Slavoj Zizek. Violence: Big Ideas/Small Books. Picador, 2008.
I’m not too sure about this book. I had hoped for a more perceptive analysis of the dynamics in our contemporary world and a stronger sense of opposition to violence and guidance on how to overcome its curse. Zizek, a superstar on the current public intellectual scene is supposedly a humanist and man of the Left. He certainly does not embrace revolutionary violence like some of his European contemporaries (e.g., Alain Badiou). And he does have moments of insight (I enjoyed his dismissal of Thomas Friedman).
However, he doesn’t really give us much of substance. He litters the text with references to popular culture, impressing with his breadth of awareness but not using these references to much effect. I did read this book very quickly, hoping to get a sense of whether I should pay more attention to Zizek. I’m afraid he didn’t catch my attention or pull me further into his orbit.