Appearing on the first anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
On September 11, the USA was given the opportunity to realize what kind of a world it was a part of. It might have taken this opportunity - but it did not; instead it opted to reassert its traditional ideological commitments: out with feelings of responsibility and guilt towards the impoverished Third World, we are the victims now! In the months following September 11, mainstream commentators bombarded us with histrionic claims that the event marked 'The End of the Age of Irony' or the conclusion to America's 'holiday from history'. Now, according to these pompous pundits, the time for playing games was over and the hour had struck to take sides in 'The War on Terrorism'. This temptation to choose one's camp is, Zizek argues, exactly the temptation to be resisted. For it is precisely when we are confronted with such apparently clear choices that the real alternatives to the situation are most obscured: in being asked to choose between 'democracy' and 'fundamentalism', is not the real problem one of democracy itself - as if the only alternative to 'fundamentalism' is the political system of liberal democracy?Welcome to the Desert of the Real takes a step back from the hype, hysteria and rhetoric, in order to problematise the options we are being offered. It proposes that global capitalism is fundamentalist and that America was complicit in the rise of Muslim fundamentalism. It points to our dreaming about the catastrophe in numerous disaster movies before it happened, and explores the irony that the tragedy has been used to legitimate torture. Last, but not least, Zizek analyses the fiasco of the predominant leftist response to the events.