Screening Thought: Slavoj Zizek and Paul Taylor (by ICALondon).

Zizek is not quite on top form in this not-quite-an -interview from the ICA a few months back, although he does better than the rather hapless guy (and the annoying woman) asking the questions, who handles the task with such a lack of aplomb that it could almost be me up there. It may not be a barnstorming performance from the sweaty Ljubjaban pretend-madman but there are still as always a few points of considerable interest:

Zizek’s simple analysis of the King’s Speech echoes mine (although i’m not suggesting that he read it, in the same way that I’m aware that I have told more people that I Met Caetano Veloso than he has told that he met me. I digress).

In a spectacular piece of geopolitical gossip, Zizek tells us that he was told by a friend that the Chinese Culture Ministry recently banned all films and shows involving time travel or fantasy from TV on the basis that they are morally ambiguous and promote negative thinking. A cursory google proves this to indeed be the case. Bloody hell.

And finally, two anecdotas involving coffee, thankfully this time not involving sugar substitute (incidentally, did you know that the coffee industry is the biggest employer in the world? Well I never. And a propos of nothing I’d just like to mention once again that The UK’s biggest industry is weapons. I suspect I may be digressing again.) Zizek talks about the scene in the film ‘Brassed Off’ in which the female character whose name I can’t google cos I’m writing this on the tube asks the Ewan McGregor character in for a late-night coffee, and when he responds that unfortunately he doesn’t like coffee, nattily tells him that that’s okay because she doesn’t have any coffee anyway…this nice little celuloid paradox apparently illustrates an otherwise very arcane aspect of Hegelian negation, as does the following joke: A man goes into a coffee shop and asks for a coffee without cream, to which the waiter answers that they only have milk, so perhaps he would prefer coffee without milk instead. More of this kind of thing, but not many actual jokes, can be found in Mr Z’s mammoth 7,000 page Meistertome on Hegel, which is coming out later this year, and which I will Not Be Reading Myself.

Another nugget of paradoxical philosophical commentary was the point made earlier this evening by Claude Lanzmann at the rather scrappy Q & A following the full day showing of Shoah. He remarked that the strongest empirical evidence of the Nazi holocaust is the absense of corpses. More on this very soon.

We also learn from the ICA talk that Zizek has never heard of Flora margarine; I do actually intend to write something about this too before too long.

by Rich

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