Jacques Lacan is all well and good, if you’re into all that Freudian post-structuralism stuff. With his emphatic delivery, the dude really is quite an engaging speaker. I mean, he was Slavoj Žižek’s primary theoretical influence, and from the looks of it, an inspiration for Žižek’s stage presence as well. I guess when you’re lecturing on the limitations of language, you’d better have a little stagecraft to sugar all that theory to keep the punters from dozing off.
As anyone who’s ever been to a speaking event with a public intellectual knows, the best part is not the speakers; the best part is the inevitable interruption by crazies who can’t garner an audience of their own, but never fail to seize the opportunity to preach their wisdom to the unwilling masses assembled to hear someone else! A few minutes in, we see a young (somewhat unsteady) kid approach Lacan’s desk, dunk his hands into a pitcher of… something, pour that something all over Lacan’s materials and then start making grand proclamations in the idiom of The Situationist International, which is like, totally anti-authoritarian and Marxist in context, you guys!
Not content to simply soapbox on Guy Debord, the Situationist wackadude flings the formerly pitcher-bound residue on his hands directly into the face of the much smaller Lacan, apparently in an effort to prove his “authenticity” (if only to himself!). Over 70 years old at this time, Lacan guards himself against potential assault before the Situationist is finally escorted out. Lacan continues talking. And Lacan continues smoking.
Maybe I’m just a common prole, wee-wee’d up on reality tee-vee, but the interaction between the erratic “revolutionary” Situationist and the intense (but accommodating) Lacan is way more entertaining than what either of them have to say. The nonchalance of the crowd in the presence of this philosophical hissy fit is downright golden. Even the chic girl in the hat who tried to corral the interruption doesn’t take the cigarette out of her mouth!