Why are Animals Funny?
Analysing the signs of everyday life.
Why are Animals Funny? comprises 46 articles in which nigh on everything is analysed, from the smartphone to the 2010 general election, from toasties to Margaret Thatcher, from anxiety in children's literature to David Cameron's music tastes...
Everyday Analysis (for which we use the author name EDA Collective) is a group of writers, mostly in Manchester, in the UK, who have been posting short articles on everyday events, phenomena, affairs, popular and avant garde culture, and anything else, online at http://everydayanalysis.tumblr.com/, and have begun to amass quite a following in the blogosphere, in a relatively short time. Our work has been shared by various outlets over the internet, from Verso Books to the poet, Sam Riviere, with certain articles also appearing in our weekly column in the country's biggest University newspaper, The Mancunion.
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I’ll be one of the first to admit, I love “Grumpy Cat” (fun aside though, the 2-year old American shorthair cat is actually named Tardar Sauce, and looks the way she does thanks to feline dwarfism and an under bite . . . and is apparently quite the loving little animal). I love pop-cultural tropes and memes like it should be my job, and occasionally wish that I could reconcile that with the fact that I pride myself on my intellect and education, and the fact that in little more than two years (fingers crossed on that one), I’d really prefer that you call me “Doctor”. The Everyday Analysis Collective is one of the answers to my inability to reconcile my adulthood with my childlike attraction to the insane minutiae of daily life and popular culture. So the hot pink cover of the new book, with a black and white illustration of one of the Internet’s most revered animal memes, Why Are Animals Funny? was an immediate draw. Originally begun in January 2013 as a blog based between Manchester and London, the project has grown to include a run as a column in the University of Manchester’s Mancunion, entries on the international news website The Huffington Post, and the UK’s Guardian. That EDA has taken off in less than eighteen months is impressive, and something that I think is sorely and amusingly needed. The first of what I really do hope will become an engaging series of books brings together some of EDA’s finest contributions to date, at the hands of editors Alfie Bown and Daniel Bristow. The book, as with its original home on the Internet, lacks individually credited authors (similar in tactic to the Art & Language collective practices), and each mini-essay is instead listed by title and entry number. They are short, averaging approximately two pages per entry, and each title almost reads like something off of an early Fall Out Boy or Panic! At the Disco album, less a suggestive title than a brief, yet detailed account: customary for tedious works of theory, not necessarily for vignettes, novels, or songs even. Indeed, the introduction to the book is the longest single entry in the entire thing, and offers a good explanation of not only the critical inspiration for the project, but also offers reasoning as to exactly why this project is so . . . well, intellectually and culturally necessary. The second half of the introduction, subtitled A Defence of Theory, explains this well. Like a literary two-way street, this book acts as an accessible inlet for outsiders of the ivory tower that is academia, and a much-needed outlet for those trapped inside (both students and accomplished instructors alike). In brief, it serves to ponder all aspects of cultural minutiae through pickings and choosings of theoretical heavy-hitters like Lacan and Marx, without removing the joy of the sheer insanity and absurdity of it all. I think that in reading this book for the sake of generating an adequate review, I had to do my best to remove myself from my powerful urge to actively and vehemently engage with the assertions that its pages put forth (because some of them really are quite fascinating, and it’s a difficult impulse to turn off, sort of like a word-vomit reflex). This might actually shed light on what I think is really the only unfair part of the whole thing: you only get a taster for each subject. Of course, this is also one of the most appealing points of the project. For most, anything more than an introductory analysis to say, American food challenges (we Americans do find an unabashed sense of joy in this sort of thing even without seeing it though a lens that infantilizes this variety of consumption, as is suggested in entry number three: “Baby Food, or How to Eat Like an American”), can quickly become burdensome and risk being outright boring. The trick with EDA is to only give the reader a basis for the author’s argument, and to make the reader think, ideally resulting in engaging conversation, rather than making one to feel that they’ve just been talked at for an annoyingly long time. This ends up acting more as an exercise for the reader than for the authors. The authors present the situation and the initial thought. It’s the job of the reader to think about it and, God willing, even find some way to agree and complement it or counter it. The nineteenth entry in the book, a rather poignant observation on the personal and mass cultural perceptions of death titled “Does it Really Make a Difference Whether it was James Gandolfini or Tony Soprano