Zizek on Romney and Big Bird

Slavoj Žižek: Romney, Big Bird, and the prospect of avian apocalypse

Irresistible Zizek:

The bourgeois media and the Democratic party machine were confounded by Mitt Romney’s invocation of Big Bird during the first US presidential debate, a sentiment that soon gave way to cynical amusement and playground mockery. But Romney had inadvertently revealed a deep truth about the Capitalist canon’s troubled relationship with oversized birds. Birds at once represent freedom, a visual cliché widely used by Liberal parties around the world depicting a bird in flight, never in repose, and the possibility of being devoured by the feathered creatures that have learned to negotiate gravity far better than un-mechanised humans could ever do. Romney’s Big Bird metaphor deserves more analysis than it was given by the mainstream media arm of the post-wage capitalist complex.

It gets more improbable:

Coincidentally, a few days after Romney made his declaration of war against Big Bird, Israeli jets intercepted and shot down an unidentified flying object. Unidentified Flying object. ‘Unidentified’ is of course a reference to Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘unknown unknowns’, the possibility that there is a man with knife hiding behind the shower curtain, but also other possibilities that we haven’t even conceived of. But more interesting is the reference to a flying object. Object is a distraction, it denies our flying friend agency to pretend it’s a machine, in fact it is a flying subject, no other than our winged nemesis, which Romney had just declared war against. Accidental? Given Israel’s desperation to reinvent its cold-war role as a regional spearhead of US hegemony, that is highly unlikely.

Coincidentally, a few days after Romney made his declaration of war against Big Bird, Israeli jets intercepted and shot down an unidentified flying object. Unidentified Flying object. ‘Unidentified’ is of course a reference to Donald Rumsfeld’s ‘unknown unknowns’, the possibility that there is a man with knife hiding behind the shower curtain, but also other possibilities that we haven’t even conceived of. But more interesting is the reference to a flying object. Object is a distraction, it denies our flying friend agency to pretend it’s a machine, in fact it is a flying subject, no other than our winged nemesis, which Romney had just declared war against. Accidental? Given Israel’s desperation to reinvent its cold-war role as a regional spearhead of US hegemony, that is highly unlikely.

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.