Archived entries for Philosophy

Just Like One of Us

He’s not considered a player in public debates about Israel, but he should be. In Wednesday’s edition of Religion Dispatches, I discuss Slavoj Zizek’s criticisms of  ‘anti-anti-Semitism’, in his new book, Violence.

Released in the UK at the beginning of 2008, the volume did not appear in the US until August. The last time I reviewed a book by Zizek was Welcome to the Desert of the Real, for the SF Bay Guardian, in October 2002.

Also worth noting: We published a review of the Independent Jewish Voices anthology in Zeek yesterday. Whereas my review tackled the book from ‘abroad’, Keith Kahn-Harris explains its significance for British Jews.

Thinking Ahead

When I first began working in publishing, it was the mid-1990s. The ‘zine explosion was already well underway, and the first web periodicals (such as Bad Subjects) were just starting to build the first substantial online readerships. Conversely, in the world of books, traditionally academic, non-fiction publishers such as Verso were beginning to chalk up serious successes with crossover political titles, such as journalist Doug Henwood’s legendary Wall Street.  For the intellectual left, it was a time of immense creativity and ferment.

Compared to the past, according to the headlines, all we currently have to offer is a culture of continuous crises and closures. Music consumption is at an all time low, magazines and newspapers (both in print and online) point to dwindling (and, to be quite frank, aging) readerships, and book publishers keep issuing reports of mounting losses. After my new book is done, one of the things I would definitely like to explore is writing a cultural history of this period. Say, 1989-2009.

Bass Materialism: Grievous Angel Presents Dubstep Sufferah Volume 3

Youth Are Getting Restless


Sheinkin Situationism, June 2007.

Talking Negri

From a letter to a friend in Italy

I guess what I sense in Negri’s language is a capacity to recognize and interact with social evil, on a massive scale, with a confidence that it will be eventually overcome, sans any kind of happy communist eschatology or messianic Jewish versions of hope.

There’s a kind of self-assurance that I see in his work, which, while quietly remaining committed to Marx’s concept of contradiction – the ultimate irrationality of capitalist development – nevertheless appreciates the growing complexity of domination.

Is this a coded way of saying that the guy remains dialectical despite recognizing how bad things continue to get? That’d be entirely fair.

Zizek for Passover

So what would be the truly radical ethico-political act today in the
Middle East? For both Israelis and Arabs, it would be to renounce the
(political) control of Jerusalem–that is, to endorse the
transformation of the Old Town of Jerusalem into an extra-state place
of religious worship controlled (temporarily) by some neutral
international force. What both sides should accept is that, by
renouncing the political control of Jerusalem, they are effectively
renouncing nothing–they are gaining the elevation of Jerusalem into a
genuinely sacred site. What they would lose is only what already
deserves to be lost: the reduction of religion to a stake in political
power plays.

From Let’s be Realists, Let’s Demand the Impossible!, In These Times, August 30th, 2006


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