America's Noam Chomsky vs. Europe's Slavoj Žižek
I've read several of Chomsky's books, but have never been able to get past a few paragraphs of anything Žižek has written before reaching the conclusion that the guy's a charlatan. As a right-winger more or less, I of course do not agree with many of Chomsky's simplistic conclusions, but his foreign-policy books, such as Hegemony or Survival and Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, while essentially the same book repackaged by Chomsky, Inc., can and should be read by right-thinking dissenters clamoring for reestablishment of the Old Republic. And the analyses offered in his Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which I read as an undergrad, I have used over the years when examining the MSM as a tool for Brave New World style social engineering.
I have nothing to say about Žižek because nothing I have read or heard him say has made the least bit of sense. As blogger "modestinus" points out in his post, the Slovenian "has written popular pieces (including narration for an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog), but so much of his academic work lives in the borderland between the academy and popular culture that it’s difficult to accuse Zizek of simply trading on his scholarly credentials for popular appeal." That parenthetical note alone is enough to convince me to agree with the "critics [who] label Zizek an academic fraud."
Chalk another one up for America! Our leftists are better than Europe's. Say what you will about Chomsky, at least he's clear. What Pierre Bourdieu said of his home country, "that to be taken seriously in France, at least twenty percent of what one writes needs to be incomprehensible" (quoted by Diana Johnstone in Why the French Hate Chomsky), rings true for the rest of that continent, lending support to Chomsky's "critique of Zizek and other Continental philosophers who eschew empiricism in favor of what many see as empty jargon." Go Noam!