Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Enjoy Your Zizek!

A new feature documentary exploring "the eccentric personality and esoteric work" of Slavoj Zizek is out: Zizek! (Dir. Astra Taylor, 2005). A preview will be held at the Roxy Theater in San Francisco on April 21, 2005.

Why go and see Zizek!"? For me, the number one reason to watch the film would be to learn how to subvert the hegemony of the Protestant work ethic from the prolific master who has perfected the Art of Laziness:
"When people ask me why I don't teach permanently in the United States, I tell them that it is because American universities have this very strange, eccentric idea that you must work for your salary," Zizek says. "I prefer to do the opposite and not work for my salary!"

Zizek has developed an elaborate set of psychological tricks to manipulate his American students and enable him to have as little contact with them as possible. At the first meeting of each course, he announces that all students will get an A and should write a final paper only if they want to. "I terrorize them by creating a situation where they have no excuse for giving me a paper unless they think it is really good. This scares them so much, that out of forty students, I will get only a few papers," he says. "And I get away with this because they attribute it to my 'European eccentricity.'" (Robert Boynton, "Enjoy Your Zizek!" Lingua Franca Oct. 1998)
Florida community college students and teachers who are inspired by Zizek's method of practicing and inculcating the Art of Laziness, however, are out of luck. The state of Florida, as if to caricature the bureaucratic ethos of industrial modernity, established (effective October 1982) a minimum word count requirement that each student must fulfill in order to obtain an associate in arts degree:
Gordon Rule Writing Requirement

The State of Florida requires that all students who receive an A.A. Degree must demonstrate competency in written communication through the satisfactory completion of 24,000 written words. The Gordon Rule Writing Requirement in Creative Arts and Humanities requires 1500 words of analytically graded writing in courses which are designated as providing Gordon Rule Credit. (Please refer to the 1999-2000 A.A. Degree General Education requirements.) Journals and exams, unless analytically graded, cannot be included in that total. Email communications cannot be counted as Gordon Rule writing. When an assignment has a word total range (i.e., 500-700 words), the department must count the lowest number when determining Gordon Rule words. (Santa Fe Community College - Gainesville, Florida, "Guidelines for Writing in Gordon Rule Classes")

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