Kinder Surprise Eggs will never be the same.
Last night, I had to make a choice: end my shift at work and get as much rest as I could before the start of Job #2, or stick around a see one of the last screenings of The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology. Every part of my brain that used to be preoccupied with research papers won out: just me and Slavoj Zizek, for 2.5 hours of fun and deconstruction.
I spent the first half hour getting used to Zizek’s uniquely engaging delivery, full of softened consonants and emphatic excited hand gestures that spoke of genuine excitement. The rest of the film had me sitting in the dark theater, retroactively jealous for all the academic work that sits on my hard drive, never to be committed to film.
I’d always found written work engaging, taking a level of pride and passion in a well worded argument, seeing others connect to my thoughts and ideas – but I’d always felt it lacked the dynamic of discourse, the opportunity to actually hold someone’s hand and guide them through as they read, making sure the points hit them where they live. Zizek does just that – and with such a wonderful sense of self deprecating humor that I couldn’t help but nod and laugh along with the crowd as he bobs around in a Titanic lifeboat, curses his love of Starbucks while acknowledging the success of their ideological campaign to spend more and feel better for it.
Thanks to a small but deftly executed scene, I’m still figuring out just what I’m buying when a Kinder Surprise crosses my path: do I want the chocolate and get the surprise? Do I want the surprise and get the chocolate as the delivery method? Is it simply a metaphor for the empty void we all experience when we contemplate simple pleasures and the guilt we feel from enjoying them too much or not enough, as Zizek suggests? Will I always approach the Kinder with a mix of excitement and hope, only to discover the dreaded puzzle that I always get no matter how many times my sister and I switch eggs?
No matter the purchase, and no matter the object, Zizek’s argument that ideology is the pair of glasses we wear to keep ourselves safe from the harm of truth is a persistent one, one that deserved a few more passes with a red pen before making its debut. But, with a keen sense of the subject matter, and very clear enjoyment in his work, Zizek does deliver on the task of challenging the permissive and often unspoken cultural narratives that rule our lives – here’s hoping his next film is in 3D. Think of all the things he could do with that.