Zizek’s Jokes


Slavoj Zizek

Publication Year




MIT Press

Zizek’s Jokes: (Did You Hear the One About Hegel and Negation?) Hardcover – 4 Apr 2014
by Slavoj Zizek (Author), Audun Mortensen (Author), Momus Momus (Author)

“A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein The good news is that this book offers an entertaining but enlightening compilation of Zizekisms. Unlike any other book by Slavoj Zizek, this compact arrangement of jokes culled from his writings provides an index to certain philosophical, political, and sexual themes that preoccupy him. Zizek’s Jokes contains the set-ups and punch lines — as well as the offenses and insults — that Zizek is famous for, all in less than 200 pages. So what’s the bad news? There is no bad news. There’s just the inimitable Slavoj Zizek, disguised as an impossibly erudite, politically incorrect uncle, beginning a sentence, “There is an old Jewish joke, loved by Derrida…” For Zizek, jokes are amusing stories that offer a shortcut to philosophical insight. He illustrates the logic of the Hegelian triad, for example, with three variations of the “Not tonight, dear, I have a headache” classic: first the wife claims a migraine; then the husband does; then the wife exclaims, “Darling, I have a terrible migraine, so let’s have some sex to refresh me!” A punch line about a beer bottle provides a Lacanian lesson about one signifier. And a “truly obscene” version of the famous “aristocrats” joke has the family offering a short course in Hegelian thought rather than a display of unspeakables. Zizek’s Jokes contains every joke cited, paraphrased, or narrated in Zizek’s work in English (including some in unpublished manuscripts), including different versions of the same joke that make different points in different contexts. The larger point being that comedy is central to Zizek’s seriousness.

Product details
Hardcover: 168 pages
Publisher: MIT Press (4 April 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0262026716
ISBN-13: 978-0262026710
Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.1 x 19 cm
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

About the Author
Slavoj Zizek is a philosopher and cultural critic. He is the author of more than thirty books, including Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity, The Parallax View, and (with John Milbank) The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialect, these four published by the MIT


A Žižek special stand-up rhetoric
By Birte Gam-jensen on 7 Feb. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

The sociologist Slavoj Žižek is a critic worth listening to and he is not afraid of truth however embarrassing this might

Most of the jokes are about sex, religion or politics. Some of the jokes are ‘nicely vulgar’ and others are coarse, low

or accompanied by a philosophical explanation of the humor.

Some of the jokes we have heard before:

The pope and Bill Clinton die at the same time. By mistake the pope goes to hell and Clinton to heaven. After a few days

the mistake is discovered and the two meet when switching places.
The pope says: I can’t wait to meet the holy virgin.
Clinton. She’s not a virgin anymore.

Religion frequently appears in the jokes. The young girl prays to Virgin Mary:

O, thou who conceived without having sinned, let me sin without having to conceive.

In other jokes Žižek explains the expression ‘politically correctness’ when for instance the word torture is replaced by

enhanced interrogation technique, an expression that approaches something almost acceptable.
Something like this may have happened with the vocabulary when the Western countries were looking for imaginary mass

destruction weapons in the Iraq of Sadam Hussein, and the American invitation to the European countries to join the hunt

is compared to the joke about the man who is accompanying a young woman to her home:

She: Would you like to come up and have a cup of coffee?
He: Thank you, but I don’t like coffee.
She: That’s ok. I don’t have any.

As usual Žižek refers to several philosophers: Hegel, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and we also hear about Freud, Monty Python

Marx Brothers:

This man may look like an idiot and act like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you – he really is an idiot!

The book is entertaining, sort of a Žižek special stand-up rhetoric, and as it is Žižek there is no joke without

criticism of our society:

The rich man to his servant: Throw out this destitute beggar – I’m so sensitive that I can’t stand seeing people suffer.

…more appropriate than ever.

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