Thursday, September 16, 2010

First as a Tragedy, then as a Farce

 Well, there he was, on leaving the 'Tesco Express' store on Liverpool's London Rd a couple of weeks ago, as proud as punch, with his ego satisfied and, apart from the various two for one fruits, some suspicioulsy GM look-a-like tomatoes and the milk  in his bag there was that box of fair trade tea. Yes, ego satisified and as Slavoj Žižek rightly points out, when refering to Oscar Wilde's 'The Soul of Man under Socialism' , in his 'First As Tragedy, Then As Farce',  it is, indeed, easier to feel for someone who is suffering than it is to sympathise with a chewer of cuds. Of course, it might be added, all the more so, on realising that the deep thinkers have hardly prevented the deep shit that we find ourselves swimming in and that the various mediocrities who are directly responsible for that shit invariably sought their own raison d'etre and, indeed, their regime's raison d'éat in those deep thinkers; Karl Marx as Stalin's intellectual precursor, Friedrich Nietzsche as Adolf Hitler's! Well, Newton and Maxwell as Einstein's intellectual precursor, perhaps, but does anyone seriously believe that either Adolf or Joe were capable of intellectual thought?

No, quite rightly Žižek points out that it is time for us to put on our thinking caps, analyse the fine mess that we are in from a marxist perspective and, rather than agreeing that communism has failed seek our salvation in applying the communist hypothesis. That will be difficult! Nevertheless, we might do well to look at Žižek's analysis of the world as it is and just as Marx in his observations hit the nail on the head, so too does Slavoj Žižek in his explaination of why there is no such a thing as capitalism with a human face. In understanding this, we might then get ready to act and on acting, we might, indeed, have learned from past mistakes. "First as a tragedy, then as a farce" but, please, please, if there is a next time, no more Friedrich Eberts, Joe Stalin's, Mao-Tse-Tungs and please, please, no more grinning, spinning Tony Blairs.

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