who Died?”, is probably my favourite entry in the whole thing. At first stop, a likely answer to the question-title could be something akin to: “Yes, of course. One was a real live human being, the other was a character on a television show.” There’s far more to it, though. The vignette’s real impact in the book lies in the fact that it almost entirely avoids explicit mention of any particular “theory” until the last paragraph, in which mention of Freud and Peter Brooks are made, though the point at which this occurs is so late that the author can do little more than mention them in passing. Because of this, the author relies almost completely on cultural and logical reference, arguing that while yes it was indeed sad when James Gandolfini suddenly died, it may very well have been the actor’s famous character of Tony Soprano that passed, for as much of a tie as many people actually had to the actor versus how the internet-connected world seemed to mourn his passing. Without personal experience to speak of, the author suggests, the character was just as real as the actor (and vice versa). The essay as a whole manages itself quite well for its length, and was probably the only entry where I found myself largely satisfied at its conclusion instead of clamouring for more. To say nothing else, I would recommend the book on the basis of this entry alone. That, and the commentary in entry number six on the strange sense of identity (or complete disregard for) presented in advertising campaigns like the Old Spice adverts featuring former American footballer Isaiah Mustafa as the hunky, manly-man centre of attention, known to the digital world as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”. If you’ve not seen the adverts, I recommend watching them, then reading the entry. There is a slight deceptiveness at work with the format of the book however, and one could start to think with the project in general. As a burgeoning academic, this format makes sense to me. I’ve read Barthes’ Mythologies, which the editors of EDA reference in the introduction to the book. Analytical commentary on the oddly mundane (yet simultaneously fascinating) aspects of everyday life is a useful tool to help us realize that, my god, there isn’t a single pointless part of life. Even the lowest dregs of cultural detritus (I’m looking at you, Beliebers) reflect something about us, and life in general, that is worth acknowledging. But the project, broadly operated by academics, relies on academic vernacular to claim its stake. It thereby almost restricts its accessibility to a very specialized type of mind. The average individual is not likely to be terribly familiar with Benjamin or Derrida, but this book could in fact ultimately serve as a useful way of piquing interest in the new and unfamiliar. Overall, I’m excited that something like EDA has not only built a following and reputation that, in today’s attention-deficit world, is increasingly difficult to manage, but that it has also expanded into media outside of its original domain. Quite a bit can be said to the simple fact that in the span of less than two years, it has managed to achieve a shift in physical status from the digitally-pervasive, to being blessed with its first ISBN. This is hugely impressive, and I can’t wait to see what the collective does next. ~ Allison Norris, The Manchester Review
“Death Drive,” “hauntology,” “in horror vacui,” and “uber-chutzpa” are just a few of the phrases that grace the pages of “Why are Animals Funny? Everday Analysis: Volume 1,” published in the UK by independent publisher, Zero Books. “Why are Animals Funny?” is written by a band of, well, what I call renegades. They, however, call themselves the Everyday Analysis Collective (EDA Collective), a group comprised mostly of journalists and academics out of England. The book is a compilation of forty-six articles that move flawlessly from the particular to the universal, and only one of which is actually about why animals are funny, and let’s be real – they are hilarious, but not for the reasons you’d expect. The EDA Collective brings in heavy hitters like G.W.F. Hegel and Georges Bataille to show us what’s really going on with the cat video and Corgi beach party obsession. I’ll say that my “animal drives” will no longer be suppressed after that article. A note on the title (ironically, probably intentionally), the second article in the book is called, “On the Impossiblity of Judging a Book by its Cover.” The cover is a loud hottish-pink color, hideous, with what I can only describe as an existentially terrified cat on the front. This is probably what I looked like while I purposefully read the book in various public settings: in a park, on the train (note: to get the full effect of “Cross country trains: How can we measure ideology today”, it is best read on a crowded train), at Starbucks, in public toilets, but little did the passersby know, I was actually reading about, “Why Justin Bieber Should Listen to Neutral Milk Hotel,” and, “Symbols of the Working Class: The Call Centre and Alienating Advertising.” If you haven’t figured it out by now, the EDA Collective analyzes phenomena that have become culturally banalized, at an intersection where the absurd and strange become intimate, and the reader is left with no choice but to put his or her’s everyday existence into question. Their critiques, averaging two pages each, magnify to an unsightly degree the linguistic, social, and