, Salem, MA


November 26, 2013

Watson: Social critic Slavoj Zizek will rock you


That is why he continually, reflexively — like a contrarian — works to reduce our enthusiasm for objects of desire or reverence. He is ever-worried that our identities will become irreversibly invested in theories, practices, economies, technologies, objects, groups, or leaders who will betray us, or who are at odds with mindfulness.

Zizec is not like Orwell or Huxley, who warned us of the dangers of authoritarianism and hedonism, respectively. He is more like poster artist Shepard Fairey and social critic Neil Postman (deceased), who counsel skepticism against obliviousness, oversimplification and conformity. Fairey, Postman and Zizec all want to bring to the forefront of our consciousness that very thinking that does not come automatically or easily to us. And that thinking is usually anything that would cause us to question our gods or question the prevailing context in the cultural petri dish that is our society.

Zizec is garrulous, aggravating, argumentative, over-the-top, funny and sometimes wrong. But he is a total antidote to sloppy thinking — for everyone.


Brian T. Watson is a Salem News columnist. Contact him at

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