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46 comments

[–] fae 27 points (+27|-0)

human sexuality is immanently perverted, traversed by sadomasochist spins and power games, that in it, pleasure is inextricably interlinked with pain.

I love it when men tell on themselves by revealing the depravity of their minds but call it "human nature". Nah, that's just you, bro.

[–] remquarqk 11 points (+11|-0)

I know right? "traversed by sadomasochist spins"

....nah.

Although if anything this reveals in a way the hypocrisy of TIMs who also think this way.

[–] remquarqk 17 points (+19|-2)

human sexuality is immanently perverted, traversed by sadomasochist spins and power games. What we get from many LGBT+ ideologists is the opposite of this insight, the naive view that, if sexuality is not distorted by patriarchal or binary pressure, it becomes a happy space of authentic expression of our true selves.

I don't think his work should be celebrated really. IMO it's a lot of mumbo-jumbo (but again I'm nothing of a philosopher.) I think though what he's trying to say here is that there's no way an authentic "gender identity" can exist apart from pressures of patriarchy and social conditioning, which seems pretty accurate. Too bad he's mixing up sex with gender here though.

[–] Whatshername 10 points (+10|-0) Edited

Sometimes I feel like I'm not smart enough to understand Zizek, but then I wonder if maybe what he's saying doesn't make that much sense. I do wish to understand why so many people listen to the guy.

[–] remquarqk 11 points (+12|-1)

He oftentimes doesn't make a lot of sense, it's not you.

[–] Berfnoel [OP] 10 points (+11|-1)

He makes a lot of sense to those who have a background/interest in psychoanalysis and philiosophy so if you're not interested in that sort of thing, esp Lacan and Hegel, he will most likely not make any sense to you.

[–] femuhnist 6 points (+6|-0) Edited

Yeah, this. It’s OK if it’s not your thing, but anti-intellectualism isn’t the way. Not everyone has read Lacan, it’s fine, but simply not understanding what Zizek is saying is not a great reason to dismiss it.

It reminds me of my annoyance with the ways in which people attack Judith Butler — I strongly disagree with what she says, but attacking her work for being difficult and so obvious bullshit is, like, not the wonderful argument some seem to think it is.

[–] eris 6 points (+6|-0)

To be able to understand Zizek, you need to immerse yourself in Zizek. The man writes like a maniac (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavoj_%C5%BDi%C5%BEek_bibliography), but luckily there are themes and frameworks that he, in a sense, recycles. So once you go through a couple of books, you'll find similar jokes, similar reflections, based on similar concepts.

In many ways, he is rather impressive, but he is first and foremost a psychoanalyst (not a philosopher), and that is just not everyone's cup of tea.

[–] RisingUp 7 points (+7|-0)

Hi, the link is paywalled, can you post the text? What I've read of it seems to me to be wrongheaded but at least interestingly so.

I'm rather impressed with the Spectator for publishing him - they've been great on the GC front, and for a right wing magazine to publish an actual communist is impressively open-minded.

[–] remquarqk 10 points (+10|-0) Edited

Although partisans of LGBT+ like to dismiss psychoanalysis as out of date, many of them fully participate in the ongoing repression of basic Freudian insights. If psychoanalysis taught us anything, it is that human sexuality is immanently perverted, traversed by sadomasochist spins and power games, that in it, pleasure is inextricably interlinked with pain. What we get from many LGBT+ ideologists is the opposite of this insight, the naive view that, if sexuality is not distorted by patriarchal or binary pressure, it becomes a happy space of authentic expression of our true selves.

Suffice it to remember what happened with “The Girl” (Lucas Dhont, 2018), a Belgian film about a 15-year-old girl, born in the body of a boy, who dreams of becoming a ballerina. Why did this film trigger such ferocious reactions in some powerful post-modern-post-gender circles? The predominant LGBT+ doctrine encourages the rejection of biologically and/or socially given gender identities and advocates individual’s self-acquaintance and politicisation of its identities: “You are free to define yourself as how you feel yourself! And everybody shall accept you as how you define yourself” This, exactly, is what happens in the film: the teenager protagonist is fully encouraged to adopt “the way she feels”, her identity; she is encouraged to improve “point” in ballet (despite very strict and difficult classical ballet training standards), her doctor prescribes hormones, the ballet instructor gives private lessons to her, the father continuously asks her about her problems to encourage her to talk, she is even encouraged to elucidate her fantasies to her psychologist and to her father, and the we see things getting worse. Many LGBT+ activists attacked it ferociously for its focus on the traumatic aspects of gender transition, for its depiction of the painful details of gender change, claiming that it functions as a pornographic horror show – although the ballerina on whose life the movie is based defended it staunchly, insisting that it portrays perfectly her troubles. In these critiques, we are obviously dealing with a conflict between the painful reality of gender transitions and its official sanitised version which puts all the blame on social pressure.

