In the same vein of the latest series of posts just recently blogged here at Schizosophy, Terence Blake has shared his own critical part at AGENT SWARM, by posting two incisive and suggestive entries on Zizek’s misreading of Deleuze’s intensive reading ―particularly of Deleuze’s ‘Letter To A
Harsh Severe Critic’ and specifically of Deleuze’s famous ‘ass fuck’ ‘buggery’ quote―: KEZIZ!, Zizek Gets It Backwards I & II: Deleuze’s “buggery” quote retranslated, and The Immaculate Conception is not The Virgin Birth. In his first post, as suggestive as it is, Terence concisely describes Zizek’s misreading, according to a more trustable excerpt of Deleuze’s ‘buggery’ quote ―retranslated by Terence himself―, and with regard to an ‘Absolute alterity’ that Zizek would oppose to Deleuze’s critique of Hegel’s alterity, ‘the rejection of Hegel’s “triads and negativity”’, which would also be referred to alterity, as Terence indicates ―though in another more intensive way―, and that Zizek would erroneously understand in terms of a supposed ‘avoidance’ to confront Hegel on Deleuze’s part. It is worth to cite how Terence describes Zizek’s misreading with respect not only to Deleuze’s own critique of Hegel’s alterity, but also to the basic Deleuzian operations that would achieve alterity far from any dialectical formality ―de-realisation, movement, imagination and decentering, as Terence provisionally puts them― and that Zizek would systematically mean to leave out.
“Zizek ignores all the attenuating or de-realising that goes on in this excerpt: the subjunctives, the conditionals, the impersonal obligations, the uncertain “I am inclined to believe” (je crois bien) instead of the more certain “I believe” (je crois), the fact that Deleuze does not say “buggery”, but “a sort of buggery” that requires a definition and explication that he then proceeds to give. The uncertainty is left out. The movement is left out: where the text says “arriver dans le dos d’un auteur – arriving in the back of an author, Zizek retains the erroneou translation of “taking the author from behind”. We know that for Deleuze everything important happens behind the thinker’s back: “The movement is always made behind the thinker’s back”. The imagination is left out: the text says “Je m’imaginais arriver dans le dos d’un auteur”, Zizek retains “I saw myself as taking an author from behind”. Decentering is left out, Zizek retains the more anodyne “shifting”. Yet uncertainty, de-realisation, movement, imagination and decentering are all important in the rest of the text – they are in fact basic operations of alterity, and contain far more negativity than Hegel’s triadic and sublimating operations, which remain at the level of formal negativity. Deleuze’s negativity, which can be seen in the abundance of negative prefixes (de-, as in decoding, a-, as in asignifying, in-, as in informal, non-, as in non-formed), is radically deterritorialising where Zizek always tries to return and reduce Deleuze to familiar territory.”
I agree with Terence to consider Deleuze’s negativity as the residue of his fruitless encounter with Hegel: meaning that Hegel was never unbuggerable for Deleuze ―as Zizek fantasizes in his book―, and meaning that Deleuze himself did arrived in the back of Hegel, took him from behind, and engendered him a conceptual monster that would betray the history of philosophy, making it speak nothing of Hegel’s dialectics. As Terence suggests, it is required much more negativity to shut up Hegel’s negativity, but it is precisely in this confrontation that Deleuze meant a double-negativity that would break itself into the same old affirmation of life: supported by Nietzsche and Spinoza, the offspring of this Deleuzian buggery of Hegel was gagged by Deleuze in the same absolute way that its negativity was put by him into the service of life and its affirmation. With this consideration, in his second post Terence would extend all his critique of Zizek’s misreading of Deleuze, but now detailing the implication of an ‘immaculate conception’ as a substraction of a prime identity in ‘The Original Sin’, thus as ‘the engendering of thought in and as pure alterity’. While it cannot be better put, it is also worth to cite how Terence finalizes his critique by describing the simplicity of Zizek’s ideological method:
“Zizek’s method is quite simple: wherever there is a heterogeneous assemblage of elements he “retains” the oedipal structures. I put the quotation marks around “retains” because in practice he often has to invent these oedipal structures and forcibly impose them on the text, before retaining them as the key. Deleuze makes only passing reference to Hegel and dismisses his triads and negativity as coarse and clumsy representations of real movement and becoming. Zizek has to inflate this into a total repression of Hegel (“the absolute exception”) to then “discover” the oedipal drama in Deleuze’s philosophical practice. He has to maculate everything with Oedipus, losing the text and henceforth only dealing with his own misconceptions.”
[Updated Feb 28: Terence has blogged another post to the KEZIZ! series: Zizek Gets It Backwards (3): Oedipus vs Aliens, where he complements his incisive and suggestive critique of Zizek's own repression of alterity but now taking as example Zizek's oedipal-reduction of the remake of The War of the Worlds.]