This just in from perennial bully and Beholdmyswarthyface-heckler Ian Hogarth:
Yo, fag, before you start writing another letter to your mommy, check out this interview with misanthropist-philosopher Slavoj Žižek, in which he discusses his 2008 book Violence: Big Ideas, Small Books. The book has greatly influenced my own theory and practice of violence.
Though I used the word “interview,” in reality it’s more of a one-man performance, as the interviewer is conspicuously absent. In fact, it’s entirely possible that there was no interviewer at all, and that like you Žižek invents people to talk to. At any rate, the parts of his performance I find particularly useful are:
1. His division of violence into two groups, subjective and objective. Subjective violence is violence which is experienced personally and directly (i.e., our traditional notion of violence), while objective violence, often invisible, is systemic and symbolic, and is the more powerful and dangerous of the two. Thus, according to Žižek violence is not only that which disrupts an existing order but also that which maintains it.
2. His claim that violence is a form of phatic communication. This struck a particular cord with me, as I’ve always had trouble communicating phatically with people in non-violent ways.
3. His explanation of divine and mythic violence, as exemplified by Gandhi, M.L. King and Heidegger. See, it’s not only bullies like me who employ violence!
4. Also, as a paleoconservative, I agree with his claim that a deep intolerance is inherent in the discourses of tolerance and multiculturalism (eg, the ADL).
5. His call for a “parallax view” and for the rehabilitation of a global politics (“large, collective acts”) prompts me to expand my vision of bullying beyond the schoolyard and blogosphere.
6. Finally, in this debate with British sociologist Steven Lukes, Žižek suggests that in our current context political abstinence is a far more potent form of resistance than empty political gestures, or “pseudo-acts,” such as marching in anti-war protests or joining Free Gaza Now communities on Facebook. One might even compare his notion of inaction-as-resistance to that of Ishikawa Jun, who, as you point out in several of your more readable articles, during the war sought refuge in the old hermetic wenren tradition from China.