Slavoj Žižek on WikiLeaks

Every lefty’s favorite Slovak philosopher looks into the WikiLeaks story and knocks it out of the park.

First he dissects The Dark Knight movie in a way that basically seconds the general thesis of my Wild West script about media and theatre:

The Joker wants to disclose the truth beneath the mask, convinced that this will destroy the social order. What shall we call him? A terrorist? The Dark Knight is effectively a new version of those classic westerns Fort Apache and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which show that, in order to civilise the Wild West, the lie has to be elevated into truth: civilisation, in other words, must be grounded on a lie. The film [The Dark Knight] has been extraordinarily popular. The question is why, at this precise moment, is there this renewed need for a lie to maintain the social system?

Which leads to his understanding of why we’re being told to fear Assange.

What WikiLeaks threatens is the formal functioning of power. The true targets here weren’t the dirty details and the individuals responsible for them; not those in power, in other words, so much as power itself, its structure. We shouldn’t forget that power comprises not only institutions and their rules, but also legitimate (‘normal’) ways of challenging it (an independent press, NGOs etc) – as the Indian academic Saroj Giri put it, WikiLeaks ‘challenged power by challenging the normal channels of challenging power and revealing the truth’.[*] The aim of the WikiLeaks revelations was not just to embarrass those in power but to lead us to mobilise ourselves to bring about a different functioning of power that might reach beyond the limits of representative democracy.

I like his brain.

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