Although I am convinced of the importance of Zizek’s intellectual project, I believe that his style of argumentation holds him back. The fundamental lack of organization of nearly all of his writings is of course a huge problem — the man cannot resist an aside or digression, even if it’s literally in the middle of a sentence already underway and interrupts the syntax in a weird way. A deeper issue in my view is the fact that he so seldom seems to argue for his position in any straightforward way. I don’t want to do the analytic fetishization of argument, but my recent reading of Gabriel and Meillassoux has convinced me that it is underused — and it’s clearly better than the two primary ways Zizek tends to support his claims, namely:
- “This is what [Lacan or an German Idealist philosopher] really said, which is of course a radicalization of [previous German Idealist philosopher, or Descartes].”
- Relying on the appeal of the counter-intuitive: “IS NOT this position, which absolutely flies in the face of common sense, precisely the most obvious thing in the world?!”
Again, I don’t think that straightforward chains of logical deductions are the only way to present ideas — I have basically never written anything that procedes in that way, for instance. I also understand how a dialectical thinker might push at the boundaries of comprehensibility, focus on contradictions and stunning reversals, etc. But still.