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Smooth talkers Zizek & Badiou

Not that one should never be mean. But there is no reason to be unnecessarily mean. In fact, there is only reason not to.

Just one example from many. The last paragraph of Deleuze La clameur de l’Etre. Even the ostensibly respectful tone Badiou adopts here has a nasty flavour to it:

There is in Deleuze, as in every physicist of this kind, a great power of speculative dreaming and something akin to a quivering tonality that is prophetic, although without promise. He said of Spinoza that he was the Christ of philosophy. To do Deleuze full justice, let us say that, of this Christ and his inflexible announcement of salvation by the All – a salvation that promises nothing, a salvation that is always already there – he was truly a most eminent apostle.

Why this use of words that insinuates that Deleuze is just like ‘every physicist of this kind’?

Why this confusion of his own rhetoric with his reference to Deleuze’s speculative philosophy?  Making it seem as if all Deleuze did to come up with his ideas was sit under some Newtonian apple tree (anyway, dreaming is conducive to creative thinking. Remember, as one of many examples, the story, apocryphal or not, of how Einstein came up with relativity while daydreaming).

Why a ‘tonality…without promise’? Nonsense (bolderdash). Just because it apparently doesn’t resonate with Badiou’s idea of how a militantly Truthful tonality should quiver? Pff.

Why this invocation of Deleuze’s nickname for Spinoza ‘Christ of philosophy’ and the Christian term ‘apostle’, as a way of underscoring his (Badiou’s) view of Deleuze as an ultimately ‘religious’ thinker?

Why a mere ‘eminent apostle’, and not a thinker in his own right? Where did Badiou get his ideas from? ..

Just saying, it is so easy to slag someone off. And sadly such common practice amongst academic writers. Badiou and his talk of Ethics. (All this not to say I don’t thoroughly enjoy reading Badiou when he is not writing about something he doesn’t agree with).

Personally, I am much more charmed by Deleuze’s attitude, when he writes (don’t know where, got this from back cover of Desert Islands): ‘If you don’t admire something, if you don’t love it, you have no reason to write a word about it. Spinoza and Nietzsche are philosophers whose critical adn destructive powers are without equal, but this power always springs from affirmation, from joy, from a cult of affirmation and joy…’

Sometimes I wonder where Badiou left his bag of joy and affirmation

One thought on “Hogwash. Bolderdash. Poppycock.

  1. Well, “promise” is the announcement of that (salvation) which will have been – and in Badiou that’s the truth announced by the event, always in the future perfect, and which is guaranteed by the necessary incompleteness of any situation. Whereas Deleuze is thought to be saying it (salvation, One-All) is always already there. Which indeed conflicts with promise. It seems to me Badiou is just spelling out differences here. Sharply perhaps, but I’m not reading any unnecessary meanness.

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