So, I first ran into this article in Slate:
Please Stop Worshipping the Superstar Professor Who Calls Students “Boring Idiots”
So there's a bit of a backlash against him, but he has a devoted following of sycophants (or so I gather) who think he's just the bee's knees. And he's having a spat with Noam Chomsky, who called him a charlatan.
His name is Slavoj Žižek, and he's Slovenian. He comes from the "continental tradition of asking ontological questions" according to The Guardian.
From his Wiki:
Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian Marxist philosopher, psychoanalyst and cultural critic. He is a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. In July 2013, he was appointed as an Eminent Scholar at Kyung Hee University, South Korea. He writes widely on a diverse range of topics, including political theory, film theory, cultural studies, theology, psychoanalysis.
Žižek achieved international recognition as a social theorist after the 1989 publication of his first book in English, The Sublime Object of Ideology, which disputed a Marxist interpretation of ideology as false consciousness and argued for ideology as an unconscious fantasy that structures reality. Žižek considers himself a political radical and critic of neoliberalism. His political thought represents one of two paths of a progressive alternative—either a return to the program of socialism, which Žižek and Alain Badiou advocate, or the proposal of an alternative vision of social arrangements, which is taken up by contemporaries such as Roberto Unger.
His unorthodox style, frequent newspaper op-eds, and popular academic books have gained Žižek a wide following and international influence. He has been labelled by some the "Elvis of cultural theory" and Foreign Policy listed him on its 2012 list of Top 100 Global Thinkers, calling him "a celebrity philosopher." Žižek's work was chronicled in a 2005 documentary film entitled Zizek!. A scholarly journal, the International Journal of Žižek Studies, was also founded to engage his work.
Ontology, ideology, and the Real
In developing a thesis of ideology and its function, Žižek makes two intertwined arguments:
1. He begins with a critique of Marx's concept of ideology (as described in The German Ideology) in which people are beholden to false consciousness that prevents them from seeing how things really are. Žižek argues that people's deepest motives are unconscious and that ideology functions as a justification for the existing social order. That is, reality is constructed through ideology.
2. However, the Real is not equivalent to the reality experienced by subjects as a meaningfully ordered totality. For Žižek, the Real names points within the ontological fabric, knitted by the hegemonic systems of representation and reproduction, that nevertheless resist full inscription into its terms and that may as such attempt to generate sites of active political resistance.
It goes on and on.Political thought and the postmodern subject
Žižek argues that the state is a system of regulatory institutions that shape our behavior. Its power is purely symbolic and has no normative force outside of collective behavior. In this way, the term the law signifies society's basic principles, which enable interaction by prohibiting certain acts.
But, apparently, this sort of man is still considered a "superstar" by some, and this sort of mumbo-jumbo is deep thought?