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Žižek on Trump: The Return of Public Vulgarity



In a recent piece Slavoj Žižek publisher here expresses his concern on the public vulgarity by Donald Trump in the presidential debate, also by Erdoğan and Putin and Netanyahu. Žižek remind us a scene from Luis Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty:

We probably all remember the scene from Luis Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty in which relations between eating and excreting are inverted: People sit at their toilets around the table, pleasantly talking, and when they want to eat, they silently ask the housekeeper, "Where is that place, you know?," and sneak away to a small room in the back.
And ask the question: "So are the Republican candidates’ debates—to prolong the metaphor—not like this reunion in Buñuel’s film? And does the same not hold for many leading politicians around the globe?"

Then Žižek goes back to Hegel:

The problem here is what Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel called Sittlichkeit: mores, the thick background of (unwritten) rules of social life, the thick and impenetrable ethical substance that tells us what we can and cannot do. These rules are disintegrating today: What was a couple of decades ago simply unsayable in a public debate can now be pronounced with impunity.
You can read the piece here.