cultural constructions we live in, how this reality functions onto us, and then ends each article with an always all too human provocation. That is their method. It is sharp and it penetrates. If you’re at all familiar with Slavoj Zizek and have seen his films, “The Perverts Guide to Ideology,” or “The Perverts Guide to Cinema,” you’ll appreciate and respect the work the EDA Collective has done in just one hundred short pages. And unlike Zizek, there are very few: “as-such’s,” “precisely’s,” “and-so-on’s.” The Collective means exactly what they say and say exactly what they mean. Each of the 46 articles can stand alone in this way. On that same note, everything about “Why are Animals Funny?” is contra to contemporary academia. That is it’s charm. And what I mean by this, is that the hot-pink cover with a cat on it, the short articles, and the hilarious quips, will not be found anywhere in the buttoned-up, stuffy University air of today. Even if the reader is unfamiliar with Marxist attack on ideology, Lacan’s tripartite model of the mind, and Baudrillard’s definition of hyperreality, you can enjoy what these writers have set out to do, which is force readers to put down the book and question the nature and construction of their reality in that particular, atomized moment. It is best read on the train, at Starbucks, or in a crowded park. You will get the full empirical experience of the theory this way. The articles will come to life in a Frankensteinian-way, and whether that is frightening or hilarious is, I guess up to you. I think it was Wittgenstein who said that the only way to confront something truly awful is through humor. “Why are Animals Funny?” is itself funny, but please note, this is a serious book, and the jokes it makes are to be taken seriously. It’s theory is concrete. For instance, in “One Grande Super Skinny Latte with an Extra Shot and Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup Please!” “I recognize the cultural need to consume American-style coffee, placing the mind in the position of the subject-who-desires, and I instead need to gratify this cultural or social desire without contaminating the purity of my body; the body is in on it, the mind is fooled (75).” It is obvious the American style coffee referenced above is Starbucks. Anybody who hasn’t had their head buried in sand for the past decade has seen someone order this exact drink–probably in a pair of Lululemon pants, eats gluten free, and pays on his or her cell phone–and maybe your response is to scoff, laugh, or order that exact same drink right afterwards, totally un-phased. Moments like these that go that unquestioned everyday are thrown under the microscope, and everything becomes implicated in a massive web. Language, culture, sociostructures, the body, the mind, and most importantly, you, just another fly stuck on the web, reading this review on the internet, are implicated, yes, whether you like it or not you are in on it. The EDA Collective’s mission is simply stated in the introduction to the book. They want to make us think, and constantly re-think our reality, a reality that is full of impossible complexities: skinny lattes, Toasties, anxiety in children’s novels, and The Flaming Lips. To this end, their goal, as simple as it is, is hard to achieve. But they do achieve it. I think these renegades attack this challenge in the best possible way, and that is from the multi-vantage point that only a collective can offer, a panoramic view of different voices, that see different signs, objects, and symbols, and amalgamate them together in a creative register, that makes for a delightful and engaging read.  This was one of the more opaque objects alluded to that I came across while reading. I had no idea what in the hell a Toastie was, beyond being a a boring grilled cheese. One of the Collective’s editors cleared this up for me, “The best ones are made in a kind of machine which cooks the bread and sort of seals it together. I haven’t had one for about 10 years, but I want one now. I guess the best way to describe it is – its a kind of shit Panini.” ~ Zachary Siegel, Critical-Theory.com
The career prospects for young academics, especially in the humanities, are dire. But the barriers to full-time, long-term contracts for young thinkers across the British Isles have in some cases bred creativity. The daring of young thought is still potentially as invigorating as in decades past. The problem is that the academy has little space for risk taking. Universities are restricted more and more by unadventurous business models. And their timidity is reflected in their often conservative choices when funding research by young scholars. Yet rare beacons of young dissenting voices persist and adapt to this inhospitable climate. Those who operate on the margins of traditional publishing, paradoxically, are starting to represent the cutting edge of the academy. These are writers who are hungry to continue the healthy tradition of new thinkers who challenge the status quo. Their trick is to make more accessible highbrow theories of gender, ideology and the postmodern in order to influence public debate. Readers may be familiar with one of these collectives, the Everyday Sexism movement, but perhaps fewer will have taken note of Everyday Analysis (or EDA for short). The latter has gained a number of admirers in more niche circles. Its blog, everydayanalysis.com, has caught the imagination, in particular, of