Marxist Philosopher Slavoj Zizek Speaks Out Against ‘Woke’ and ‘Cancel’ Culture
Zizek argued that it should not be surprising that Big Tech supports these movements, since, in his opinion, we are living a ‘woke capitalism’
This Thursday, the Slovenian Marxist philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, published an article in which he insists on the need for the world to confront woke culture. Zizek says that we are facing “an exemplary case of false egalitarianism aimed at feeding hatred and envy.”
“I think Ben Burgis is right in his claim that the woke agents of cancel culture are ‘Canceling Comedians While the World Burns’: Far from being ‘too radical’, their imposition of new prohibitions and rules is one of the exemplary cases of pseudo-activity, of how to make sure that nothing will really change by pretending to act frantically,” Zizek said in the article published in Vox Populi.
In this sense, he argued that it should not be surprising that Big Tech supports these movements, since, in his opinion, we are living a “woke capitalism.” He also criticizes the fact that there are people who promote the end of meritocracy in schools.
“We are facing an exemplary case of false egalitarianism aimed at feeding hatred and envy,” he asserted.
Slavoj Zizek and his critique of cancel culture
Furthermore, he added “that in any case, the ‘woke’ position touches on a really important aspect in the reproduction of hegemony. I mean the reaction of the system, which changes from ridiculing its opponents to panicking and trying to suppress antagonism by legal means.”
However, he pointed out that it must be clear that those who oppose the cancel culture advocate the same issues: feminism, anti-racism, etcetera. But the criticism lies in the fact that the methods of achieving progress on these issues are not correct.
“Our criticism lies in the inefficiency in reaching them. With the defenders of the foundational myths, the story is very different: their goals are unacceptable, so we hope they will never reach them,” he concluded.
Vozpópuli SLAJOV ZIZEK, "No to the 'woke' culture: it's time to really wake up"
The Slovenian philosopher dismantles the mirages of the new leftPUBLISHED 06/17/2021 4:33 PM UPDATED 06/17/2021 21:37The usual reproach of liberal-conservatives towards the so-called 'woke' culture (also known as 'cancellation culture') is that it seems too radical: their partisans want to destroy all the statues, purge our museums, deprive us completely of our collective memory and purify everyday language by imposing its insipid jargon, the fruit of censorship. On this matter, I think Ben Burgis is correct when he argues that the agents of the cancellation culture are 'comedians in a world on fire': far from being 'too radical', his imposition of new rules and prohibitions is an exemplary case of pseudoactivity, how to make sure nothing is going to change by frantically feigning activity. It is not surprising that new forms of capital, particularly the anti-Trump tech moguls (Google, Apple, Facebook…) passionately support feminist and anti-racist struggles: our reality is a 'woke' capitalism. Things are not really changed by prescribing measures that lead us to a superficial ‘fair’ balance, which does not attack the root causes of imbalances.This is the latest case of the politically correct fight against privilege: the California Department of Education proposed that the differences between students with good records and their peers with lower grades disappear: Teachers must contain those who excel and encourage the less gifted , treating them as if they were equal in their abilities. Justification? "We reject the idea of talent and natural abilities", since "there is no cut that determines who is talented and who is not." The objective is to "replace the concept of innate talent in mathematics with the recognition of each student who is on a path of improvement."Is it not a case of supreme injustice that some individuals are sexually much more attractive than others? ", The philosopher ironically raisesWe are before an exemplary case of false egalitarianism destined to feed hatred and envy. We need good mathematicians dedicated to advanced science, and the measures that are proposed do not help. The solution: why not demand better education for all and better living conditions for the poor? It is easy to imagine the next step of this false egalitarianism: is it not a case of supreme injustice that some individuals are sexually much more attractive than others? Sexuality, in effect, is a territory of terrible injustice and inequality ... Equality of sexual enjoyment is the last dream of this false egalitarianism.Zizek and female desireThere are a few genuine leftist opposition voices in this tide of false justice: in addition to Burgis, I must mention Angela Nagle and Katherine Angel. The only problem I have with Nagle's book is the title: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent: Tomorrow's Sex Will Be Good Again. The claim seems to imply that sex was once good, in the non-antagonistic sense, and that it will be good again. On very few occasions have I read a book with which I agree so completely on its basic premise, collected in a paragraph of editorial advertising, which I quote here extensively, without shame: “Women are in trouble: in the name of consent and From empowerment, they are forced to express their wishes clearly and confidently. Meanwhile, experts in sexual behavior suggest that female desire emerges slowly. Men insist that they know the mechanisms of what women seek, and also their desires. Meanwhile, sexual violence abounds. In this environment, how can women know what they want? And why do we expect them to know? Katherine Angel challenges our Assumptions about female desire. Why, the author wonders, should we be expected to know what we want? And how seriously can we take sexual violence when not knowing exactly what we want is key to our eroticism and our personality? "The