‘At first I treated you as not an idiot, out of politeness,’ Slavoj Žižek said to Julian Assange last weekend, ‘but more and more I have to admit that you are not an idiot.’ Žižek and Assange were on stage at the Troxy in East London, watched by a crowd of nearly 2000 people who had paid £25 each for a ticket. If Assange changes his mind about not publishing his memoirs, he won’t be short of readers. Amy Goodman, chairing the discussion, asked Assange to respond to Joe Biden’s accusation that he is a ‘high-tech terrorist’. As Assange floundered, Žižek stepped in. ‘You are a terrorist,’ he said, ‘but in the sense that Gandhi is a terrorist.’ He quoted Brecht: ‘What is robbing a bank, compared to founding a new bank? If you are a terrorist, what are then they who accuse you of terrorism?’ Assange looked grateful.
Slavoj Žižek: 'One should bear in mind the basic rule of Stalinist hermeneutics: since the official media do not openly report trouble, the most reliable way to detect it is to look out for compensatory excesses in state propaganda.' Now count how many times George Osborne says 'confidence', ‘strong' and ‘secure' in less than two minutes in this recent interview with the BBC.
The highlight of the April issue of Cahiers du Cinéma is an interview with Slavoj Žižek. Following up on a piece he wrote about Avatar, reprinted in the March issue of Cahiers, he confesses to his interviewers that he hasn’t seen the film; as a good Lacanian, the idea is enough, and we must trust theory. Žižek promises that he will see the film and then write a Stalinist ‘self-criticism’.