Here is a happier version of the transgender transition: Gilette was recently bombarded with praise for publishing an ad in which a transgender man is learning to shave. The ad shows Toronto-based artist Samson Bonkeabantu Brown while he is shaving “with some coaching from his father. ‘I always knew I was different. I didn’t know there was a term for the type of person that I was. I went into my transition just wanting to me happy. I’m glad I’m at the point where I’m able to shave,’ he says. ‘I’m at the point in my manhood where I’m actually happy. /…/ I shot this ad for Gillette and wanted to include my father, who has been one of my greatest supporters throughout my transition, encouraging me to be confident and live authentically as my best self.’” One has to listen carefully to the words used here: there is no social constructionism of gender mentioned here, you just discover your true self and then try to live authentically, reaching happiness by being faithful to it. If the term “essentialism” has any meaning, this is it. One should also note that, in both cases (The Girl and the Gilette ad), we witness a weird patriarchal spin: although the transition was done in the opposite direction (man to woman in the film, woman to man in the ad), it is the father (a good one, this time) who benevolently watches over it. Not surprisingly, we get here a father who serves as the support of the subject’s authentic life, of living true to its self, which was always the function of the Name-of-the-Father. Should we then not evoke here Lacan here who said that “any shelter in which may be established a viable, temperate relation of one sex to the other necessitates the intervention of that medium known as the paternal metaphor”? So father not only guarantees a viable relation of one sex to another, he also guarantees a soft and painless passage from one sex to another.

Many observers noticed a tension in LGBT+ ideology between social constructivism and (some kind of biological) determinism: if an individual biologically identified/perceived as man experiences himself in his psychic economy a man, it is considered a social construct, but if an individual biologically identified/perceived as man experiences herself as woman, this is read as an urge, not a simple arbitrary construct but a deeper non-negotiable identity which, if the individuals demands it, the demand has to be met by sex-changing surgery. Along the same lines, kindergartens in Norway were told that, if a small boy is seen playing with girls, this orientation should be supported, he should be stimulated to play with dolls, etc., so that his eventual feminine psychic identity can articulate itself.

The Freudian solution is here rather simple: yes, psychic sexual identity is a choice, not a biological fact, but it is not a conscious choice that the subject can playfully repeat and transform. It is an unconscious choice which precedes subjective constitution and which is, as such, formative of subjectivity, which means that the change of this choice entails the radical transformation of the bearer of the choice.

[–] IronicWolf 7 points (+9|-2)

Zizek is antifeminist and has many troubling opinions on women.

https://medium.com/@sarabollman/žižek-is-right-about-sex-1b65a635cd95

[–] Berfnoel [OP] 10 points (+10|-0) Edited

As a radical feminist who isn't very keen on nudity being liberating, I really don't understand why you feel his opinions are troubling. What he explains IS the logic of the average liberal woman - I don't agree that they should objectify themselves but they do and they feel empowered by being the active agents. I would further argue that it isn't limited to feeling empowered because she gets to terminate the male gaze when she wants to and manipulate a situation to her desire but that in capitalist societies, being able to bank off of it has also become the most dominant understanding of liberation (the rise of self-published porn, cam girls, only fans etc).

Why is Zizek pointing this out so problematic? He is analysing the situation, he isn't giving his opinion as you seem to have claimed.

Now I can see why people have a hard time understanding him - he is from a psychoanalytic background. He analyses and tries to explain social reality in a very elusive, philosophical way.

[–] Freyja 6 points (+6|-0)

I think others may be having the same problem as me, primarily what you mentioned about his psychoanalytic background. When reading his writing, it was coming across to me as 'this is how things are and how they always will be. this stuff is just inherent', but after reading the comments here by you & others and receiving some guidance from an aquaintence well-versed in Lacan - it really is the unfamiliarity with his other writings and not being familiar with psychoanalysis. If he truly is writing from the perspective of explaining the current state of things & how that logic is constructed rather than it seeming moreso like he is presenting his personal views - makes sense!