parts in italics (which are mine) are crucial: any feminist theory should take into account 'not-knowing' as a key piece of sexuality and base its opposition to violence in sexual relations not on explaining usual terms of “ only yes means yes ”, but rather to evoke that 'not-knowing'. This is why the motto that women "must proclaim their wishes clearly and confidently" is not just a sexual imposition, but a desexualization, a defense of 'sex without sex'. That is why feminism, in some instances, reinforces precisely that "shaming and silencing" female sexuality that it claims to oppose. What is objectionable about male sexual advances is not only direct, physical or psychological violence, but also the presumption that the man knows what the confused woman does not (and that this knowledge legitimizes his violence). A man is violent even when he treats a woman with respect if he condescendingly assumes that he knows her wishes better than she does.The only form of sex that perfectly fits the criteria of political correctness is the sadomasochistic contract.This in no way implies that female desire has any deficiency compared to male (who are supposed to know what they want): the lesson of psychoanalysts is that there is always a distance that separates what we want from what we want. It may happen that I not only want something but want to obtain it without explicitly asking for it, pretending that it has been imposed on me, and that asking for it directly would ruin the pleasure. Conversely, I can want something, dream about it, but not wish to obtain it: my subjective consistency may completely depend on not obtaining it and if I did obtain it my subjectivity would collapse. We must always keep in mind that one of the most brutal forms of violence occurs when something we secretly desire, or fantasize about (but are not prepared to do in real life), is imposed on us by an outside force.Crucial censorshipThe only form of sex that perfectly fits the criteria of political correctness is the sadomasochistic contract. Partisans of the politically correct left often reproach their critics for focusing too much on the excesses of political correctness, for example the censorious aspects of the cancellation culture and the 'woke' culture, ignoring much more serious forms of censorship. . In the UK we have the MI6 secret service with the right of veto in any state and academic instance, police controls of union activity, secret regulations on what can be published in the media, interrogations of Muslim minors about terrorist activities, not to mention of the illegal imprisonment of Julian Assange... According to some reactionaries, children should be taught a false version of the founding of the United States that looks more like a mythical virgin birth than the bloody and painful reality.I agree that this list brings together more serious sins than the cancellation culture, but I think all of this provides the definitive argument against the 'woke' culture and its politically correct regulations: why, then, is the left focusing on minor aspects of our everyday language rather than on these more relevant questions that we have cited? Not surprisingly, Assange himself was targeted by some politically correct feminists from Sweden (but not just from Sweden) who refused to support him because they took allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously (later dismissed by the Swedish judicial authorities). It seems that a minor infraction of the politically correct rules was more important than being a victim of the state terror machine.
In any case, the 'woke' position touches on a really important aspect in the reproduction of hegemony. I am referring to the reaction of the system, which changes from ridiculing its opponents to panicking and trying to suppress antagonism by legal means. Many times we find in the media complaints about the "excesses" of the theories of race or gender that ask to return to the hegemonic narratives about the American past. We are in the middle of a reactionary counteroffensive to reaffirm and whitewash the American myth. New laws proposed in at least fifteen US states propose to ban the teaching of critical theory about race, the New York Times Project 1619, and also any "divisive concepts." Children must be taught a false version of the founding of the United States that looks more like a mythical virgin birth than a bloody, painful reality.Divisive doctrinesIn Idaho, Governor Bill Little signed a law that schools cannot teach critical theory of race, which was stated to “inflame and exacerbate divisions on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin. national, contrary to the unity of the nation and the welfare of the state of Idaho and its citizens. State Lieutenant-Governor Janice McGeachin established a task force to "examine indoctrination in Idaho education and protect our young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism and Marxism."Are the forbidden theories really divisive? Yes, but only to the extent that they oppose (separate from) the hegemonic official myth that is already ‘divisive in its essence’: excluding certain groups and positions, which it places in a subordinate position. Beyond all this, it is clear that partisans of official myths are not so concerned with the truth as with the stability of the founding myths. These partisans, and not the people they despise as "cultural relativists," are engaging in post-truth; they like to mention the "alternative facts" but refuse to accept alternative founding myths.While we criticize the culture of cancellation, we must always keep in mind that we share its goals (those of feminism, anti-racism, etc.) since our criticism lies in the inefficiency in reaching them. With the proponents of the founding myths, the story is very different: their goals are unacceptable, so we hope they never achieve them.
Wokeness is an appeal to the "canned laughter" of cultural capitalism to "laugh".