those intellectuals who are forced to the margins of the academy. EDA embraces the internet as a primary platform of publication and has mobilised in new ways to stand out from the countless young academics with whom it must compete for attention. It publishes almost weekly – a significant challenge to the slower and more traditional forms of academic publishing. Attempting to attract a new audience, EDA has now released its first collection of essays in traditional print, Why Are Animals Funny? The title may intentionally suggest a certain inanity, but, given the collective’s intellectual rigour, this first impression is misleading. The collective organisation of EDA counters refreshingly the narcissism (in other words, the individualism) of more mainstream scholarly writing. Perhaps counterintuitively for a medium that allows us more and more to curate our own virtual lives, at least some of the narcissistic tendencies of academic writing are eradicated if the work appears online and is authored collectively: anonymity is now well established as advantageous to the radical thinker. The collective, in turn, may take the intellectual high ground over the superstar academic; the introduction to Why Are Animals Funny? makes EDA’s position clear: “We hope that having no presiding authorial voice is part of our fidelity to the cause.” The “cause” is proving the usefulness of theory to disentangling the hidden complexities that structure our everyday lives. EDA’s publisher, Zero Books, also pours scorn on the mainstream in its mission statement. In the academy, it suggests, “A cretinous anti-intellectualism presides, cheered by expensively educated hacks in the pay of multinational corporations.” Revolution is in the air, at least in this corner of cyberspace. The numerous readings presented here meticulously pay respect to the work of theorists and philosophers such as Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin and Slavoj Zizek. In so doing these essays harness and distil complex theory to show us the full ideological significance of that which we may otherwise regard as insignificant; a game of Angry Birds, the phrase “man-up”, the collapse of support in Britain for the Liberal Democrats, and the cable programme Man v. Food are just some of the subjects reframed by Why Are Animals Funny? This is not just the posturing of the disenfranchised. At its astute best, Why Are Animals Funny? invites us to become the subjects of its analysis and to recognise that which we disavow: that desire and ideology control us even in the most mundane situations. EDA inverts the “commonsense” knowledge dished out by the accepted experts of our age. Take the cult of “curing” our neuroses and our modern obsession with restorative therapies. Following the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan, EDA insists we should embrace rather than dismiss our unique quirks and habits: “To assume our symptom [. . .] is to realise that our very ‘consistency’ is to be found precisely in our ‘pathological’ singularity.” In other words, we should accept our symptoms as our unique qualities, as intrinsic to our being. Even the “common sense” lauding of charity is challenged. Drawing from Zizek, EDA asks us to consider that which economic charity smudges over: it “avoids the confrontation with the question of how it became necessary in the first place – and how its causes might be addressed by changing the system”. We should see charity as necessary only because of the inhumanity of the capitalist structures that necessitate it. It is not only a desire for change that drives the writers of EDA but also intoxication with the theoretical text. These young thinkers use what they have – intelligence, resourcefulness and an eye for the everyday – to produce readings at a pace that the academy cannot mirror. At its best this collection sets a precedent for a new generation of critical engagement with popular culture. EDA is fighting to carve a new space for the intellectual in popular media. Its battle is just beginning. ~ Matt Foley, Irish Times
With their first book, Why are Animals Funny?, the collective offers an intriguing insight into the symbiosis of theory and practice in the everyday; and precisely that symbiosis is at the heart of EDA’s brilliance. Aware of the dangers of theory in popular writing, the collective manages to make use of sometimes awfully complex ideas and concepts without losing much of their nuances. This book is thus a delightful example of the importance of theory in understanding the everyday, and a perfect testimony to Slavoj Žižek’s statement on the importance of theory: ‘life without theory is gray, a flat stupid reality – it is only theory which makes it “green”, truly alive, bringing out the complex underlying network of mediations and tensions which makes it move’. Unsurprisingly (although not solely), it is Lacanian psychoanalytic theory that features most prominently in this book; and it is a smooth and unforced marriage between politics and psychoanalysis where this book is at its best. This book also comes as a proper refreshment to the current academic environment which, at least in social sciences (and one would venture a guess that humanities are not far behind), is more and more driven by funding and impact agendas, by a cut-throat competition as to who is to come closer to the holy grail of power and, as an expert, become new politicians’ best friend. EDA collective