Saturday, April 23, 2011

A while ago Zizek managed to pass off a kitchy, tacky, nasty little Goebbelsian quotation as Gramsci. The New Left Review actually printed:

In short, our situation is like what Stalin said about the atom bomb: not for those with weak nerves. Or as Gramsci said, characterizing the epoch that began with the First World War, ’ the old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters’.



Since it sounds like something from a trailer for idiotic violent white supremacist fantasy, like Red Riding Hood, Zizek's fans loved it and repeated it everywhere, never for a moment suspecting that the communist revolutionary intellectual Antonio Gramsci would neither write nor think like a Nazi video game.

Around the same time, he picked up something similarly stinking of fish from an aryan supremacist website and has been popularising it with the help of Verso, The London Review of Books, the Guardian and the rest of the progressive press at which institutions there apparently are no longer any editorial skills whatsoever. This latest Zizek gag is a manufactured quote from the French Nazi collaborator Robert Brasillach. It is concocted from two sentences taken from articles published a year apart and spliced together to give an erroneous impression of Brasillach's position and output.

Zizek writes:

Brasillach put it this way:

We grant ourselves permission to applaud Charlie Chaplin, a half Jew, at the movies; to admire Proust, a half Jew; to applaud Yehudi Menuhin, a Jew; and the voice of Hitler is carried over radio waves named after the Jew Hertz. … We don’t want to kill anyone, we don’t want to organize any pogrom. But we also think that the best way to hinder the always unpredictable actions of instinctual anti-Semitism is to organize a reasonable anti-Semitism.


In fact the first sentence is from a piece published in February 1939 while the second is from April 1938. The sense created by this suturing of fragments torn from their context is grossly misleading.

In First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, Zizek gives the source for this manipulated pseudo-quote as '"Challenging Mind" by Rodbod' which he claims is to be found on the website europa-landofheroes.com. What you can find from europe-landofheroes however is a tribute film to Arkan, and nothing about Brasillach. Zizek has directed his readers to something I suppose he imagines justifies his Slovene embezzlement through aryanist nationalism scam, but it is no source for his pseudo-Brasillach. That can be found, rather, posted in 2006 on an aryan supremacist forum called Skadi, devoted to "Germanic Leitkultur", where the two sentences are quoted in a single paragraph in this order, the later first, but not combined as if they were part of the same text.

Brasillach's "soft" faction lost a battle with a more virulent group at Je Suis Partout, and he resigned. Yet he still could write, "I have confidence in the Wehrmacht and in Adolf's patriotism." Brasillach saw himself as a "moderate" anti-Semite. "We grant ourselves permission," he wrote, "to applaud Charlie Chaplin, a half Jew, at the movies; to admire Proust, a half Jew; to applaud Yehudi Menuhin, a Jew; and the voice of Hitler is carried over radio waves named after the Jew Hertz." He declared that "fascism is anti-Semitic." As he put it in 1938, "We don't want to kill anyone, we don't want to organize any pogrom. But we also think that the best way to hinder the always unpredictable actions of instinctual anti-Semitism is to organize a reasonable anti-Semitism."




Now this pseudo-Brasillach is spreading out through the virtual land without factcheckers, the virtual land of the gulls, where the pseudo-Gramsci and the pseudo-Chomsky, the pseudo-Toussaint, the pseudo-Enron Insiders, the fictional Arthur Feldman Viennese Jooo, and other Zizekian fabrications have also been fruitful and multiplied.

7 comments:

  1. Z didn't invent the quote for whatever it's worth. A recent academic essay quotes the monster line and gives this cite:

    Antonio Gramsci, quoted in Charles T. Wolfe’s introduction to Monsters and Philosophy, ed. Charles T. Wolfe, Texts in Philosophy series (London: King’s College, 2005), xi; introduction available at www.monstersandphilosophy.com/introduction.htm.

    Wolfe's text in turn blames French translations:

    "This quotation is often found in French versions of Gramsci; the Quaderni del carcere, ed. V. Gerratana (Torino: Einaudi, 1975), III, § 34, do not speak of “monsters” but of “the most varied morbid phenomena.”"

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  2. Alain Lipietz may be to blame.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Gramsci's notebooks don't speak of monsters, or of an "old world dying", or of "a new world struggling to be born".

    http://qlipoth.blogspot.com/2010/10/zizneys-newest-release-now-is-time-of.html

    "Se la classe dominante ha perduto il consenso, cioè non è piú «dirigente», ma unicamente «dominante», detentrice della pura forza coercitiva, ciò appunto significa che le grandi masse si sono staccate dalle ideologie tradizionali, non credono piú a ciò in cui prima credevano, ecc. La crisi consiste appunto nel fatto che il vecchio muore e il nuovo non può nascere: in questo interregno si verificano i fenomeni morbosi piú svariati. A questo paragrafo devono essere collegate alcune osservazioni fatte sulla cosí detta «quistione dei giovani», determinata dalla «crisi di autorità» delle vecchie generazioni dirigenti e dal meccanico impedimento, posto a chi potrebbe dirigere, di svolgere la sua missione."

    old traditions, ideology, customs, superstructures are drying and new ones (communist) can't be established until the real conditions for them are established, the relations of property, the changed mode of production.

    In contrast there is the zizney. It has no connection to materialist, communist tradition of thought and praxis. It is Nazi propaganda and theorising which is full of this wagnerian, self-dramatising mythologising dry ice misty visions of "old world dying" and "new world struggling to be born". (the french actually doesn't have the "old world" and "new world", though it has the monstres..

    L'ancien se meurt, le nouveau ne parvient pas à voir le jour : dans cet interrègne surgissent les monstre

    somebody gothically sexes up to

    L'ancien se meurt; le nouveau ne parvient pas à voir le jour; dans ce clair-obscur surgissent les monstres)

    And this vision of adventure-apocalypse that zizney and disney sell today is decidedly fascist, not leninist nor marxist at all, though some of these new fascists label their recycled catastrophe-rebirth fantasisies that way.

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  5. not drying, dying

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  6. Zizz just recycles all this childish mythology, the end times "the apocalyptic zero-point" and scavenges the news for fragments of reportage to give the comic book treatment, four horsemen of the usual nazi themes - the loss of essence, the disrupted relation of (male) volk to female "nature", finance capital's similarly feminised instability, the multiplication of the riff raff "slum ddwellers" who will "overflow" "their world" and inundate the Yerupeen utopia.

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