My marxist feminist analysis brings all the boys to the yard…

Reporting LIVE from writing a paper about the Marxist themes present in The Principia Discordia!

Your vocabulary word of the night is KYNICAL. Screw those cynical hipsters, I am all kinds of kynical, baby. (I’m too sexy for my paradigm. Too sexy for my paradigm. And I do my little turn on the discourse.)

Here’s a lovely little excerpt for you from Slavoj Zizek’s “The Sublime Object of Ideology”:

But all this is already well known: it is the classic concept of ideology as “false consciousness,” misrecognition of the social reality which is part of this reality itself. Our question is: does this concept of ideology as a naive consciousness still apply to today’s world? Is it still operating today? In the Critique of Cynical Reason (1983), a great bestseller in Germany, Peter Sloterdijk puts forward the thesis that ideology’s dominant mode of functioning is cynical, which renders impossible–or, more precisely, vain–the classic critical-ideological procedure. The cynical subject is quite aware of the distance between the ideological mask and the social reality, but he nonetheless still insists upon the mask. The formula, as proposed by Sloterdijk, would then be: “they know very well what they are doing, but still, they are doing it.” Cynical reason is no longer naive, but is a paradox of an enlightened false consciousness: one knows the falsehood very well, one is well aware of a particularly interest hidden behind an ideological universality, but still one does not renounce it.

We must distinguish this cynical position strictly from what Sloterdijk calls kynicism. Kynicism represents the popular, plebeian rejection of the official culture by means of irony and sarcasm: the classical kynical procedure is to confront the pathetic phrases of the ruling official ideology–its solemn, grave tonality–with everyday banality and to hold them up to ridicule, thus exposing behind the sublime noblesse of the ideological phrases the egotistical interests, the violence, the brutal claims to power. This procedure, then, is more pragmatic than argumentative: it subverts the official proposition by confronting it with the situation of its enunciation; it proceeds ad hominem (for example when a politician preaches the duty of patriotic sacrifice, kynicism exposes the personal gain he is making from the sacrifice of others).

Cynicism is the answer of the ruling culture to this kynical subversion: it recognizes, it takes into account, the particular interest behind the ideological universality, the distance between the ideological mask and the reality, but it still finds reason to retain the mask.

So. I hope you wanna go read some Zizek now. Dude is pretty awesome, and the essay is short. It’s dense, but short, and well worth reading.

Just… process that last paragraph in that quote for a little bit. Cynicism–and, dare I say, a huge amount of our “self-aware” and “ironic” popular culture–is just a big ol’ discrediting of valid complaints and criticisms. Every time someone says that it’s okay to make inappropriate jokes/comments because we live in a post-racial/post-feminist/post-whatever society, that’s what’s going on.

So do everyone a favor and go out and punch an asshole. Then explain we live in a post-violence society, so it’s just FUNNY. A-yep.

P.S. This post has totally inspired me to add a new tag. “Under the influence of academia.” For posting while snorting grad school.

P.P.S. This paper makes me want to stick a hook up through my nose and yank my brains out and then pop out my eyeballs with a grapefruit spoon. I fucking love grad school and I don’t ever want to leave. I am serious. This is what I love.

11/04/2010. Tags: . Uncategorized.


  1. Sadako replied:

    Grapefruit spoon? I’ll have to remember that one. Though I agree–I like grad school too.

  2. Bean replied:

    I love you so much. You rule! [I just figured out how to do a blogroll, sorry it took so long, but anywho you are now featured in my “go read my awesome friends” column.]

    So, after reading this, and with my first gut reactions, in my mind, Kynicism is the lovechild of cynicism + kink + kinetics. Ahem.

    By the way, did you know that Jeff Magnum’s (as in Neutral Milk Hotel) wife made a film about Zizek? I want to read more of him than just the excerpts i’ve seen, and preferably in an academic setting. And I want to see the film, preferably with you.

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