(HT: New Humanist)
2009 was a huge year for me. Not only were there some serious personal considerations being dealt with (still being dealt with), but intellectually I was challenged more than I have in any other previous year. No doubt this was largely due to finishing my undergrad (at a small private college in Southern Cali) and starting my postgrad program at the University of Nottingham. So, I figured it might be fun to take note of some highlights of ’09. And what better way to do so than with some short LISTS!!
Best Books Read in ’09 (Not necessarily newly published):
1. Being and Nothingness/Transcendence of the Ego – Jean-Paul Sartre (had to put them as one considering the former is a consummation of sorts of that which was begun in the latter)
2. The Riverside Milton – John Milton; Ed. Roy Flannagan (“Il Penseroso” inspired some body art!!)
3. Christ in Postmodern Philosophy – Frederiek Depoortere
4. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning – Rene Girard (Thanks for the recommendation Troy!)
5. The Paris Lectures – Edmund Husserl (My first real intro to Phenomenology)
Best Movies Watched in ’09 (Not necessarily newly released):
1. “Inglorious Basterds”
3. “In Bruges”
4. “Il Vangelo Secondo Matteo”
5. “Lars and the Real Girl”
Best-Worst Political/Celebrity Moments:
1. Palin – Ever heard of “foot-in-mouth syndrome”???
2. The Glenn Beck March on Capitol Hill – One of my favorite signs read, “You can keep your Kool-aid. I drink TEA!”
3. Obama Nobel Peace Prize – Was this simply a move to get people to actually care about the Nobel Committee?
4. “Personal Ordinariates”
Best New Beer Tasted:
1.Guinness in England! Nuff said…
Troy (and anybody else for that matter), what say you?
Zizek makes a great point in his new book when discussing the false binary in contemporary politics between permissive liberalism and fascistic populism: those who have oft-suggested an alliance of revolutionary politics in the West with more-or-less populist uprisings in the Middle East and Third World have completely missed the point of true revolutionary action. Such a position, Zizek claims, is commensurate with correlating the current uprisings against capitalists with Hitler’s own national socialism (since, as we all know, the Nazi’s really meant ‘capitalists’ when they said ‘Jews’). As Zizek states:
“It would be a fatal mistake to think that, at some point in the future, we will convince the fascists that their “real” enemy is capital, and that they should drop their particular religious/ethnic/racist form of their ideology in order to join forces with egalitarian universalism.” (Zizek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, 70)
I can’t help but think that this same principle applies in the theological realm as regards the new traditionalisms (MacIntyre, Milbank, etc.). Any and all reactionary positions, whether in politics or theology, are bound to be determined by that to which they are antithetical. Or, as Zizek has explained elsewhere, the first popular reaction to catastrophe (whether economic, ecological, or otherwise) is never one of universal solidarity, but of out of control populist violence. We must resist this type of blatant antagonism in theology as much as in politics. Instead, Zizek proposes fidelity to an event whose coordinates, a la Badiou, are not fixed according to the given situation. For Zizek, this means a radical “starting over from the beginning” – as opposed to a return to a previous high point. In theology, this would mean the ultimate eradication of any nostalgia for a previous politico-theological era. A radical rethinking of the very roots of theology are needed, and a theoretical blind eye must turned to modern antagonisms. As Barth once advised: we should utterly ignore the world when going about the business of theology, but always do so for the sake of the world.
So, I’ve had a recurring dream of late that my girlfriend is dating Slovenian pop-icon/Philosopher Slavoj Zizek.
Basically, the dream begins with my girlfriend and I having and intense conversation in which I am confusingly dealing with her admission that she is still dating her long-time lover, Zizek. Apparently there is some sort of assumed sordid history inside this tumultuous love triangle. During the duration of the conversation between her and myself, I get to the point where I actually picture Zizek (not exactly a god-like physical specimen) and then assume that she MUST be attracted to him for his mind. Turning to ask her about her attraction to Zizek, I am met with apathy and what seems like frustration that I can’t simply “deal with it.” To make matters worse, she then proceeds to elaborate on the physicality of their relationship, which simply infuriates and disgusts me even more. It’s at about this time when I awake.
Feel free to psychoanalyze all the minute details – if nothing else it might be enjoyable to poke fun at my neurosis. But what gave me a nice chuckle about this the other day is when I told her about the recurring dream. Her response was classic and humorously disturbing: “Maybe you’re just insecure about an intellectual relationship that you actually have with him.”
Thanks, Kim… thanks ;)