Synopses & Reviews
In this bravura analysis of the current global crisis'"following on from his bestselling Welcome to the Desert of the Real'"Slavoj Zizek argues that the liberal idea of the 'end of history,' declared by Francis Fukuyama during the 1990s, has had to die twice. After the collapse of the liberal-democratic political utopia, on the morning of 9/11, came the collapse of the economic utopia of global market capitalism at the end of 2008. Marx argued that history repeats itself'"occuring first as tragedy, the second time as farce'"and Zizek, following Herbert Marcuse, notes here that the repetition as farce can be even more terrifying than the original tragedy.
The financial meltdown signals that the fantasy of globalization is over and as millions are put out of work it has become impossible to ignore the irrationality of global capitalism. Just a few months before the crash, the world"s priorities seemed to be global warming, AIDS, and access to medicine, food and water'"tasks labelled as urgent, but with any real action repeatedly postponed. Now, after the financial implosion, the urgent need to act seems to have become unconditional'"with the result that undreamt of quantities of cash were immediately found and then poured into the financial sector without any regard for the old priorities. Do we need further proof, Zizek asks, that Capital is the Real of our lives: the Real whose demands are more absolute than even the most pressing problems of our natural and social world?
The most dangerous philosopher in the West.Zizek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation.Zizek is an influential thinker, and this short book offers an excellent entry into his thought. -- David Gordon
"[A] great provocateur and an immensely suggestive and even dashing writer... Zizek writes with passion and an aphoristic energy that is spellbinding." Library Journal
"The most dangerous philosopher in the West." New Republic
"Zizek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is master of the counterintuitive observation." The New Yorker
"Zizek is an influential thinker, and this short book offers an excellent entry into his thought." David Gordon
From the tragedy of 9/11 to the farce of the financial meltdown.
Billions of dollars have been hastily poured into the global banking system in a frantic attempt at financial stabilization. So why has it not been possible to bring the same forces to bear in addressing world poverty and environmental crisis?
In this take-no-prisoners analysis, Slavoj Zizek frames the moral failures of the modern world in terms of the epoch-making events of the first decade of this century. What he finds is the old one-two punch of history: the jab of tragedy, the right hook of farce. In the attacks of 9/11 and the global credit crunch, liberalism dies twice: as a political doctrine and as an economic theory.
First as Tragedy, Then as Farce is a call for the Left to reinvent itself in the light of our desperate historical situation. The time for liberal, moralistic blackmail is over.
One of the most innovative and exciting contemporary thinkers of the left.The Elvis of cultural theory.
About the Author
Slavoj iekis a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.