Six Questions for Slavoj Žižek

J. Nicole Jones in Harper's Magazine:

ScreenHunter_09 Nov. 11 10.59For a philosopher who claims to eschew the carnivalesque, Slavoj Žižek creates quite a circus wherever he goes. After his concluding remarks as host of a recent conference in New York called Communism: A New Beginning?, the Marxist thinker, whose marriage of pop culture and theory has made him possibly the most famous Slovenian ever, was immediately mobbed by admirers. Like a rock star, he headed for the back door, leading me through a meandering underground passageway before we emerged to the streets of Manhattan. As we made our way to a nearby café, he collected a new entourage around him — mostly autograph-seekers and undergraduate fanboys grilling him for term-paper advice. He obliged the autograph-hunters, asked that aspiring intellectuals email him with specific questions, and initially insulted a man who wanted a photograph, saying “One idiot more!” The man withdrew his request with polite apologies, and a strange tug of war ensued as Žižek then insisted on being photographed.

Žižek seems to thrive on contradiction. As we spoke, he veered from one stream of thought to another in his famously thick accent. Although he claimed at one point to prefer solitude, he delighted in making attention-drawing remarks — proclaiming with impish glee, for example, that Gandhi was technically more violent than Hitler, or advising me to tell panhandlers, “Yes I have some change. Fuck off!”

More here.