Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

December 9, 2008

King of the Pseuds: At Last Somebody Calls Out Slovoj Zizeck

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 6:14 pm

Really it’s almost a test. If you hear someone one posing as an intellectual cite, or take seriously the views of the the Slovenian sophist Slovoj Zizek, you know you are in the resence of a pseud.

But at last one of my favorite critics Adam Kirsch has taken on the long needed task of exposing the Augean stables of intellectual bullshit that is the work of this fraud.

I once had a close encounter with Zizeck when I was told by someone he wanted to meet me after reading my book Explaining Hitler. For some ridiculous book he’d written explaining why Stalin was superior to Hitler because communists had “good intentions”– or something like that–which excused the fact they’d murdered tens of millions more than Hitler. It turned out he had lifted much of my critique of Hitler theories and then in an offensively ungrateful footnote acknowledged the lift while calling my work “undertheorized”. As if not until someone with his grand theoretical sophistication could make it opaque and meaningless would it be worthy. It is precisely his over theorized, under thought approach that is so apalling. Thank god he didn’t praise it, it would have been an utter embarassment to me he;s such an obvious fraud, but it demonstrated the mendacious and parasitical quality of the man and his work for all to see. I refused the invitation to share a meal with the dimwit.

Cleaning out the Zizek stables may be beyond the abilities of Hercules by now, their noxious pollution has infected the susceptible minds of so many in and out of academia. But Kirsch has performed a Herculean service, and at least we know now that we don’t have to waste time explaining to the intellectually naive what the stink is. Just send them the link above.



  1. There seems to be a spooky synchronism to this blog. I seem to be writing “I just …when” a lot. Yesterday, I just finished reading Adam Kirsch’s article on the writings of cultural critic Slavoj Zizek, after it had lingered on my desk for days. Today, I find the said article as the most recent item on this blog. (The synchronicity is not total: Cat/human love is not something I can relate to. Neither is Mr. Rosenbaum’s affection for JFK assassination conspiracies.)

    Which brings me to Kirsch’s article on Zizek. Mr. Rosenbaum’s right to praise Kirsch’s writing. He is exceptional essayist and critic. Indirectly, the article reminded me of a persistent problem in modern thinking – what has been called post-modernism. The quotes referenced in the article hew to a pomo style: discursive, ironic, and hyperbolic. With most pomo inspired writings I’ve encountered, the material is not cogently argued as reason – or if you prefer “reason” – is not highly valued, it is even suspect.

    Pomo flourishes in universities. Last month I attended a lecture given by a professor of education subtitled “the 9/11 Myth” in which he asserted that the official story of 9-11 was untrue, that it was an inside job carried out by the Bush administration and U.S. intelligence. He seemed very sincere. His evidence was less than rigorous: a passenger on one of the hijacked planes was recently spotted in Vienna. Secretive organizations such as the Bilderberg group and the Trilateral Commission were mentioned. When I wrote of my strong doubts on this blog about another conspiracy theory, I was rebutted with a long post of what seemed to me a long chain of flimsy connections. (To paraphrase Mr. Zizek: One thing you cannot accuse conspiracy theorist of is “undertheorizing”). The material was credited to George Michael Evica. Out of curiosity I googled the name and found that he too he had been an academic, a professor of literature. Perhaps pomo theory and conspiracy theories are related. They both critique established narratives – or as the cultural theorists call them: texts. There is no authoritative version of what happens, only interpretations. In fact, if an authoritative body such as the Warren Commission or the 9-11 commission issues a report, its veracity must be doubted and the commission members’ motives become suspect. “Truth” is simply a tool of those with power.

    Comment by Ian Crerar — December 10, 2008 @ 5:31 pm | Reply

  2. Years ago I read a book by Sisela Bok called ‘Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life’, which confronts the endless posturing over the elusive nature of “Truth” as the moral and ethical cowardice that it is. She begins with the observation that deception is one of the two forms of coercion (the other being violence) and notes that whether or not we can ever know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, we always know whether or not we intend to deceive. Taking it as given that any lie requires justification while the truth never does, she looks at actual circumstances in which many people feel justified in deceiving others to a greater or lesser degree and examines them from the opposing perpectives of liar and deceived. I’ve always been grateful to that book for showing a different way of approaching the entire problem of trust, which is at the root of so much that ails us and about which post-modernism has nothing of any use to say.

    Comment by marymcl — December 13, 2008 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  3. He is against torture, but not against being tortured, the left intellectual’s endgame, “The Master and Margarita”

    Comment by charlie finch — December 13, 2008 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

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