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ZIZEK, Slavoj - The Art of Ridiculous Sublime

ZIZEK, Slavoj - The Art of Ridiculous Sublime

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Published by Lauro Rocha

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Published by: Lauro Rocha on Jan 31, 2012
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HE AR OF HERIDICULOUS SUBLIMEOn David Lynch’s Lost Highway Slavoj Zizek 
CONENSIntroduction:Te Ridiculous, Sublime Art of Slavoj Zizek BY MAREK WIECZOREK / viiiHE AR OF HE RIDICULOUS SUBLIME:On David Lynch’s Lost Highway BY SLAVOJ Zizek I page 3I Te Inherent ransgression / page 42 Te Feminine Act / page 83 Fantasy Decomposed / page 134 Te Tree Scenes / page 185 Canned Hatred / page 236 Fathers, Fathers Everywhere / page 287 Te End of Psychology / page 328 Cyberspace Between Perversion and rauma / page 369 Te Future Antérieur in the History of Art / page 3910 Constructing the Fundamental Fantasy / page 41
Te Ridiculous, Sublime Art of Slavoj Zizek 
Marek Wieczorek 
Slavoj Zizek is one o the great minds o our time. Commentators have hailedthe Slovenian thinker as “the most ormidably brilliant exponent o psycho-analysis, indeed o cultural theory in general, to have emerged in Europe orsome decades.”1The originality o Zizek’s contribution to Western intellectual history lies inhis extraordinary usion o Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, continental phi-losophy (in particular his anti-essentialist readings o Hegel), and Marxist po-litical theory. He lucidly illustrates this sublime thought with examples drawnrom literary and popular culture, including not only Shakespeare, Wagner,or Kaka, but also lm noir, soap operas, cartoons, and dirty jokes, which o-ten border on the ridiculous. “I am convinced o my proper grasp o someLacanian concept, ”Zizek writes, “only when I can translate it successully intothe inherent imbecility o popular culture.”2
The Art o the Ridiculous Sublime: On David Lynch’s Lost Highway 
characteristically oers a famboyant parade o topics that reaches ar beyond the scope o Lynch’s movie, delving into lmtheory, ethics, politics, and cyberspace.In contrast to prevailing readings o Lynch’s lms as obscurantist New Ageallusions to a peaceul spiritual rapture underlying irrational orces, or as aconvoluted post-modern pastiche o cliches, Zizek insists on taking Lynch seri-ously. This means, or Zizek, reading him through Lacan. Zizek’s Lacan is not the Lacan o post-structuralism, the theorist o the foating signier, but theLacan o the Real, the rst category in the amous Lacanian triad o the Real,the Imaginary, and the Symbolic. The most under-represented o the Lacaniancategories, the Real is also the most unathomable because it is undamentally impenetrable and cannot be assimilated to the symbolic order o language andcommunication (the abric o daily lie); nor does it belong to the Imaginary,the domain o images with which we identiy and which capture our attention. According to Lacan, antasy is the ultimate support o our “sense o reality.“3 The Real is the hidden ”traumatic underside o our existence or sense o reality, whose disturbing eects are elt in strange and unexpected places: theLacanian Sublime. Lynch’s lms attest to the act that the antasmatic support o reality unctions as a deense against the Real, which oten intrudes into thelives o the protagonists in the orm o extreme situations, through violenceor sexual excesses, in disturbing behavior that is both horric and enjoyable,or in the uncanny eects o close-ups or details. The unathomable, traumaticnature o the situations Lynch creates also makes them sublime.Illustrating his point about the Lynchean Real, Zizek has elsewhere invokedthe amous opening scene rom Blue Velvet: the broad shots o idyllic small-town Middle America with a ather watering the lawn; suddenly, the athersuers a stroke or heart-attack while the camera dramatically zooms in on thegrass with its bustling microscopic world o insects. “Lynch’s entire ‘ontology,”’Zizek writes, “is based upon the discordance between reality, observed rom a

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