Through democracy, tolerance, in an authentic sense, means that you simply cannot say certain things publicly. You are considered—you know, like if you say publicly an anti-Semitic, sexist joke, it’s unacceptable. Things which were unacceptable ten, fifteen years ago are now acceptable.
clearly in great part his accomplishment at least in his niche. And he went on to explain, excitedly, his method in another propaganda effort:
The typical rhetorical trick here is in two moves. First, you of course condemn the far right—"no place in our developed democracy." But then you add, "But they are addressing the real worries of the people," and so on and so on. So, in precisely—that’s the dirty sophistic trick—in order to prevent hatred outbursts, we have to control the situation.
But even more striking is this interview with Paul Mason, who should know better:
Toward the end Zizek is tripped up by a question and with his characteristic evasive manoeuvre changes the subject to his self-definition, performing the "Robespierre" Zizek, that is, the Robespierre of Burke's imagination, declaring himself the crazed bourgeois reformer who is indifferent to human suffering and fixated on his "brutal theory" which must "have priority". It would be his nightmare, he says, to be taken for someone who is compassionate and concerned about human suffering. What then could possibly be his objection to the status quo? What can a rich famous man have to complain about about the present? We are left to understand he is this "type" of insane demagogue of liberal ideology, a madman possessed of an Idea, in thrall to a Vision, a loon lusting after power for its own sake.
Then he closes the interview by saying to Mason: "so, I will see you in hell or communism."
A viewer sympathetic to the Marxist tradition he claims commitment to of course will note this is a kind of inexplicably crass rewording of the choice before us now very urgently as phrased once famously by Luxemburg: Socialism or Barbarism. But the tape of the interview keeps running to a little moment of the "after" where the formal pose is broken and interviewer, interviewee are laughing together and speaking toward the crew/producer offstage. And it is a truly remarkable moment in which Zizz hastens with childish impatience to his confession to the conscious performance of his Colberttian persona which I have been explaining against such obstinate resistance. We see Zizek's excitement; he cannot help but boast of what he has just done, and he explains that this very remark was directed at the "right winger" in the audience to inspire the thought or reminder "but they are the same!" See see, if you are a right winger, he says breathlessly, his speech impediment suddenly cured, you will say "but they are the same!"
He's said something like We must choose between communism or hell, socialism or barbarism, but - he is thrilled to confess and eager to recieve the consequent admiration for - only to convey the message, to the "right winger" (or anyone not enamoured of the genocidal Nietzschean macho tyrant figure he performed) that Communism is Hell! Socialism is barbarism! He can hardly contain himself he is so proud of the ruse; he's squirming in his chair with delight at himself, waving his arms to encourage applause.
He speaks for to speak against, and at this point he has done so well, there is such a nightmarish explosion of white supremacist misogynist fascistic aggression and he has made such crucial contributions to imperial apology and reactionary cultural politics to interfere with the (urgent) development of a serious public discourse about the real transition from capitalism to something else, (real catastrophe and real possibilities for transformation to the understanding of and confrontation with which Hollywood movies and corporate tv and endless attention to them only distract from and hamper) that he cannot contain his desire for credit, his yearning to take his bow for the brilliance of his histrionics, to be admired for his cleverness and the object of gratitude for his services to the bourgeoisie.
But unlike Dustin Hoffman he need not be shot for this. Because it doesn't matter. The fanaticism is so intense because he has not really fooled his audience but been complicit with them, given them their white supremacist patriarchal pleasures and politics and their alibi. They want to applaud him and recognise the genius of it as much as he wants to be applauded. Not too openly of course, but the pleasure of flaunting one's impunity - a white supremacist patriarchal pleasure - and the use of this flaunted impunity to intimidate and terrorise, requires more and more flashing.