In a passage that only Terry Eagleton could write, he comments sardonically on Lacan’s mirror stage and the central role it plays in the postmodern tradition.  He reasonably ponders about those cultures who do not possess mirrors:  “would ponds or rivers do just as well?  Or is the true mirror of the child its parents or carer, who by investing different parts of its body (face, orifices, etc.) with variable degrees of intensity, builds up for the infant a somatic self-portrait?” (Trouble With Strangers, 3).  With a quick sweep of Irish wit, I think he convincingly calls to account, or at least gives pause to, this sacred tradition of psychoanalytic faith.

I think I might say the same about Zizek and his oft-quoted passages on excrement.  Has Zizek ever had the pleasure of shitting in the woods?  (see, How to Shit in the Woods).  What about wiping with a smooth stone, leaf or snow?  Something magical happens when your excrement does not go anywhere but sits there, staring back at you.  You suddenly realize that waste doesn’t really ever disappear, but merely morphs into the great cycle.  A child cries because he’s proud of his work (I actually remember this sentiment), but would I feel the same way if I had no option of flushing? Would indigenous cultures have this same sense of disavowal?

Advertisements