Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why I ENJOY Zizek!

If you know anything about the Jimenez personality, we oftentimes get absorbed into texts, movies and personalities. For example, if you know my brother within ten seconds you will know his undying love for everything Phantom of the Opera.

However, ever since my brother referenced Zizek to me from a critical theory class he took at Biola, I simply can not get enough of this guy. What is the appeal? A lot of people just don't get him or think he is a passing fad. Well, I think there are a number of things appealing about him (so much so that I am trying to fit him into my doctoral dissertation with Barth; I'll keep you posted on how that is going).

First, part of the appeal is Zizek's enjoyment of pop culture which matches my own. I am a pop culture junkie. The second appeal is his use of humor in his talks and books. He oftentimes has to start a sentence with "No, no...I'm deadly serious." He has to say this because the audience or the reader is too busy laughing at his funny but true criticism.

Third, he takes theology seriously. Since I consider myself a card carrying Barthian, I love Zizek's turn to theology and what he calls the monstrosity of Christ. Christocentrism!!! Of course, the real Barth would probably blush at reading Zizek's take on Christ, but perhaps not (is it too Hegelian?-which I don't mind too much). Still, the fact that he is trying to read the Christian tradition in a radical way may be the first step in waking Christians up from either being too seeker friendly/postmodern or too conservative.

Fourth, his comments on ideology. His psychoanalytic/philosophical work is top notch. In fact, it is probably stronger than his theological musings. I think he is notoriously honest about out "post-ideological/postmodern" situation. There is much food for thought about his idea that everything has to be interpreted. That is, in one sense, the freedom we gained after the Reformation.

Finally, the way he can get away with giving lectures in a sloppy t-shirt that exposes his chest hair. I hope I can boast of the day that hundreds of graduate students will pack a lecture hall to hear me ramble on about Barth, Dostoevsky and Zizek all the while my own chest hair flows from the opening of my shirt.

Michael Jimenez

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