August 10, 2016

Snappy dresser Slavoj Žižek: “Something is going on with Trump”


From Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty.

From Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty.

As the election season rolls on, it’s worth taking a few minutes to watch this clip of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek talking about the phenomenon of Donald Trump and what he represents. Žižek was asked about Trump at Left Forum, a major convocation of left-wing thinkers and activists, in New York earlier this summer. Being as keen sartorially as he is psychoanalytically, he appeared, of course, in an awesome, Bartleby-inspired Melville House tee shirt.

True to form, Žižek had an awful lot to say, beginning with this:

I think Trump is disgusting. With Trump, I become a racist. Like, is this really one of us? Is he civilized? No problem with blacks, Jews, Arabs — but I have a problem not being racist towards Trump.

He goes on to compare Trump’s candidacy to a scene from Luis Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty where guests sit around a table shitting together, asserts that the American left “are the moral majority in practice,” and declares that “it is absolutely crucial to remain hypocritical.” And there’s a lot more there. Give it a watch:


SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK is a Hegelian philosopher, Lacanian psychoanalyst, and political activist. He is international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, and Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University. He is the author of numerous books on dialectical materialism, critique of ideology, and art, including Event, Trouble In Paradise, and the forthcoming Refugees, Terror and Other Troubles With the Neighbors, all from Melville House.