By Katie Engelhart - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 0 Comments
How did a self-described ‘classical Marxist’ with an unfashionable affection for surrealist psychoanalysis become a household name?
Earlier this month, London’s renowned Royal Opera House revealed the unlikely muse for its 2020 season: the radical leftist and notoriously unkempt Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. The opera house has commissioned four (four!) new operas inspired by Žižek’s work, which will hit the main stage in seven years. Announcing the news, Britain’s Guardian referred to Žižek (pronounced Gee-gek, both soft Gs, as in regime) as “the most high-profile and controversial public philosopher of our time.”
Elsewhere, Žižek has been called “the Elvis of cultural theory” and the “Borat of philosophy.” More flatteringly, Foreign Policy recently named him among its “top 100 global thinkers.” Almost 25 years after he published his first English-language philosophy text, he has acquired cult icon status. Žižek’s latest film, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, debuted last year in Toronto and New York. He published three books in 2012 alone—topping off the more than 50 he has written. His byline is awe-inspiringly ubiquitous—as are Žižekian decryption texts, such as the recent Žižek: A Guide for the Perplexed. There’s even an International Journal of Žižek Studies, edited by Leeds University lecturer Paul Taylor. “Certain stuffy academics had a problem with the journal,” Taylor said. “There seems to be this tradition that people have to be dead before you can study them.” But exceptions are made for Žižek. Continue…