fact said the opposite, that the paradigm shift that Gandhi wanted required an inherent violence. I don’t agree with what Zizek said, but in any case, it was not what has been reported. I am deeply disappointed with the way this interview has been manipulated and printed.

2 Ravi { 01.12.10 at 8:24 am }

@Kuhu Tanvir – Thanks Kuhu for the insiders view on the manipulated interview TOI carried . I did feel something was amiss regarding Zizek’s views on Gandhi. Hope Zizek read the stuff.

3 Kishore Budha { 01.13.10 at 12:14 am }

For Zizek/Gandhi and what he means read “Violence”

4 Bhochka { 01.25.10 at 9:52 pm }

It was absolutely evident from the interview that Zizek was being massively misquoted – and he’s made his definition of violence, and the thoughts on Gandhi, Hitler, Stalin et al that flow from it abundantly clear in a number of places on the Web, in ‘Violence’, in ‘In Defence of Lost Causes’ and a number of other places. There might be a bigger structural problem here though – for a philosopher who’s brilliantly clear in exposition (even if the thought itself is very complex and borders on the paradoxical, as it often does) Zizek seems singularly unable to handle the soundbyte – his BBC Hardtalk interview was a case in point, and I felt he let Stephen Sackur ride roughshod over him through a deliberate and clever vulgarization of his ideas. His thought is obviously difficult to compress into soundbytes that sum up ‘where he stands’, but this is I think in tension with his role as perhaps the most popular public philosopher around. For Zizek-haters, who abound on the left and right alike, episodes like the Hardtalk and TOI interviews are fodder for a thoroughgoing dismissal. The TOI interviewer, in particular, quoted him as pretty much saying he preferred Gandhi to Hitler, and while reading two pages of his work is enough to dispel that impression, how many people are going to bother?

5 Bhochka { 01.25.10 at 9:53 pm }

Sorry – I meant ‘preferred Hitler to Gandhi’!

6 Kishore Budha { 01.25.10 at 10:04 pm }

Zizek is (deliberately) misunderstood in the West. I wouldn’t be surprised if others get riled up by what he says.

7 angad chowdhry { 01.31.10 at 5:59 am }

Everyone is perpetually misquoted, Zizek only more stupidly so.

Putting him in a room with a TOI journalist was going to end up like this, I am surprised anybody expected any thing different. Have you ever read the TOI? Its not like being interviewed by Josefina Ayerza on Lacanian Ink.

Or did you think that “this time, it’s gonna be different … the TOI will see what I see, recognize what i do in this cuddly sadistic bear”.

The truth has structure of fiction. Perhaps you wanted it to end this way.

8 Kishore Budha { 01.31.10 at 10:54 am }

The Lacanian question is, what do we want out of Zizek?

9 angad chowdhry { 01.31.10 at 5:14 pm }

Or, what did you think Zizek would do to the Journalist?

10 Kuhu Tanvir { 01.31.10 at 6:22 pm }

I am sufficiently ashamed to admit that I did think, ‘it looks like this time TOI may get it right’. My sense of achievement at having met a rare species (a TOI journo who seemed to know what he is talking about, not many can boast of that now can they?) got the better of me and I got what I deserved.

11 R. Pointer { 02.03.10 at 8:54 am }

Is Zizek saying what Fanon said? Because then I can see what he means by saying Gandhi being as such. Fanon said violence was a necessary act to cut the changes of colonialism – without it, you just get colonialism with national elites running the same apparatus as before.

12 dung beetle { 02.04.10 at 8:45 am }

Thank god for people like Zizek and Fanon. But for them, the rest of us would never have had the remotest comprehension of what violence meant.

13 My penance « An und für sich { 02.07.10 at 6:41 pm }

[…] I am glad to find that Zizek was misquoted in an interview in which he is supposed to have said some really incomprehensible stuff about […]

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