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Zizek's Jokes: (Did you hear the one about Hegel and negation?)

by Slavoj Zizek The MIT Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 168 pages
AU$44.99 NZ$43.47
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'A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.' -- Ludwig Wittgenstein The good news is that this book offers an entertaining but enlightening compilation of Zizekisms. Unlike any other book by Slavoj Zizek, this compact arrangement of jokes culled from his writings provides an index to certain philosophical, political, and sexual themes that preoccupy him. ZiZek's Jokes contains the set-ups and punch lines -- as well as the offenses and insults -- that Zizek is famous for, all in less than 200 pages. So what's the bad news? There is no badnews. There's just the inimitable Slavoj iek, disguised as an impossibly erudite ,politically incorrect uncle, beginning a sentence, 'There is an old Jewish joke, loved by Derrida…' For iek, jokes are amusing stories that offer a shortcut tophilosophical insight. He illustrates the logic of the Hegelian triad, for example, with threevariations of the 'Not tonight, dear, I have a headache' classic: first the wife claims amigraine; then the husband does; then the wife exclaims, 'Darling, I have a terrible migraine,so let's have some sex to refresh me!' A punch line about a beer bottle provides a Lacanianlesson about one signifier. And a 'truly obscene' version of the famous' aristocrats' joke has the family offering a short course in Hegelian thought rather thana display of unspeakables. Zizek's Jokes contains every joke cited, paraphrased, or narrated in Zizek's work in English (including some in unpublishedmanuscripts), including different versions of the same joke that make different points in different contexts. The larger point being that comedy is central to Zizek's seriousness.
Slavoj iek is a philosopher and cultural critic. He is the author of more thanthirty books, including Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through PopularCulture, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity,The Parallax View, and (with John Milbank) The Monstrosity of Christ:Paradox or Dialect, these four published by the MIT Press.