The other night, I pretended I didn’t know who Slavoj iek, the Slovenian Hegelian Marxist and cultural critic, was. I’ve done this before, but never to such triumphant effect. This Marxist bro I was talking to made a reference to iek that he obviously assumed I would get, and my heart sank. He was a nice guy, actually, but I saw the conversation stretching out in front of us, and I saw myself having to say things about iek and listen to him say things about iek, and I saw that I really did not want this to happen. “This is a bar,” I wanted to say, the same way that my grandmother might have said “This is a church.” A bar is not the appropriate venue for a loud, show-offy conversation about The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology.
At first, I thought I might be able to get away with ignoring the reference. Not so. He made another one, and then another one, and then said, sort of desperately, “iek argues that ” I saw the gap, and I took it. I asked him who that was, and he assumed I hadn’t heard him over the music. “IEK” he shouted. “SLAVOJ IEK.” I told him I’d never heard of such a person, and his eyes widened. His attempts to explain were met with the same denials. Celebrity philosopher? Nope. Lacan? Nope. Hegel? Nope. I stopped short of saying I had never heard of Karl Marx, but only just. This guy couldn’t believe it. How could I have never heard of iek?
He moved through the stages that everyone moves through when they have fallen prey to the iek Maneuver: disbelief, defiance, and finally, dizzy irritation. Maybe even a bit of actual anger. I could see that he thought I might be messing with him, but he could not prove it. He gave up on me shortly afterwards, and ignored me for the rest of the night. Later I saw him talking to his friends and pointing at me. I imagined what he was saying: “That girl over there, she doesn’t even know who iek is. IEK.” I smiled at him and waved.
Heh. I don’t know many people who would hit me with the iek reference, but the next time I want to mess with someone I’ll try the iek gambit.
Read the entire article; it’s quite funny.