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Žižek on seduction

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February 13, 2013

Hey, Valentine, here are a few snippets from an interview with Slavoj Žižek conducted by Baffler editor in chief John Summers and contributing editor David Graeber. SUBSCRIBE NOW and be the first to read the rest in the upcoming issue.

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Žižek: A seduction—to be successful—has to imply a moment of impotence and failure, in the sense that you playfully acknowledge your limitations. Seduction never works with perfection. People are totally wrong when they think that they should present themselves as perfect, blah blah blah blah.

I talked with a sex adviser who told me, when you have a couple where the guy’s impotent, the worst thing to do is to give him some bullshit like, “Don’t think about, just do it spontaneously.” This is where you kill him. He told me one way to do it is to tell them to imitate a purely externalized bureaucratic procedure. Like, you want to make love, okay, sit down with your partner and make a Stalinist plan.

First your fingers (she says) then put your hand on my breasts (she says). Now (he says) you put your finger into my ass. Then you get totally caught in these bureaucratic negotiations. And then usually somebody says, “Fuck it, why don’t we just fuck, let’s go.” The point is you can only do this spontaneously after you have been bureaucratic. It can get eroticized . . .

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Žižek: There’s an Indian guy in Cambridge [Pranav Mistry], who developed “SixthSense,” okay it’s still primitive, he didn’t commercialize it, but it points towards the future. A simple mechanism: you have a camera, a small one, digital, on your head. You have a kind of a projector on your breast, and you are connected to the net through a cellphone in your pocket, and it works like this. The camera identifies the object in front of you. Because it’s connected, the computer can identify them. And then immediately the Internet gets the data about the object and projects them onto any plain surface. You interact with a real object, but at the same time you can project on them all the data.

And I think it’s an interesting thing because the effect is a kind of magic. Objects answer you, telling all about themselves. It must be wonderful to do this in seduction. Okay, it holds also for women, but from my male chauvinist perspective, I look at the woman and it’s projected on her. She likes anal sex, she likes her breasts pinched, she likes this music, she likes that. You get instant data on the girl. This is ideology at its purest. And isn’t it how our real lives are structured? Let’s say you are an anti-Arab, anti-Jewish, or anti-black racist. Isn’t it exactly the same what happens when you see a real Arab or Jew or black guy? You project on him all your racist knowledge. You see that he’s evil, a danger to you, or whatever, blah blah. I think it’s a perfect metaphor for our spontaneous ideology . . .

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