Slavoj Žižek – Maybe We Just Need a Different Chicken

Loosely paraphrasing Slavoj Žižek, the brilliant and compelling Slovenian philosopher: There’s the story of a madman who is convinced that there is a chicken after him who wants to eat him. A doctor asks him why he is worried, since he’s not a piece of grain, and the madman replies, “but does the chicken know that?”

Raising questions on ideology and its omnipresence in every day life – as he points out in his penetrating observations of quotidian pop culture, from the McCain campaign’s hijacking of the “change” banner, to the Dark Knight, to Kim Jong Il, to home intrusions by Israeli soldiers, to Kung Fu Panda – he makes it clear that we will always have a chicken, it is just a matter of being sincere about it. Cynicism is not a way out of the dilemma of the chicken, according to Žižek, and I can say I totally agree with him – though I couldn’t put it quite so eloquently (or hilariously).

This was shot last September in Oregon, during his tour to promote his book, Violence. I’m reading it right now, and, as usual, it’s amazingly engaging for cultural theory. Žižek doesn’t hide behind oracular mazes of words and endless jargon like so many contemporary academic theorists. And, besides the clarity of his writing, he’s also quite hilarious. His off-the-cuff remarks in the Q&A session had me cracking up. Nothing like a little counter-intuitive thinking to start your day!

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7 Responses to “Slavoj Žižek – Maybe We Just Need a Different Chicken”


  1. 1 Chris

    Google video doesn’t work anymore. Here is a link to the pdxjustice youtube channel version of the entire lecture:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1Kb4JZGpA0

    I have seen a lot of these talks, this is the most memorable. It is also known as “Authors at Google”. I believe it was a “brown bag” lunchtime meeting type thing at Google, in support of his book “Violence”.

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