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Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates [Paperback]

by Slavoj Zizek
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)


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Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates (Radical Thinkers) Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates (Radical Thinkers)
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Book Description

October 17, 2002 1859844219 978-1859844212 First Edition
Liberals and conservatives proclaim the end of the American holiday from history. Now the easy games are over; one should take sides. Žižek argues this is precisely the temptation to be resisted. In such moments of apparently clear choices, the real alternatives are most hidden. Welcome to the Desert of the Real steps back, complicating the choices imposed on us. It proposes that global capitalism is fundamentalist and that America was complicit in the rise of Muslim fundamentalism. It points to our dreaming about the catastrophe in numerous disaster movies before it happened, and explores the irony that the tragedy has been used to legitimize torture. Last but not least it analyzes the fiasco of the predominant leftist response to the events.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fierce brilliance ... scintillating.”—Steven Poole, Guardian (in praise of Living in the End Times)

“Never ceases to dazzle.”—Brian Dillon, Daily Telegraph (in praise of Living in the End Times)

“Žižek is to today what Jacques Derrida was to the ’80s: the thinker of choice for Europe’s young intellectual vanguard.”—Observer (in praise of Living in the End Times)

About the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Edition edition (October 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859844219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859844212
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 4.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"The most dangerous philosopher in the West," (says Adam Kirsch of The New Republic) Slavoj Zizek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include "First as Tragedy, Then as Farce;" "Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle;" "In Defense of Lost Causes;" "Living in the End Times;" and many more.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
119 of 127 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reality as illusion October 1, 2002
Format:Paperback
To people who come to this book looking for an analysis of the attacks on the World Trade Center this book will appear to be peculiar and eccentric, and therefore in questionable taste. Slavoj Zisek is a Marxist philosopher from the formerly Yugoslav republic of Slovenia. (At the same time he is quite caustic against those who think that Milosevic's horrors could have been avoided by an appeal to the cosmopolitan virtues of Titoism. Not within the party framework, at any rate.) He has a special interest in the French psychoanalyst Lacan, which does not stop him from discussing other imposing figures such as Hegel, Adorno, Foucault and, suprisingly in this book, G.K. Chesterton. At the same time he discusses popular movies from "Unbreakable" to "Shrek." Like Terry Eagleton he has a fondness, and a weakness, for paradox and contradiction. A person examining this book will note that the five essays are not as concise and straightforward as they may appear. (They will also note that this book has six chapters.) The unsympathetic reader may wonder how we get from the events of September 11th to sado-masochism and "The Piano Teacher," to Judith Butler and Antigone. Given the bottomless malice of Al Qaidya towards any concept of freedom, surely, one might state, it is irresponsible to say that freedom of thought is the surest way of ensuring submission and control (as Zisek suggests in his introduction)?
In fact, Zisek is a stimulating and important writer and the reader should take the effort to appreciate him. To the extent that this book has a thesis it is expressed on the cover. Instead of the attacks forcing the United States to rethink its attitude towards the rest of the world, it has allowed itself to view itself solely as a victim.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychoanalysis meets 9/11 December 7, 2002
Format:Paperback
In my opinion,Zizek is the most profound cultural analyst writing today, and this short collection of several contemplative essays on 9/11 succeeds in truly saying something new and important about the scope of the events that transpired. Zizek's writing style is famous for achieving a mixture between abstruse, Lacanian psycho-analysis and popular culture. This makes him perhaps one of the most difficult but most enjoyable reads out there in the cultural criticism market. Certainly, this stands out from the the sentimental fluff and proganda rubbish that flies off the shelves. Zizek challenges us to think outside the canard of 'fundamentalism' vs. American hegemony and capitalism.
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34 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book January 18, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
~~~I truly enjoyed this book, which provides great insight while analyzing the current situation of the States. Not "with us or against us," as Bush constantly stated,but we are against them, since both military leaders in the US and Bin Laden's terrorists are following the same logic. What happend in September 11 had happened in third world countries everywhere, but we Americans watched them as virtual reality until this has become real in our territory. Nothing can justify what happened in~~ September 11, just as nothing could~~ justify what happened in third world countries, which had appeared as spectatles until that point. It's stupid to exchange one terror against another, because this will entail endless circle of violence. What one must do is to be awake from this rosy dream, to realize the existence of the desert of the real, and resist "them", who have been making such terrible spectacles happen everywhere,Mid-East, Africa, Asia, but not simly in the US, which has~~ become part of the desert of reel.~
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Renaissance of Political Philosophy June 11, 2006
Format:Paperback
I am overwhelmed by Zizek's judgment of the political situation he presents in this book. It concerns world politics after 9/11 and is still very actual. What makes this book so interesting, is that Zizek distances himself from a simplifying (left-wing) critique of American foreign politics and gives at the same time a compelling interpretation of the complexity of the "clash of cultures" that haunt still our Tv-News today.

Against a cynical attitude towards politics Zizek's defends what he calls a "political act" of truth. This is not the slogan of a new philosophical ideology but a defence of a truth that can't be "relativiced" by post-modern Philosophy. Zizek thus revives political philosophy by overcoming philosophical patterns that dominated the second half of the 20th century.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you need to read this book July 16, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well there are few people on this earth who have an understanding on what's going on in just about every corner of the planet, Zizek is one of those few and far in-between people. In short: you need to read this book to try and set yourself straight on what is real and what is not. It's just straight talk..... no no nonsense!
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