Likert 2.

Yes, I love it.
It's not perfect, but it's an improvement.
I feel neutral about it.
It's not horrible, but I don't like it.
No, I hate it.
There was an "old" look?


'Twas Mirta's first hard-core shoot and
It remained the only one And they
become intimate friends since then
Her twin was perplexed to receive
the gaze meant for the other sister The
Net seem'd always to know
Beforehand the messages I'm sending
Before they reach her Inbox Timetabels
Notes on epoch of the piece and such
We do not need to look far for an advance
Knowledge to know the fail of the shoot
For what is a blunt blade but useless
Knowing too And in this knowing is what?
That makes it knowing for us
Being too much preoccupied in 'being'
Is not a danger Her response times getting
Shorter all the time until There was no time —
Between yea and nay — pulse and repulse —
Or the negative of it If that's possible And
That's why I read only short books
Although his and hers writing was —
How can an army of so many arms
lose? — like life-size enactment of
History In this room the railroad net-
work built and under it the powder keg
ready to go And in that room radio-
active fat on the waist — also life sized —
all had to be aborted, unexplained A
People's uprise A disassembled cask
A roar of first time Shooting the in-
visible man You have a strange way
Of saying you like me says he But
Heart is on the right side — innit?
though from which side you are
looking on you don't know


Slavoj Žižek: Looking Awry, An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (1992)

I have been reading Slavoj Žižek's books for a while and I finished the latest after new year. Towards the end of Looking Awry Zizek gets to his most interesting point in his book. The abstract essence of democracy.
We should begin with an elementary question: who is the subject of democracy? The Lacanian answer is unequivocal: the subject of democracy is not a human person, "man" in all the richness of his needs, interests and beliefs. The subject of democracy, like the subject of psychoanalysis, is none other than the Cartesian subject in all its abstraction, the empty punctuality we reach after subtracting all its particular contents. In other words there is a structual homology between the Cartesian procedure of radical doubt that produces the cogito, an empty point or reflective self reference as a remainder, and the preamble of every democratic proclamation "all people without regard to (race, sex, religion, wealth, sosial status)." We should not fail to notice the violent act of abstraction at work in this "without regard to"; it is an abstraction of all positive features, a dissolution of all substantial, innate links, which produces an entity strictly correlative to the Cartesian cogito as a point of pure nonsubstantial subjectivity. Lacan likened the subject of psychoanalysis to this entity, to the great surprise of those used to the "psychoanalytic image of man" as a wealth of "irrational" drives; he denotes the subject by a crossed-out S, indicating thereby a constitutive lack of any support that would offer the subject a positive, substantial identity. It is because of this lack of identity, that the concept of identification plays such a crucial role psychoanalytic theory: the subject attempts to fill out its constitutive lack by means of identification, by identifying itself with some master-signifier guaranteeing its place in the symbolic network.
This violent act of abstraction does not express an ideologically overstretched image of democracy, an "exaggeration never met in real life," it pertains on the contrary to the very logic we follow as soon as we accept the principle of formal democracy: "democracy" is fundamentally "antihumanistic," it is not "made to the measure of (concrete, actual) men," but to the measure of a formal, heartless abstraction. There is in very notion of democracy no place for the fullness of concrete human content, for the genuineness of community links: democracy is a formal link of abstract individuals. All attempts to fill out democracy with "concrete contents" succumb sooner or later to the totalitarian temptation, however sincere their motives may be.

Later in the same chapter Žižek goes on to discuss the "new social movements" (ecology, feminism) in relation to democracy.
... they make it clear that their aim is much more radical than that of the ordinary political parties: what they are striving after is a fundamental transformation of the entire mode of action and belief, a change in the "life paradigm" affecting our most intimate attitudes.
In other words, it is not possible to be an ecologist or feminist in quite the same way as one can be a conservative or a social democrat in a Western formal democracy. What is at stake in the former case is not just a political belief but an entire life attitude. And such a project radical change in the "life paradigm," once formulated as a political program, necessarily undermines the very foundations of formal democracy. The antagonism between formal democracy and the "new social movements" is irreducible, which is why this antagonism has to be fully assumed and not eluded by means of utopian projects for a "concrete democracy which would absorb the whole diversity of the so-called "life-work."

I am not sure if this solution Žižek proposes is the best. But this impossibility of irreducibility is very familiar in modern culture and politics. Maybe the biggest existing antagonism. Is it this antagonism that seems to dissolve seemingly opposite ideologies together. I am thinking here about counter cultures, that despite having opposite ideas about the driving of common interests, resist assimilation to democratic mainline.

Onwards to the next chapter where Žižek touches the mechanism of racism, which has been puzzling me lately.
This leftover to which formal democracy clings, that which renders possible the subtraction of all positive contents, is of course the ethnic moment conceived as "nation": democracy is always tied to the "pathological" fact of a nation-state. Every attempts to inaugurate a "planetary" democracy based upon the community of all people as "citizens of the world" soon attests its own impotence, fails to arouse political enthusiasm. Here we have again an exemplary case of the Lacanian logic of not-all where the universal function is founded upon an exception: the ideal leveling of all social differences, the production of of the citizen, the subject of democracy, is possible only through an allegiance to some particular national Cause.
What is at stake in ethnic tensions is always the possession of the national Thing: the "other" wants to steal our enjoyment. In short, what gets on our nerves, what really bothers us about the "other," is the peculiar way he organizes his enjoyment (the smell of his food, his "noisy" songs and dances, his strange manners, his attitude to work — in the racist perspective, the "other" is either a workaholic stealing our jobs or an idler living on our labor). The basic paradox is that our Thing is conceived as something inaccessible to the other and at the same time threatened by him; this is similar to castration which, according to Freud, is experienced as something that "really cannot happen," but whose prospect nonetheless horrifies us.

Georges Bataille: Blue Of Noon (1957)

A tormented shadow abruptly fell out of the sunny sky, shaking and snapping in the window frame. Shrinking and trembling I withdrew inside myself. It was a long rug tossed down from the floor above . For one brief moment I trembled: in my daze I thought that the man I call the Commendatore had come in. He would appear whenever I invited him. Even Xenie had been frightened. Like me, she felt apprehensive about a window where she had just been sitting for the purpose of jumping out of it. At the moment of the rug's intrusion, she hadn't screamed — she had curled up against me, pale, with eyes like a madwoman's.