Zizek 2008

Slavoj Zizek.  (2008).  Violence.  NY: Picador Books.  90.

The subject does not envy the Other’s possession of the prized object as such, but rather the way the Other is able t enjoy this object, which is why it is not enough for him to simply steal and thus gain possession of the object.  His true aim is to destroy the Other’s ability/capacity to enjoy the object.

When this quotation is removed from the book it makes less and less sense.  Is this envy true of say, a hamburger?  Of course not.  The hungry man is envious of the hamburger and not just the ability of the other person to have a hamburger.

The example Zizek uses is a brother envious of his smaller brother suckling at the breast of their mother.  But the theory does not explain this triad.  The theory is about two subjects and an object, but the example if of three subjects and the rationing of the affections of one of the subjects.

Will McCain hate not the outcome of the election but rather Obama’s ability to enjoy the election?  No.  I do not think McCain dislikes Obama so much that he feels no compassion for his ability to mourn a grandmother or a lost election.  Instead McCain will hate the lack of a victory.  So even when there is a triad Zizek’s rationalization does not hold up.  Clear as mud, right?

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