It’s invariably funny to look at which search terms people typed into Google, only to end up on this site. Apart from my own name (which always creeps me out) and queries on how to understand Lacan, the most frequent Google search that leads people to this site is “zizek cocaine” — or “zizek’s cocaine” or “zizek on cocaine” or even “does slavoj zizek like cocaine”…
My much longer post on Zizek and “jouissance” gets a third of the hits this page does.
Does Slavoj Zizek like cocaine? Possibly. I don’t know. I have never met the man. But I’m going to stick to my policy of not discussing the philosopher’s little quirks and tics. I decided this when I saw that even Zizek’s official site prefers to rehash the “Elvis of Cultural Theory” thing instead of telling interested readers what they can gain from Zizek.
The matter of whether Zizek snorts cocaine raises interesting questions, yes. The fascination with drug-taking authors clearly isn’t ready to die. Some smoke too much (Paul Valéry, Ayn Rand), others drink too much (Hemingway, Carver, Faulkner), some are junkies (Trocchi, Burroughs), and Romantics like their opium. Zizek may not be a literary figure, but when you start wondering if he’s a cokehead, you also start to see him as a human being again — a person with his own pathology and his own set of addictions. I just think this is a shame.
I would argue, in fact, that the most important thing one can do when reading Zizek is to ignore everything that makes him so popular. Forget Zizek and read him. This doesn’t only apply to Zizek, of course. Forget that Foucault was gay. Forget that Heidegger took a turn toward fascism. Forget all those little soundbites that make it easy to categorize the author. Maybe I’m just preaching.
We all like seeing videos of Zizek, because of their sheer entertainment value at the very least. He’s charismatic, crazy-looking, unstoppable. But — and the cocaine connotation makes this obvious — he seems to ramble the most in person. Already the curious digressions in his written work can be most annoying than helpful; so when he’s riffing on something in front of an audience, it can be fun and maddening at the same time. This is why I’ve stopped bothering with videos of his talks. (There are exceptions.)
I’d love to continue exploring this imperative when I have more time but I have to go find my cocaine now.
Update: Thanks to Conservative Revolutionary, who left this comment:
According to this New Statesman idea, Zizek has never tried ANY drugs:
17. A person who attended to one of your lecturers said that, ‘I believe that Zizek has taken Cocaine’. It’s a comment about your hyper animated presence. Have you ever taken cocaine or any other similar drug?
Zizek: Many people believe that-even some of my friends. But surprisingly never in my life did I take drugs-not even soft drugs. Its not that I am a moralist or anything. Many people around me take drugs. May be it’s my disciplinarily-terrorist attitude. May be if you take drugs, then you get soft, then the enemy can attack you easily I hate drugs.