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Publishers Weekly, 2004-08-02 As Slovenian public intellectual and provocateur Zizek puts it in his pungent sequel to Welcome to the Desert of the Real, a major motivational problem with the U.S.'s Iraq adventure has been "too many reasons for the war." As each pretext collapsed in the face of events, another rose to take its place. Thus, he says, the "war" has been as much on logical consistency as on Iraq. As piercing as Zizek can be about the rhetorical excesses of the Bush administration his Lacanian reading of Rumsfeld's infamous "known knowns" speech is a tour de force he doesn't spare what he sees as the smug complacencies of "Old Europe" and the left, putting them under the general rubric of convenient pacifism and selective outrage. Structured as an essay with two long appendixes, Zizek's book is consistently funny, engaging and accessible whether discussing Hitchcock or Heidegger. If some of the philosophical excursions in the book's second half threaten to derail the cogency of its arguments, they generally reward patience. And if the sheer exuberance of Zizek's biting invective acts as something of a tonic, the sobriety of his basic message that we have entered a permanent, Orwellian "state of emergency" that threatens the very freedoms we are supposedly defending is never lost. Simultaneously invigorating, depressing and maddening, Zizek's book reveals him to be an intellectual made for these times, a mixed blessing if ever there was one. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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