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Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In order to render the strange logic of dreams, Freud quoted the old joke about the borrowed kettle: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you, (2) I returned it to you unbroken, (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms exactly what it attempts to deny—that I returned a broken kettle to you .. ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published July 17th 2004 by Verso (first published 2004)
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Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
Why should every project of a radical social revolution automatically fall into the trap of aiming at the impossible dream of 'total transparency'?

It should be noted that my wife and I viewed Zero Dark-Thirty last night before I began this challenging tome. Much of the premise is dated. There is no hint here of Civil War and the Surge, drones or Blackwater. Thus qualified, the ensuing discussion is rich and frenetic and evokes myriad notions, a personal favorite being "the cunning of noble lies

I don't know what the hell he's talking about half the time, and I majored in philosophy and have kept up with it somewhat through the years. I also have looked into the Iraq war from a pretty in depth perspective and a lot of what he said went over my head.

The thing is, though, I was completely blown away.

Ever have that feeling when you are just barely hanging on to what an author or speaker is saying, getting it but just not quite being, like, conversant with it? You can feel your brain strai
Apr 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Good book, if a bit rambling. A lot of what Žižek writes is over my head but it only stirs my interest in philosophy and compels me to read the works he's referenced.
Brandon Montgomery
Zizek uses the Iraq war as a pretext to discuss things only distantly related to the book's ostensible subject mater, yet it's these moments that, in 2018, are the most interesting and thought provoking. Most notable is the section on populism which tells us much about Brexit, nationalism, and the rise of Trump and his up-and-coming European doppelgangers.
Sharook sby
ഇറാഖിലെ അമേരികകൻ അധിനിവേശതതെ അർഹികകുനന രീതിയിൽ വിമർശികകുനന പുസതകം.... ലോകരാജയങങൾകകിടയിൽ മേധാവിതവം പുലർതതാനുളള അമേരികകയുടെ മരണപപാചചിൽ സാംസകാരികപരമായും മനഃശാസതരപരമായും വിലയിരുതതുനനു .. പരബനധരൂപതതിലുളള വിലയിരുതതലുകൾ മനസിലാകകാൻ നേരിയ ബുദധിമുടടുണടെങകിലും വിരസതയിലലാതെ വായിചചുപോകാൻ വായനകകാരനെ സനനദധനാകകുനനതിൽ സിസേക വളരെയധികം വിജയിചചിടടുണട..... ...more
Jared Colley
This is not your typical work of politics/current events. In fact, the engagement with the Iraq War takes place within the first half of the book. The 2nd part of the work is something much more theoretical & abstract. What you have here is a philosopher attempting to interpret a recent event/predicament. He is less concerned with proving a specific reason for "why" we went to war in the first place. The issue of WMDs is not a central concern for him as well. In fact, the very issue that we ...more
I only recently discovered this contemporary philosopher and was intrigued enough to try his writings. I started with Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle, the only one available in my library network!

As you can see, this is far from being an easy book, but the content is refreshingly thought provoking and worth pondering.

The book is in 3 parts: the 1st part analyses the logic or rather absence of logic behind Iraq’s invasion by the US. This was the easiest part for me. Then there are 2 appendices. This is
Ben Bush
In Zizek's lectures and interviews I find him funny, illuminating and pretty easy to follow. After about page 100 of this book, I couldn't really figure out what any of it had to do with Iraq. In the introduction, he describes the book as kind of a collection of notes as the war was in progress and I wonder if some of it is a bit less finished than some of his other works. I read this right after DFW's Pale King and even prior to reading either one Zizek's interest in Christianity has reminded m ...more
Zizek is an embodiment of the ideal of the crazy professor. In this short read, he places the Iraq war and occupation in the context of contemporary US foreign policy, and then deconstructs both the context and the Iraq war in order to a create some unified theories on US politics and culture. Foucult once spoke of the necessity of intellectuals be coming 'intellectual hand-grenades.' That is what Zizek does. Articulate explanation is not his strong point, and towards the end of the book he dege ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should be clear here that the four stars are for the parts of the book that I followed (namely, the first part, not so much the appendices). I've wanted to read Zizek for a while, out of curiosity, and I feel sufficiently humbled - but with every intention of seeking out the other writings he references and refutes, so I can understand his arguments better. This is a rambling book with a lot of hidden gems, though worth noting that it strays far from the topic of Iraq (although the discussion ...more
There's some good comments on this book here already so I'm just gonna say that I found the first part of this book very interesting. He presents quite a few disruptive ideas and challenges to people of leftist inclinations. Then it gets very, very philosophical and lacanian in a way that is way over my basic knowledge of these subjects. So although I didn’t read until the end, this book has enticed me to dig into some of the more advanced philosophy and also lacanian psychoanalysis, later to re ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm nerly done this is a spellbinding out of body philosphy/psychoanalytic book about politics, and the ways we fool ourselves..Zizek does meander a bit into the context provided by pyschoanalysis but overall I love a book that sends me search for more background and a greater depth of undersrtanding provided by mixing what on the surface appear to be very different frmeworks and disclipines
Zizek frequently derails his own arguments with indulgent philosophical sidetracks, yet the urgency of his insights are inspiring. As usual, the book hinges on the question, "how is resistance possible?"
Aug 31, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
second half was way hard
Brian Foley
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readthisyear
this title made me laugh out loud.
then i read it.
Mark Nenadov
I enjoyed many parts of this. I really struggled with other parts, which were either way off topic or inscrutable or both.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east
I've heard a lot of good stuff about Zizek, but the guy just can't commit to writing about what the title of the book suggests, let alone the chapter headings.
Glen Teejay
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zizek
How to practice Utopia?
Aug 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i love this beautiful man.
Rambling, but the occasional points of lucid criticism make it worthwhile.
Alain O'Dea
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Slavoj Žižek is a Slovene sociologist, philosopher, and cultural critic.

He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia (then part of SFR Yugoslavia). He received a Doctor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Ljubljana and studied psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII with Jacques-Alain Miller and François Regnault. In 1990 he was a candidate with the party Liberal Democracy of Slovenia for P