Friday, May 11, 2007

Zizek in the City

I learned too late on the 18th of last month that Zizek himself was to be at the MOMA introducing Sophie Fiennes' doc The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, a film which features the philosopher discoursing on penis-vagina relations in classic films from Hitchcock, Lynch, Kieslowski, Kubrik, the Marx Bros, etc. & then I was headed south for what turned out to be a week & missed the entire 5-day run of the movie. All was not lost, though, in the Zizek realm for this young collector. For I had visited the McNally & Robinson bookstore for the first time a little while before--on a wink & promise from R. Silliman('s blog) that the poetry stock was nigh decent. & it was & it wasn't--there were some great small(er) press publications from little guys such as BookThug & UDP, & I discovered the great Effing Press that very night (Hoa Nguyen, Kent Johnson (Araki Yasusada), Tony Tost (best name everr))--yet these were not the cakes to take (tho I bought a bunch of that shit). [A side note against Mc&Son: they had 1 title combined from the following publishers: krupskaya, atelos, subpress, the figures, factory school, roof & so on.] No, the cakes to take numbered four, they were books penned by the above-pictured man, & they were all signed by the above-pictured man. These include pb&j copies of Interrogating the Real & Slavoj Zizek Live Theory by Rex Butler (Zeez signed it anyway) & HC copies of The Universal Exception and The Parallax View. All but the latter put out by Continuum, while Parallax is an MIT production.

The Zizek treats do not end there, as I also recently acquired the Back to School 2003 issue of Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly: The Sex Ed Issue, which features some critical explorations by the philosopher mixed in with the tits & boy butts. Every few pages of the opening section of this 280-page tome, which is the naked picture section, features snippets of commentary by Zizek superimposed over the images. The prose is mostly Zizek Jr, but there are of course some gems within: THE ONLY SUCCESSFUL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP OCCURS WHEN THE FANTASIES OF THE TWO PARTNERS OVERLAP. IF THE MAN FANTASIZES THAT MAKING LOVE IS LIKE RIDING A BIKE...AND THE WOMAN WANTS TO BE PENETRATED BY A STUD, THEN WHAT TRULY GOES ON WHEN THEY MAKE LOVE IS THAT A HORSE IS RIDING A BIKE...WITH A FANTASY LIKE THAT, WHO NEEDS A PERSONALITY? The magazine itself is the true interesting artifact--I had been entirely unaware of the A&F print phenomenon until I bought this issue. What I said above is a pretty accurate description, boy butts & girl butts & girl tits & boy tits are the main focus, usually construed in intimate and/or suggestive poses, even with a few good pieces of problematizing guy-guy-girl & mega-orgy imagery thrown in on occasion. What the magazine as a whole really needs is Zizek Sr to explicate it--it's truly an odd object to contemplate. I'm sure it's been discussed in depth elsewhere, I mean, it has to have been at some point. The first (provocative) section is atypical as far as catalogs go--there are pictures but not one mention of clothes, price, description, anything. & when you do finally get to the clothes with prices, there are no models whatsoever, & plain white backgrounds. There are interesting details there, too, like how the clothes are all wrinkled, rarely flat, straight, anything--suggesting use. But what else? That's where we need Slavoj to make heads or tails of it beyond my amateur sleuthing attempts.

The issue even comes in a slipcase--the collector in me had to find this version, not just the issue itself, suggesting in yet another way that it's much more like a book than a catalog. After the clothing section, where the actual products are displayed, there is a little more content, in a magazine-style. So in the end it's a hybrid of book, magazine, catalog, with all sorts of luscious boy butts. Apparantly (unfortunately) A&F were forced by the xtianz to cease this type of publication--I'm sure they still put out something, but I'm not sure what. I'm proud of them for putting out this type stuff for as long as they did, as it is all quite odd & quite interesting, & the guys & gals are all knockouts.

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