It has come to our attention that an extended passage in Slavoj Zizek’s Critical Inquiry essay ”A Plea for a Return to Differance (with a Minor Pro Domo Sua)” 32 (Winter 2006) was taken from a review by Stanley Hornbeck in American Renaissance of Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique. We deeply regret that this passage appeared in our pages without any citation of its source.
Given the source of the material in question, we emphasize that the passage was an expository summary of an anti-Semitic tract with which Slavoj Zizek himself profoundly disagrees. Zizek adduced this tract as evidence for a “new barbarism” in critical discourse. Critical Inquiry stands behind the point that the anti-Semitic screed is indeed barbaric, even as we regret Zizek’s failure to adhere to a baseline standard of academic discussion.
Zizek’s own statement:
With regard to the recent accusations about my plagiarism, here is what happened. When I was writing the text on Derrida which contains the problematic passages, a friend told me about Kevin Macdonald’s theories, and I asked him to send me a brief resume. The friend send it to me, assuring me that I can use it freely since it merely resumes another’s line of thought. Consequently, I did just that – and I sincerely apologize for not knowing that my friend’s resume was largely borrowed from Stanley Hornbeck’s review of Macdonald’s book. (These passages are also taken over in Part III, Chapter 1, of my book The Parallax View.) As any reader can quickly establish, the problematic passages are purely informative, a report on another’s theory for which I have no affinity whatsoever; all I do after this brief resume is quickly dismissing Macdonald’s theory as a new chapter in the long process of the destruction of Reason. In no way can I thus be accused of plagiarizing another’s line of thought, of “stealing ideas.” I nonetheless deeply regret the incident.
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