So, in light of the “Zizek Show” (the social media feud and Slate.com) – A few reflections:
(1) Is there a time for name-calling? Yes, there is a time for everything under the sun. Name-calling can be the very wake-up call one needs to be alerted to certain destructive behaviours or actions that harm themselves or others. Even some of our holy men used it. Jesus at one time called Herod a ‘puppet-king’ (it was a lot more derogatory then it is now). Sometimes name-calling is beneficial. But an eye for an eye is not, another holy man, Ghandi made the point that if we keep poking each others eyes out, then the whole world will be blind.
With that being said, I apoogize publicly for mirroring Rebecca’s initial vitriol, who has since the article apologized. (Was it beneficial to defend against Rebecca’s name-calling, partially, I would say, only if to wake her up to the fact that her name-calling does not help the fight against something bigger than this little playground skirmish). That of the plight of capitalist saturation of reality.
(2) We must keep the fighting focused on the very elements that distract us naturally from its presence, and though many may disagree with my assessment – we live in an era where the death of the institution (not just educational) is nigh. Almost, imminent. We have to prepare for this. But not, to create new ones. But in bated breath anticipate the newness that can come from the future. Answers should not be embraced so easily, we should sleep with one eye open so to keep one eye on the horizons ahead. Back to this notion of presence, an essentialist term, one we have become to comfortable with – the presence I speak of, is that of the substance of education. We have become too comfortable to define and defend its parameters. Maybe that’s the problem, we have spent too much time on defining the corners and foundations that we have forgot the most important point of dialogical discovery, the ‘what’ – maybe a child-like return to that kind of discourse can be the very conversation that immobilzes the appearence of necessity to defend our own ideological kingdoms. Dont’ simply push this simplification away, think about the implications of such a ‘what’ that has been mise an abyme and rather than try to bring this secluded query out of the abyss, we must all venture there together. Beyond the ego. Beyond the illusion of the individual.
(3) Freud once tritely said: A Cigar is not just a Cigar. Rightly so, in this context, we need that reminder. This conversation is not just Leftist in-fighting but a distraction, a negation, a puncture, a hole, a wound and a tear into the fabric of a future waiting to occur. No, I don’t believe in Utopia nor do I think that metaphysical ideology is helpful in any sense of the idea. But conversation, dialogue, inter-relationality is a place to start. To work toward something better that lies beyond heaven, which is the here and now. This conversation is a signifier pointing to the master signifier, which in this context would be that of the university, that of the student, and how the university has disemboweled any space for a new kind of relationship between the student and teacher. Paulo Freire is so important here with the claim that dialogue must replace curriculum. This is where Zizek gets it right, we need vulnerability, even the point of personal insult. This defense against political correctness or the need to ‘watch what we say’ (or joke about) is nothing short of localized (personal) paranoia and the insistence that the fable of the ‘individual’ is real. We can’t afford this any longer. We have to be tenacious and fight together rather than with another. NOTE: this is not an apology for the content dealt with (i.e., the end of academia and etc.) – but for my behaviour.
Going to apologize to Rebecca right now