[–] femuhnist 3 points (+3|-0)

A lot of psychoanalytic writers, especially Lacanians, have a very decisive way of writing. Personally, I enjoy it but I have friends and colleagues who hate it. It’s a different style for sure. Thank you for checking in with your friend instead of relying on a kneejerk impression, like too many people do!

[–] JLeGuin 2 points (+2|-0)

I do understand that people May have a hard time with the nuance of him describing the motivation and mental framework of people's choices, versus saying "this how it be," Though I appreciate your responses to these things.

[–] Whatshername 8 points (+8|-0)

He's anti #metoo as well

[–] Berfnoel [OP] -1 points (+4|-5)

A lot of feminists, esp those who are anti-capitalist and anti-liberal oppose the #metoo movement.

[–] Berfnoel [OP] 6 points (+8|-2) Edited

https://life.spectator.co.uk/articles/transgender-dogma-is-naive-and-incompatible-with-freud/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScZCL0KYj3M

He is truly amazing and so enjoyable to listen to so I recommend everything by him but these links I have provided here are his gender-critical stuff.

[–] AriadneOnNaxos 2 points (+7|-5)

Influential? He’s a self-important jargoneer we mostly point at and laugh.

[–] Berfnoel [OP] 5 points (+5|-0)

Yeah, he uses a lot of psychoanalytic jargon which is not very relatable to the average person but to say he is self-important... I think not. He is amongst the very few who still have intellectual honesty and integrity - he speaks out regardless of the backlash he knows he and his career will suffer. Got to respect that.

[–] Whatshername 3 points (+3|-0)

Isn't his very career built on being provocative?

It reminds me of how people call Ricky Gervais brave, but he gets invited to host the Golden Globes year after year precisely because he's edgy.

[–] Berfnoel [OP] 6 points (+6|-0)

I don't know much about Ricky Gervais so forgive me but Zizek is an intellectual who has spent his entire career trying to get the left to grow a backbone.

Have you seen his debate with Jordan Peterson? Zizek exposes these wishy-washy, postmodern characters to be the fascists and charlatans that they are. Peterson was humiliated and even he himself admitted that he got his ass handed back to him. Zizek is trying to bring the radical left back on the scene because we have been boxed in with these snowflake liberals who cry about pronouns and we have been so marginalised. He also explained how this was precisely his aim - throughout the whole debate with Peterson, Zizek was a lot more critical of typical right-wing concerns, even more than Peterson and he made JP look like the whiny postmodernist that they so desperately try to frame the left as being. It's brilliant and honestly, I learned so much from it and how to conduct myself and my debates.

[–] Alexiares -3 points (+0|-3)

I don't know that his ideas are designed to be provocative necessarily. He is quite infamous for his bodily hygiene and what sounds like a pointedly exaggerated accent in English (lots of strangling gutturals and lisping). He strikes me as trying to be like a male Judith Butler, but he can't quite get himself to write her level of cynical gobbledygook.

[–] lucrecia 2 points (+3|-1)

I find what I've seen from him reminiscent of my dad's old dinnertable rants. They can be entertaining in the delivery but there's not much substance. Tbf haven't seen a lot, but not really on my list based on what I've seen so far.

[–] Whatshername 3 points (+5|-2)

It's like when you're reading a poetry book and you're like "this must be too deep for me to understand" but maybe it's just nonsense

[–] lucrecia -1 points (+0|-1) Edited

Haha, tbf I've been able to follow the little I've seen so far (Pervert's Guide to Ideology, and various misc articles floating around), but they didn't seem built on a solid foundation, so feels like theory on top of theory on top of theory with nobody checking if any of the assertions are true (or falsifiable). As a 'you could interpret this this way' I'm cool with it; as a 'this IS this', I'm like [citation needed]. I did also encounter an absolutely nutty medium profile from an ex pupil of his who was some kind of pro-death therapist or something. I'll have to dig it up. That one was similar in style to the gender woo.

Edit: Ah, not pro-death, just emo, and calling herself a 'necropsychoanalyst' to be edgy.

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[–] Sycaid 1 points (+3|-2)

Hell no I'm not praising that misogynist just because he's also gender critical.

[–] Berfnoel [OP] 1 points (+1|-0)

Can you please send me a link to one thing which is misogynist?

[–] Sycaid 1 points (+1|-0)
[–] Berfnoel [OP] 1 points (+1|-0)

Yeah, I already responded to this. Not misogynist in my opinion, he is describing the average liberal woman. It's a correct analysis (sadly).