Žižek's wrote for Abercrombie & Fitch 'Back to School' issue

On 2003, Slavoj Žižek wrote the whole full issue of the Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) catalog. It was colorful and poetic. Here you can read the whole text, and see the colorful pages one-by-one. 


Dear Savas,
Friend! This is all I was able to do in these crazy circumstances! Feel free to use any of my comments, or not use them, and you can also use just parts of my comments!
All best, Slavoj 
Dear Slavoj,
Enclosed please find the images for our back to school issue. We’ve never had a philosopher write the text for our images before, so write what you like. We’re looking for that “Karl Marx meets groucho Marks” thing you do so well!
Thanks, Savas. 
Slavoj Zizek is a man who will tell you something about anything. A Slovenian national, all heavy Eastern European accent and nervous energy, he’ll expound on Lacanian-Marxist theory or get caught up with why he thinks Linda Fiorentino is so sexy. Sometimes both at the same time. Zizek’s the Sublime Object of Ideology and The Plague of Fantasies are already canonical classics. His essays cover everything from Alfred Hitchcock to war and terrorism in a series of paradoxical (sometimes contradictory) arguments that border on comedic genius. He’s widely considered the most important philosopher working today, but here at A&F we like to think of him as our own academic-at-large. So what better time to consults him than at back to school?!
We tracked down Zizek during a whirlwind three days in London to his input….. 
Back to School
Thus means: forget the stupid spontaneous pleasures of summer Sports, of reading Books, watching movies and listening to music. Pull yourself together and learn sex. 
As we know already from Daphnis and Chloe, the late Antiquity novel, there is nothing spontaneous about sex: one has to learn it, one has to be introduced to it. 
A naked couple without a spectacled teacher would be reduced to clumsy ignorants unable To perform the act. 
A melancholic nostalgia for the good old Victorian days, when it was still A terrifying Transgression if A music teacher seduced the daughter of the family….

The only successful sexual relationship occurs when the fantasies of the two partners overlap. If the man fantasizes that making love is like riding a bike….. 
…..And the woman wants to be penetrate by a stud, then what truly goes on while they make love is that a horse is riding a bike…. with a fantasy like that, who needs a personality? 
There can be no friendship between twins: they are too close, so the only way for each of them to maintain his identity is to liquidate the other. A friend has to be outside my reach, beyond my grasp. And there can be no friendship with someone whom I am not ready to betray: a friend is someone I can betray with love. 
A woman intermittently kissing two men: does this constellation not merely explicate the fact that, while a man cheats his feminine partner with another real woman, a woman can cheat a man even if she makes love only with him, since her pleasure is never fully contained in enjoying him?

The object of desire is hidden behind the thigh but the true cause of desire is the tattooed cross on the arm, is it not clear that we really make love with signs, not with bodies? This is why one has to go to school to learn sex. 
Is the naked couple a stain disturbing the classical beauty, or does it stand for the authentic bodily reality unmasking the fake of the kitsch architecture? Neither: they are both fakes. 
Movies are right: the romantic dream is in color, the reality of sex is in black and White. Here, however, school has to teach us another paradoxical lesson: the intensity of real sex can only take place in black and white. When we are immersed into love making, the world loses its colors. 
If there was a happy couple, this is one. The first lesson of love to be learned at school: do not look into each other’s eyes! Only by ignoring each other can a couple learn to endure each other and, eventually, to become aware of the other’s proximity.
It is obvious that the couple in front of the window are fantasizing that someone is observing them through the window! They need that gaze in order to be in love: they perform their love for that gaze. 
The apple in paradise really was a book Eve was reading: what seduced Adam into sin was the burning curiosity about what is written in the book. This is the ultimate proof that sex has nothing to do with sin: man became sinful the moment he was interested more in what’s in the book than in Eve’s gorgeous naked body. The solution is, of course: there was nothing in the book. Eve just pretended to be immersed into the Book to seduce Adam…… 
In true passion, one does not need a head or brain: The whole body is turned into a montage. This loss of body, this dissolution of the body into a composite of organs, is called happiness. 
No way to escape – even in pure mathematics, it will haunt you: how much energy is released when two bodies hit each other? Or is it that pure mathematics is much sexier than sex? 
Is the girl really dreaming that she is a butterfly? But what if she is a butterfly dreaming that it is a girl? It is only when her lover is able to discern the butterfly that is in her more than the girl herself that he will passionately desire her, that making love to her will not be only copulation. 
The tired anxious gazes of the participants display the question: was it okay? Did we perform Well? 
Another lesson to be learned at school: not only under our dress are we all naked – we are truly naked only under our cloths. If we are simply without dress, we are not really naked – there is nothing less erotic than nudism. 
Usually from a conservative cultural standpoint, the problem with today’s culture, especially youth culture, is that of ethics, specifically of standards, limits being blurred. For example, sometimes in the news you don’t even know what is publicity and what is news. That is to say that the news is turning into a kind of talk show…. What do I see? A utopian vision. A fugue. A truly modern synthesis. Shit, why not have a cake and eat too? You can have critical theory and nudity and enjoy it!
Slavoj Žižek


Post a Comment