Slavoj Zizek Reacts to Haifa Wehbe's 'Breathing You In' / by Nasri Atallah

My god. Yes. Reality. I secretly think reality exists so we may speculate about it. I say this in my new book. Why do I talk about this? Ah yes. I am watching this new musical video by singer Haifa Wehbe. She is performing in a recording of her song “Breathing You In.” The video exists in a parallel reality. Wehbe is in space, then she is not in space. The she is in the desert, then in the forest. She floats in these imaginary liminal expressions of multiculturalism and conquest. Space, desert, forest and so on and so on. Then, I think, the meaning is clear. We are sitting in front of the screen, watching the illusion of space. You know how Neil Armstrong is playing golf on the moon? It is the extension of capitalism to the cosmos. You know. The singing also, it is lipsyching as they say, but this is not important. The reality of the singing is not the object. As I say in my book, Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectal Materialism, beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of the fiction.

I should begin, I think, by saying that I have not watched this musical video. In my house in Ljubljana, I have a hundred copies of each of my own films, there is no room for anyone else’s. It is a field of pure madness, pure narcissism, in the Lacanian sense, of course; it is the perfect image that constitutes the Subject. I may as well have made every wall a mirror. This video, it starts on the Internet, no? People are consuming more than ever before with this technology, it is disgusting, wholly degenerate. Why this consumption? I say, in my book about this video, it is, again Lacanian, a desire for recognition from this Western Capitalistic ‘Other’. What other is unclear, no one desires the consumption of this musical video. That is clear.

My instinct as a philosopher is that we are effectively approaching a multicentric world, which means we need to ask new, and for the traditional left, unpleasant questions. Why must this video exist, for example. My god. Video the ultimate pervert art. It doesn't give you what you desire - it tells you how to desire. Here, simulated exploration, no? It is pure escapatory fantasy. But that is not what is obscene about it; all culture is escape, after all. No, what is obscene is the reaction. This is the difference between the modern and the postmodern. Exploration that is not criticised is like coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, a proletarian movement without the Absolute, and so on, and so on.

Nowadays, you can do anything that you want—anal, oral, fisting—but you need to be wearing gloves, condoms, protection. Why do I say this? It is unclear. In conclusion, I am a good Hegelian. If you have a good theory, forget about the reality.

This parody is based on actual Zizek quotes, and bits and pieces from existing Zizek parodies (the line between reality and parody is thin) on McSweeney’s and Idiot Joy Showland, and the life-altering experience of viewing Breathing You In