Slavoj Zizek endorses Trump. Why am I not surprised?

Trump Has Landed the Coveted Zizek Endorsement. Why Am I Not Surprised?

Trump Has Landed the Coveted Zizek Endorsement. Why Am I Not Surprised?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 7 2016 4:33 PM

Trump Has Landed the Coveted Zizek Endorsement. Why Am I Not Surprised?

Donald Trump and Slavoj Zizek
These two have more in common than you might think.

Photo illustration by Slate. Images by Scott Olson/Getty Images and Sahan Nuhoglu/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Welp, now it’s time to panic for real. On election eve, Donald Trump has landed what might be his most crucial endorsement: Euperstar critical-theorist and far-left demigod Slavoj Zizek tells Channel 4 in the U.K. that if he were a U.S. citizen, which he is not, he would vote for Trump.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The most prominent living Marxist philosopher in the world is rightfully “horrified” at Trump—but, as a sort of a bright side, he posits that handing him the keys to the Oval Office and the nuclear codes would trigger “a big awakening” in American politics. (If this sounds familiar to you, it might be because Susan Sarandon offered similar reasoning before endorsing Jill Stein, which basically amounts to the same thing.)

Advertisement

I have no doubt that Zizek’s dislike of Trump is genuine—but perhaps his vote for his imaginary revolution contains more affinity than he’s willing to admit, even to himself. After all, the two thrice-married, outspoken older gentlemen do have quite a bit in common, a fact that would surely horrify them both.

Rebecca Schuman Rebecca Schuman

Rebecca Schuman is a frequent contributor to Slate and the author of Schadenfreude, A Love Story.

And yet: a propensity for deliberately incendiary rhetoric? Check. An “accidental” kinship with white supremacist publications? Ayup. A vocal cadre of devoted fans, usually white, often fervently devoted to their ideals, perhaps to the point that they do not care who or what they destroy, so long as it overthrows the status quo? Uh, checkity-check-check. A baffling ability to get beautiful Slovene women almost 30 years their junior to have sex with them on purpose? I’d rather not think about it too much.

Both the left-wing and right-wing Internet expressed incredulity at this much sought-after endorsement, from Breitbart to the Left Forum, the latter of which once had Zizek as a keynote speaker. As such, this is an endlessly amusing example of one of those moments where, if you watch politics go far enough to the right and far enough to the left, they bend all the way back around and meet.

However. We do have to give the man some credit. (Zizek, not Trump.) After his “big awakening” spiel, he does say this:

But I am well aware that things are very dangerous here, not only all this white supremacy groups, but listen, Trump already said … he will nominate right-wingers [to the Supreme Court]. So there are dangers.

So he’s at least aware that it might not be a terrific idea to knowingly vote in an unstable demagogue who spends his free time musing about the best ways to bring vengeance upon the very long list of those who have wronged him (which probably includes Slavoj Zizek). So, Internet, Zizek’s is not the full-throated endorsement either the apoplectic right or the nihilist left would hope for. Like most self-avowed Marxists, he just—big surprise—really, really doesn’t like Hillary Clinton.

Will this late-breaking development tip the already-precarious righteous white leftist graduate student voting bloc? Perhaps. Equally concerning, of course, is the fact that Trump and Zizek have so much in common, if not in substance, then in style—and perhaps this can be cause for self-reflection within the left, once it has survived the election. Meanwhile, I’m going to pass the time between now and whenever the race is called wondering why just why Trump and Zizek have never been seen in the same room together. Curious, is it not? Although, if my hypothesis bears out, it will beg the question: Which one is the alter ego, and which is the superhero? Alas, I’d rather not have the “big awakening” necessary to find out.