13 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
too late to wait for Bartleby's preference, 11 Jun. 2007
I don't know why this book is so disappointing. Perhaps it is because it is a bit late. Zizek's attempt to deal with the clash between the advance of bio-determinism in the genetics and pharmaceutics industries on the one hand, and the solidity of the post-Frankfurt social sciences on the other, does not do justice either to the latter or to
the dialectical epistemology which he claims to be trying to rehabilitate.
The real irony for Zizek is that what he is trying to say has already been handled in the established virtuality of literary fiction. First there was George Elliot's The Lifted Veil, the strangest of all her books and the only one that somehow doesn't quite work. Then came Houellebecq's lamentable Atomised reprising 1950s racism and sexism in response to the cracking of the genetic code. Finally there was Gdala's dialectical transcendence of Houellebecq's anthithesis in Pascal's Wager where all the double themes of Z's Parallax (from the centrality of the virtual, through the Lacanian transformation, to the historicism implicit in genetic and biochemical fatalism), all of these threads are carefully disentagled and rebraided in red gold and green.
I thought that it was from Zizek that I learned the idea that the clue to the contemporary default constellations is always to be found in a fictional narrative. I think it is time he deployed a different strategy if he is to engage with the real material challenges of the moment. It's too late for this kind of thing.