Following seems an ideal dialectic response to a recent post here. A transcript of Zizek a few years ago, it highlights his quick, biting wit — you can almost hear him saying all this:
“…I will now speak a little more briefly. I want to conclude with a remark about the possible role of philosophy in our society. There is a whole series of false philosophical positions: neo-Kantian state philosophy, postmodern neo-Sophism and so forth. The worst is the external moralization of philosophy, the logic of which is roughly the following: ‘I am a philosopher, and as such I devise great metaphysical systems; I am also however a good human and am concerned about all the disaster in the world. We must struggle against this disaster…’ Derrida is weakest at that point when, in the middle of his book Spectres of Marx, he becomes entirely unphilosophical and lists the disasters in this world in ten points. Unbelievable! I didn’t believe my eyes as I read that; but there they were, ten points; and they attested to an extreme lack of thought: unemployment and dropouts without money in our cities; drug cartels; the domination of the media monopolies and so forth. As if he wanted to give the impression of being not merely a great philosopher but also a warm-hearted person. Excuse me, but here I can think of only a relatively fatal comparison: at the end of works of popular literature there is usually a short description of the author — and in order to valorize their curriculum a little, one adds something like: ‘she currently lives in the South of France, surrounded by many cats and dedicated to painting…’ That is more or less the level we’re dealing with. It almost prompts me therefore to add something mischievous to my next books: ‘In his private life he tortures dogs and kills spiders’, simply in order to push this custom ad absurdum. But I want to go on: if we philosophers are asked for our opinion, often all one wants in truth is that we introduce ourselves. Our knowledge is then a type of vague reference that gives an authority to our opinions. It is just as if one asked a great author what he likes to eat, and he answers that Italian cooking is better than Chinese cooking. We should therefore only concern ourselves with what is inherent to philosophy.”
Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek, Philosophy in the Present, trans. Peter Thomas and Alberto Toscano (Cambridge: Polity, 2009), pp. 65-7.