The last time we checked in on collection of bodily fluids Slavoj Zizek, he was saying on-brand things about the election. Specifically, he had a “provocative thesis” that Trump was a liberal centrist. (In a Trump-ian twist, Zizek also described Trump in a way that is loosely descriptive of himself—as “personally disgusting, bad racist jokes, vulgarities, and so on.”) With five days to go until the election, Zizek is back and he’s trying on a new stained black t-shirt—the stained black t-shirt of punditry.
This is classic Zizek. The counterintuitive thesis that maybe Trump is good is riffed on until he hits on another counterintuitive thesis, which is that a Trump victory would disrupt American politics in a positive way. It would certainly be disruptive for America and for the world, but given that the Republican Party would almost certainly control both chambers of Congress under a President Trump, it would probably not change the GOP all that much. Zizek himself seems to realize the flaw in his argument when he stumbles on the fact that Trump would nominate “ultra right-wingers” to the Supreme Court, which is reason enough to not root for a Trump victory. But, in classic Zizek fashion, this too is ultimately discarded.
Finally, the hope in disruption is also troubling.
No philosopher short of fake-philosophers Alain de Botton and, um, Malcolm Gladwell appear in as many YouTube interviews and contribute as many op-eds to the Times as the Ziz. But in the past, Zizek has tended to soften his radicalism for public consumption. Paradoxically, the possible election of the scariest presidential candidate in recent history has hardened Zizek’s stance. Or maybe it’s just 2016 and everyone is a pundit now.