sheds light not only on the conduct of politics, but with its collective writing practice (crowd-writing), the ethics of sharing ideas and the non-existent questions of ownership, puts up a mirror to their peers and invites them to consider their policy-driven endeavors in light of what academic profession is supposed to be. I wish politics people – those in office or perhaps, even more, the others/experts who are sitting in their academic ivory towers whispering in their masters’ ears – would read this book and open their eyes and minds to a different kind of politics; a politics which perhaps underlies their unchallenged faith and trust in knowledge that is squeezed out of the public by forms of survey-type number-crunching. An essay on 2010 UK general elections shows why political agendas should not (solely) be placed in the hands of numbers; the Liberal Democrats, after what was a well-foreseen success at the elections, driven by a promise of a different politics and aided by a general dissatisfaction with the (New Labourite) politics of an average Briton, lost their political momentum. Instead of capitalizing on their success, the party (Nick Clegg) got scared of their perceived and potentially transforming power. To turn to psychoanalysis, they became 'the phallus par excellence' – this being a form of power, which in the process of exercising its potential, castrates itself. And what else did Nick Clegg do, but castrate himself and the party? The most powerful politician in the country, as essay 14 nicely explains, is bound by being only able to ask himself the one question: 'who must we choose to render our party impotent?' Politically inspired revelations continue in numerous other essays. For example, the reader is faced with the well-instated and popular liberal practice of charity. EDA invites us to ask the question for whom charity works best. Their unsurprising answer is of course for those who give to charity; and that, not only because, as again Žižek somewhere else wrote, with charity, ‘we’ – comfortably-living Western individuals – buy out our bad conscience of consuming more than we need, but because charity avoids conflict and maintains status quo. It surpasses and further delays asking the most important question, that is: how charity became necessary in the first place? And how its causes might be addressed by changing the system? Or further, the reader is confronted with questions of death – why are deaths almost aestheticised when they are far off? The representation of death and suffering turns into a profitable business, but only for as long as it is far removed from its viewers. Imagine, as EDA asks us to do, that instead of suffering bodies in the Vietnam War, starving children in Africa or the portrayals of de-humanised workers in Bangladesh, the factory accident in Ellesmere Port is described in the same aestheticised and de-humanised way. What would our reaction then be? Written in clear opposition to a growing academic practice where knowledge control, gate-keeping and intellectual property have become key assets, Why Are Animals Funny? is a serious book that deserves close consideration by those interested in the possible futures of political, social and cultural criticism. It is a serious book that is fun to read and perhaps even a book with an unexplored didactic purpose: try introducing your students to postmodernism and critical thinking through this book and see what happens, I suggest. As Mladen Dolar put it, it’s a real grook! ~ Andreja Zevnik, OpenDemocracy
The phallus par excellence: For its ambition and integrity alone the new book by the Everyday Analysis Collective is a welcome release, an inspiring antidote to the stifling malaise that haunts the glass corridors of neoliberalism’s shiny new cathedrals. The material, collected from the group’s blog, is panoramic in its search for subject matter but remains focused in its attempt to build a critical grammar fully conversant with popular culture. The gaudy title and vomit-inducing cover in themselves constitute an affront to the kind of readers that prefer the comforting authority of the academic colon. Don’t let this fool you, though. In the spirit of Slavoj Žižek, the most obvious influence here, the distancing techniques are all part of the message. Why Are Animals Funny? is a serious book and deserves close consideration by those interested in the possible futures of cultural criticism. ... Unlike postmodernism with its self-referential jargon and masturbatory collage techniques the authority of this collection comes from its well-tuned ear, its sensitivity to the rhythms of contemporary history. As the book’s introduction and the name of the group make clear: ‘In the everyday there are radical inconsistencies that should spur us into thinking, and reading, analytically and critically, and we defend theory as the inseparable tool by which we can inaugurate this mode of reading and thought.’ The irreverent attitude towards the divisions between high and low culture, then, are less a rejection of ‘high art’ per se than a rejection of its dependence on a narrow tradition of class, race and gender referents. This extends to the collective’s method. While Freud, Lacan and Kristeva all make their appearances the appropriation of their ideas outside of the organic heritage of the university enables the group to take their concepts in unexpected directions. The scope of these adventures is impossible to reduce to a simple list of highlights. For me, though, the cutting criticisms of parliamentary politics, mainly in the form of sporadic assaults on the 2010 Westminster Coalition, were particularly enjoyable. These moments, which manage to avoid the rehearsed carping of social media, are hilarious and charged with the same devious humanity that made Armando Iannuci’s The Thick of It such a joy to watch. A description of the Liberal Democrats, for example, splendidly portrays their election dilemma as a red-faced drama of Freudian emasculation: ‘For a brief moment Nick Clegg was the phallus par excellence. The most powerful politician in the country and yet bound by being only able to ask himself the one question: who must we choose to render our party impotent?’ ... The EDA collective comes across as young, intelligent, thoughtful and energetic at a time when the university has become exhausted by the reactionary defence of its own suspicious ideals. More importantly, its intellectual assertions are watertight; it would be hard indeed to view the analysis on offer here as a diluted form of a purer form of philosophy. Together, the authors have captured the joy of performance, the energy of protest and embedded this spirit within a theoretical framework that is admirably deliberative. There is not a whiff of desperate careerism, not a trace of greed or networking in these pages. I only hope that this kind of nuanced commentary can find a way to sustain itself financially and creatively in the coming years against the barrage of copy/paste critiques still being peddled by the inflated egos of the mainstream commentariat. It is not often that theory is this fun to read, and less often still that satire is so well versed in the language of its assailants. ~ Jamie Mackay, Review 31
Have you ever considered the ideological function of standing on a crowded train? Maybe not, because (in my experience) usually the only thought that comes to mind is how horrible and overpriced the train is and what your plans are upon arriving at your destination. In their new book ‘Why Are Animals Funny?’ Everyday Analysis (EDA) – a group of Manchester- and London-based writers known as the ‘EDA Collective’ – offers a critical, philosophical, psychoanalytical perspective of things we experience every day that are often accepted, unchallenged and unquestioned. In the spirit of Roland Barthes’ ‘Mythologies’, the 46 short articles make up a compendium of cultural and political analysis. The articles were collected from their blog http://www.everydayanalysis.com/ which began back in January 2013 and is still regularly being updated. Some of the articles are funny and droll, while some incite discontent, and others evoke empathic understanding and a sheepish “I never thought about it that way before”; all are wonderfully written, well-informed, and (most importantly, I think) accessible. One of my favourite features about this book is how aware the writers are of the difficulty and complexity of their material, and how they are able to avoid long, winding explanations, giving only the important information and presenting it in such a manner that educational and reading level is all but rendered moot. One of the great successes of the book is its ability to simplify without patronising its readers or losing any of the academic rigour upon which it is founded. While being as entertaining and as enjoyable to read as any mainstream novel or magazine, the book also serves a didactic purpose: it shows lucidly that everything we see and say and do in our lives, every song on the radio, every film in the theatre, every tweet on the Twitter has a wider impact than we might originally think. All too many reviewers have said about a book that it will change the way you look at the world and now the phrase is tired and meaningless. In this case, however, the book’s critical eye affects your real one and does (in a very literal sense) change the way you look at the world. So, if you want to know more about Jacques Lacan’s ham & cheese toastie of the mind, Justin Bieber’s latest faux pas, your favourite internet meme, or why Richard Dawkins is a b*llend, I absolutely recommend you read this book. ~ Ruari Paton, Voix Magazine
Featured with 6 other Zero titles on "Publishers in Focus" webpage by Blackwell Oxford "Many publishers struggle to get the exposure that we feel their books deserve. On this page we will bring you a selection of the independent, interesting and essential that are worthy of greater attention" http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/stores/oxford-bookshop/publisher-in-focus/ ~ Blackwell Oxford
If you agree, as Lacan said, that psychoanalysis comes closest to being the real deal the funnier it is, then this is the book for you. If, as Adorno said, in psychoanalysis only exaggeration is true, then everyday analysis fits the bill. What a great book. ~ Ian Parker, Psychoanalyst, Professor of Management, University of Leicester, UK.,
In this new A-Z (animals to Žižek) of the psychopathology of everyday life common signs, images, events, slogans, trivia are deciphered as symptoms of covert ideological scripts, site of antagonisms, stage of comedy, call for the intervention of theory, all in one go, both nonchalant and strict. In the spirit of one of the entries, that on worbining (word-combining): a real grook (great book). ~ Mladen Dolar, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana.