The Year Of Dreaming Dangerously

By Slavoj Žižek

Book review by jjSchaer - 14/12/2012

The spluttering Slovene is back! In his latest diatribe Žižek casts his gaze over the chaotic events that swept the globe in 2011: the mass protests and riots (The Arab Spring, Tottenham Riots and the Occupy Wall Street movement), the madness behind Breivik’s manifesto and massacre, the rise in neo-fascism across Europe and the electric cigarette are all examined. Before briefly stopping to have a quick look at The Wire’s (2002-2008) inability to accurately capture the zeitgeist (which had inexplicably finished airing a few years before 2011).

As always he examines all of the issues in relation to the thoughts of some of his favourites. Lacan and Hegel pop their head up every few pages and some Freudian psycho-sexual nonsense comes through – at one point he bizarrely makes a link between lack of sexual contact and the London riots, having only denigrated such arguments as being absurd and pointless just a few pages earlier. As usual Marxist theory is applied to any social, political and economic movement that he can think of. At one point he does draw an interesting comparison with Marx’s examination of nineteenth century France and the world we find ourselves in. Otherwise it’s all a bit tacked on.

There is, oddly, no appearance of his now signature style of comparing complex theories and social trends to the plots of Hollywood films. The closest we get is his examination of The Wire. It is an odd chapter as he seems to merely summarise the views of other thinkers on the programme and note its failings. It is also apparent by the end that he has only watched a couple of episodes.

It must be said that Žižek does his best to explore some hard-hitting and controversial subjects and, as always, his pieces always make an interesting read. However, this seems more like a collection of his essays and the subjects he chooses seem random when placed side by side. Plus there seems to be no cohesive argument throughout and his conclusion comes across as a mad rant.

Also, if you don’t like an author presuming that you’re a Marxist, then this is probably not the book for you.

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