"Brunhilde's Act" Or Wagner Dear? Was it as difficult for you as it was for me?

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 9 December 2013 | 7:53:00 pm

Deputy Editor, Frederick Oswald, introduces a talk - and accompanying paper - by the " Elvis of cultural theory", Slavoj Žižek.

Socialists, Communists and Marxists, especially, come in two, admittedly broad, flavours: those that do and those that talk. Slavoj Žižek, is a talker, endlessly sometimes. But in his defence he is both an undergraduate and graduate lecturer and that is their job after all. He is also a "populist", of Marxist theory (although critical of some of its thought, on ideology especially), or at least a mix of Marx, Hegelian" and Lacanian thought .

Now, we must accept, whether you want to or not, the arguable fact, that most Marxist intellectuals, of the academic variety at least, are, sadly, rather boring. Inflating their prose with the sort of obtuse sentences (often without commas or even enough fullstops) that would make even Hegel blush. And goodness forbid (being a Marxist discussion I shall keep "god" out of it for a moment), they might accept any validity in "popular culture", never mind refer to it in an agreeable light. Not so, Žižek.What Marxist cultural theorist for example would begin a two and half hour documentary on ideology (The Perverts Guide To Ideology) using John Carpenters 1988 cult classic "They Live"? And then later turn to "The Sound Of Music (you will never hear “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” in quite the same light again.).

All of this tends to make him "popular with the kids" A sort of 21st century, Marxist version of  Robert Anton Wilson,  but with tenure.

Also, Zizek, oddly like many Marxists (apart from Marx), is a Wagnerian.

Anyway, with that brief introduction out of the way, let me introduce his 60 page paper, "Brunhilde's Act: Or, why was it so difficult for Wagner to find a proper ending for his Twilight of the Gods?" Or should you not have the time, his 2 hour talk based upon that paper given at the Howard Assembly Room, in Leeds back in 2009. This is in video format.

Fred Oswald

To read the paper, CLICK HERE

To watch the video, CLICK HERE