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What is your earliest memory?
My mother naked. Disgusting.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Indifference to the plights of others.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Their sleazy readiness to offer me help when I don’t need or want it.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Standing naked in front of a woman before making love.
What makes you depressed?
Seeing stupid people happy. (Ed note. Cut to me clapping the happy clap over cat videos and shit)
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching embarrassingly pathetic movies such as The Sound Of Music.
What do you owe your parents?
Nothing, I hope. I didn’t spend a minute bemoaning their death.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To my sons, for not being a good enough father.
What does love feel like?
Like a great misfortune, a monstrous parasite, a permanent state of emergency that ruins all small pleasures.
Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it?
All the time. When I really love someone, I can only show it by making aggressive and bad-taste remarks.
What is the worst job you’ve done?
Teaching. I hate students, they are (as all people) mostly stupid and boring.
How often do you have sex?
It depends what one means by sex. If it’s the usual masturbation with a living partner, I try not to have it at all.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That life is a stupid, meaningless thing that has nothing to teach you.
I bet some shit by Wagner plays whenever he enters a room. I bet seconds after he enters a room, he rips all the paintings off the walls, tears out every page of every book on the shelf and then pounds at the carpet (that’s how he says “hi”). I bet he screams at his shit in the toilet for being a piece of stupid useless shit. I would swoon over Slavoj some more, but somebody just sent me another cat video that I have to clap the happy clap to.
“There is an anarchist leftist group here in London who hate me,” says Slavoj Žižek with a giggle as we settle into a dilapidated leather sofa in the bar of his Bloomsbury hotel. He is wearing freebie airline socks, an Italian T-shirt someone gave him and jeans that could easily have been made decades earlier in an unsuccessful Soviet tractor factory. “But fuck it, let’s speak frankly, no bullshit, most of the left hates me even though I am supposed to be one of the world’s leading communist intellectuals.”
Žižek summons the waiter and orders hot chocolate, Diet Coke and lots of sugar (“I am diabetic”). He is disappointed, he tells me parenthetically, that we didn’t do the interview in the hotel’s adjacent Virginia Woolf burger bar. “What would the Virginia Woolf burger be like?” he asks. “Dried out, topped with parsley, totally overrated. I always preferred Daphne du Maurier.” He then launches into a denunciation of the pretensions of James Joyce, arguing that his literary career went downhill after Dubliners, and then into a eulogy to the radical minimalism of Beckett’s Not I. Within minutes we’re on to German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s views on the Malaysian economic miracle, the prospects for Žižek’s film theory course in Ramallah and Katarina Wagner’s production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, in which Hans Sachs is depicted as a Heil Hitler-ing Nazi. One’s task as a reader or interviewer of Žižek is rapidly to build a network of mental pontoon bridges to unite his seemingly autonomous intellectual territories.