Movie screening portrays Zizek trash can ideology

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A cartoon of philosopher Slavoy Zizek.

Victoria Cirilli

Staff Writer

The Philosophy Society and College Democrats held a viewing of European philosopher Salvoy Zizek’s film “A Pervert’s Guide to Ideology” on Tuesday, March 20.

Jay Valentine, an assistant professor of philosophy and religion and the club’s adviser, said his main goal was to make people think about aspects of their belief system which they may not recognize is present.

“I think it is a really good metaphor for the way that our minds really do contain a collection of rubbish that was not necessarily intentionally put there and not intentionally put there by ourselves,” Valentine said.

The movie expresses Zizek’s interpretations of ideology found in various classic movies such as “The Sound of Music,” “Taxi Driver” and “Jaws” as well as his use of brands like Starbucks and Kinder Egg as metaphors for what ideology is and the apparent dilemmas they create for society.

Zizek purposefully uses the popular culture icons as examples for how society endlessly pursues materialistic goods to satisfy the ideology they possess — the ideas in religion, politics and economics — which no one fully understands but follow because that is an idea they are accustomed to.

“I thought it was great … I hadn’t really thought about some of the things before,” said Jacob Scott, a freshman computer science major from Panama City, Florida. “It was a lot to take in at one time; he covered a lot of topics.

“Ideology, I think, is the different ways that people view the world — the different filters that people are kind of born with or the ones that we inherit and the ways that we interpret kind of the information that we’re given.”

Zizek promotes what he calls a trash can analogy. This metaphor described the human brain as a trash can with a lot of material in there that wasn’t intentionally put in by the person, but exists anyway.

“To link up with Zizek’s idea of the ‘trash can’ of ideology, I would say that I do think most of us are that way, that we haven’t really fully explored all of the filters through which we interpret reality,” Valentine said. “I think that this is something that this movie did … sort of poke and prod at different places and hopefully inspire people to think deeper about certain things and be more observant about the way that we think about certain things.”

Valentine said viewers can draw their own conclusions from Zizek’s ideology and don’t have to stick to what he said.

“I feel like he said what he said, and then we can make our own inductions from it,” Valentine said. “I also kind of liked how we were trying to draw out this notion of the ideological trash can, and I think it is a really good metaphor for the way that our minds really do contain a collection of rubbish that was not necessarily intentionally put there and not intentionally put there by ourselves.”

Jayasoorya Suriyanarayanan, a junior biology major from Chennai, India, said Zizek doesn’t add anything new to the discussion on philosophy but provides a unique way in describing how humans function.

“In the realm of describing how humans function, that’s pretty cool,” Suriyanarayanan said.

“I think that everyone holds a personal ideology whether they know it or not  everybody has one even if you’re not really aware of it,” Scott said. “I think I would have a stoic one if that makes any sense at all; it’s really just like a kind of go with the flow, kind of moving through life, ideology.”

According to Valentine, the Philosophy Society promotes movies like Zizek’s because they analyze subjects  of interest to students minoring in philosophy and religion.                                                 

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