The word “philosopher” tends to conjure up the archetypal image of an ascetic figure standing above the follies of everyday life, absorbed in thought. Perhaps that’s why so many people have found it fascinating to hear of the disagreements between Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Žižek.
Several weeks ago we posted an excerpt from an interview in which Chomsky accuses Žižek, along with Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida, of empty “posturing.” Yesterday we posted Žižek’s response to Chomsky: “I don’t think I know a guy who was so often empirically wrong.” Some of the responses have been amusing. “The gloves are off!” wrote one reader on Twitter. “Fight! Fight! Fight!” said another.
Of course, we should bear in mind that the two celebrity intellectuals are not really at each other’s throats. Chomsky gave his brief assessment of Žižek and the others in response to a question during a long interview back in December. Žižek’s remarks were a small part of a two-hour panel discussion on various topics. It’s hard to imagine either man seething over what the other has said.
Still, the boisterousness of many of the responses reminded us of the studio audience in this 2009 sketch (above) from The Chaser’s War on Everything, an Australian comedy show. The sketch is a parody of The Jerry Springer Show and the other tabloid TV talk shows that multiplied like weeds in the 1990s. It’s extremely silly, but good for a laugh.