Slavoj Žižek, the viral philosopher

Controversial Slovenian made popular through his YouTube videos spoke to huge crowd in Madrid

To be able to put together a logical speech that combines porn with subjectivism, scatology with the refoundation of the political left, or French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan with German-American film director Ernst Lubitsch, and then to throw in a dose of regional jokes and Taylor Swift references – this is not something that just anyone can manage. But the Slovenian thinker Slavoj Žižek, 68, has turned it into an art form. Or into a show, as his detractors like to say.

Žižek is a controversial philosopher, an agitator who thrives on political incorrectness. His erudition, command of theory and vast cultural knowledge have made him a modern-day Sartre of sorts, at least when it comes to his ability to penetrate the public sphere, say his supporters.

Simultaneously, his overwhelming communications skills, use of language (as far removed as one can imagine from that of academia) and familiarity with pop culture have helped Žižek take his message to twenty- and thirtysomethings who are angry at the current state of affairs and at the neoliberal paradigm. He has connected with them because of what he stands for.

Oh, and because of his YouTube videos.

Some people think that the character created by Žižek and its viral nature have overtaken Žižek the thinker

His viral speeches, including a hilarious one in which he explains the differences between French, English and German thought by analyzing toilet design in each of these countries, partly helps to explain the long lines on Wednesday outside the Círculo de Bellas Artes, a major cultural center in downtown Madrid, to hear Žižek’s A Plea for Bureaucratic Socialism. The venue was filled to capacity and around 500 people were left out, according to organizer estimates.

Read more here.

Reading Žižek – Where to Start?

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