APPENDIX TO BLADE RUNNER REVIEW

After completing my review of BLADE RUNNER 2049 I was curious to see how the post-Althusserian ideology critique crowd would see the film.

I was disappointed with Zizek’s review, as it was less ontologically oriented and more reductively Oedipal and political than his comments on the original BLADE RUNNER in THE TICKLISH SUBJECT.

The narrative presupposes that passing the Turing test is not a problem, at least for the new breed of Nexus-9 replicants, but the problem of empathy remains unsolved at the beginning of the film. The narrative entangles K, the obedient blade runner willing to kill his own kind, within a fantasmatic Oedipal triangle which serves as a temporary catalyst for the genesis of empathy.

Once this fantasy is deconstructed in the real he becomes capable of a free non-Oedipally programmed empathy. In effect, it is when he traverses the Oedipal fantasy that he can accede to a present sense for his guiding memory. No longer does he need to track down the factual origins of this memory, he can affirm its sense for him by fighting the bullies and hiding the treasure.

Zizek’s remarks on the virtual and the counterfactual as the defining characteristic of the psychoanalytic unconscious are too abstract, and his “concrete” example of plain coffee vs coffee without milk needs to be developed instead of just being endlessly recycled.

Zizek seems to be unaware that K passed the counterfactuality test. When Joshi asks K to tell her one of his memories and he hesitates she asks “Would it help if I were to tell you it is an order?” He not only responds quite well to this counterfactual order, but one-ups the level of counterfactuality by leaving out a crucial part of the memory, and recounting a truncated version as if it were complete.

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