Slavoj Zizek: I Am Not the World’s Hippest Philosopher!
Continued from previous page
[Žižek lifts his laptop, turning it to reveal his surroundings: a sparse hotel room, with simple bedding and a single window.]
You see? I’m in a small hotel room. I escaped my home for a week; I needed it. Here, I go out just once or twice a day to eat. Except for you, and another friend with whom I Skype, I haven’t spoken to a living person for a week. And I like it so much!
My big fear is that if I act the way I am, people will notice that there is nothing to see. So I have to be active all the time, covering up.
This is why, incidentally, I claim that reality TV is so boring: because people are not themselves. They are acting a certain image of themselves, which is extremely boring and stupid and so forth. I cannot see why people are attracted by reality TV. I think it should be prohibited. And I think Facebook and Twitter should be prohibited. Don’t you think?
You know, the only photos I have of myself are on official documents, like my passport.
But wait! This doesn’t mean that I massively despise myself. No, I like my printed work. I live for that — for theory, really. And shamelessly. I hate this leftist humanitarian attitude: People are starving! Children in Africa! Who needs theory? No! We need useless theory more than ever today, I claim.
You say you haven’t watched the 2005 documentary “Zizek!,“ which you star in. I watched it recently. There was a scene in it that struck me. It’s when you bring the director, Astra Taylor, into your kitchen — to show her that you store your socks there.
Yes, to shock her! It was a very naive thing that happened. I had mentioned that my socks were in my kitchen. She didn’t believe me. She thought: “Oh this is one of his postmodern extravaganzas.” I wanted to say: “No, fuck you; they’re really there!”
Some idiots made a lot of another clip from the film… Remember, when I’m lying in bed naked (from the waist up only, of course) giving an interview? Some idiots asked afterwards: Oh, what was the message in that?
It was so vulgar. [The director] was screwing me all day — screwing in the sense of annoying me — I was tired as a dog. She wanted to ask a few more questions. I said: “Listen, I will go to bed and you can shoot me for five more minutes.” That’s the origin of it.
Now, people look at it and say, “Oh what is the message that he’s half naked?” There’s no message. The message is that I was fucking tired.
But isn’t that what you do in much of your writing? Take the half-naked man on-screen and attribute meaning to his half-nakedness?
Let’s go back to the socks in the kitchen. Surely you understood that showing this to the director would contribute to her portrayal of you as a befuddled philosophe who can’t quite function in normal life?
No, no. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a well-organized person. I’m extremely organized. Up to the minute, everything is planned. This is how I achieve so much. Quantitatively. I’m not talking about quality.
I am very well-trained. I can work everywhere. And I learned that in the army.
I may look half abandoned, it’s true. Because I find it extremely obscene to buy things for myself: like trousers, jackets and so on. All my T-shirts are presents from different colloquia. All my socks are from business-class flights. Here I totally neglect myself.