Slavoj Zizek has a new book out on Verso Books: First As Tragedy, Then As Farce; a title borrowed from Marx’s “correction” of Hegel’s idea that history necessarily repeats itself: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great events and characters of world history occur, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”
So Verso teamed up with the Brecht forum yesterday to pack the 900-seat Great Hall at Cooper Union with an audience that sold the event out well in advance. At $10 each, that’s $9000, though it seemed like quite a few tickets were bought at the $15 option, which included a copy of the book. That sure is philosophy operating at the level of rock stardom, but we learned that Verso is trying to replace the “Elvis of Cultural Theory” quote with “The most dangerous philosopher in the West” in marketing Žižek. Fittingly, the author’s new website operated by Verso states that the event had to stop when it did because of a bomb threat. Sure, I’ll believe the 10% of truth, 80% of liberal arts theater and 10% of marketing potential in that.