Josh Strawn has written an outstanding response to The New Republic hit piece on Jewcy.com.
Nowhere is the problem with Kirsch’s analysis more apparent than in his attacks on the recent book ‘Violence.’ He tells his readers that Zizek means to tell us that “resistance to the liberal-democratic order is so urgent that it justifies any degree of violence.” Not so. The author is very clear. He says that his intent is to expand our conceptual understanding of violence beyond it’s more obvious eruptions. He wants to explain violence not as merely the act of violence with which we’re most viscerally and morally aware (what he calls ‘subjective’ violence), but more thoroughly–as inclusive of the network of relations and circumstances that make that violence possible (he calls this ‘objective’ violence). Sure Zizek quotes Lenin’s directive to “Learn, learn, learn.” That doesn’t make him a Bolshevik.
One could, if one were so inclined, shockingly quote from ‘Violence,’ “while [terrorists] pursue what appear to us to be evil goals with evil means, the very form of their activity meets the highest standard of the good.” There you have it ladies and gentlemen, Slavoj Zizek thinks that terrorism embodies the highest standard of the good. Fascist!! This is extremely easy to do, and it suggests the person doing so is only skimming to cherry-pick. More on “form” later, but the difference between an honest reader of Zizek and a detractor on a mission is that the reader would deal with what comes after. Namely, that this point is raised primarily to discuss what’s wrong with terrorism.
Read the rest here.
Of course, I don’t know that it will make all that big a difference as we’ve apparently been told that close reading and pointing out poor reading is an informal fallacy.
Hat tip to Mikhail.