Žižek's Jokes

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

SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK
EDITED BY AUDUN MORTENSEN
AFTERWORD BY MOMUS
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 168
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qf5sq
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  • Book Info
    Žižek's Jokes
    Book Description:

    "A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes." -- Ludwig WittgensteinThe good news is that this book offers an entertaining but enlightening compilation of Žižekisms. Unlike any other book by Slavoj Žižek, this compact arrangement of jokes culled from his writings provides an index to certain philosophical, political, and sexual themes that preoccupy him.Žižek's Jokescontains the set-ups and punch lines -- as well as the offenses and insults -- that Žižek is famous for, all in less than 200 pages. So what's the bad news? There is no bad news. There's just the inimitable Slavoj Žižek, disguised as an impossibly erudite, politically incorrect uncle, beginning a sentence, "There is an old Jewish joke, loved by Derrida..." For Žižek, jokes are amusing stories that offer a shortcut to philosophical insight. He illustrates the logic of the Hegelian triad, for example, with three variations of the "Not tonight, dear, I have a headache" classic: first the wife claims a migraine; 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 Lacanian lesson about one signifier. And a "truly obscene" version of the famous "aristocrats" joke has the family offering a short course in Hegelian thought rather than a display of unspeakables.Žižek's Jokescontains every joke cited, paraphrased, or narrated in Žižek's work in English (including some in unpublished manuscripts), including different versions of the same joke that make different points in different contexts. The larger point being that comedy is central to Žižek's seriousness.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-32154-9
    Subjects: Philosophy, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INSTEAD OF INTRODUCTION: THE ROLE OF JOKES IN THE BECOMING–MAN OF THE APE
    (pp. vii-viii)

    One of the popular myths of the late Communist regimes in Eastern Europe was that there was a department of the secret police whose function was (not to collect, but) to invent and put in circulation political jokes against the regime and its representatives, as they were aware of jokes’ positive stabilizing function (political jokes offer to ordinary people an easy and tolerable way to blow off steam, easing their frustrations). Attractive as it is, this myth ignores a rarely mentioned but nonetheless crucial feature of jokes: they never seem to have an author, as if the question “who is...

  4. ŽIŽEK’S JOKES
    (pp. 1-140)

    We should reread Lacan’s text on logical time, where he provides a brilliant interpretation of the logical puzzle of three prisoners. What is not so well known is that the original form of this puzzle comes from the eighteenth-century French libertinage with its mixture of sex and cold logic (which culminates in Sade). In this sexualized version, the governor of a woman’s prison has decided that he will give amnesty to one of the three prisoners; the winner will be decided by a test of her intelligence. The three women will be placed in a triangle around a large round...

  5. AFTERWORD
    (pp. 141-149)
    MOMUS

    There’s a joke that appears twice in myBook of Jokes(a novel in which the story of a family is told entirely in jokes). I learned it from Žižek, who attributes it to Freud. “We all remember,” says Žižek, at the start of a 2004 essay entitled “The Iraqi Borrowed Kettle,” “the old joke about the borrowed kettle that Freud quotes in order to render the strange logic of dreams, namely the enumeration of mutually exclusive answers to a reproach (that I returned to a friend a broken kettle): (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you; (2) I...

  6. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 150-152)
  7. ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 153-153)