via liberal japonicus
I think some folks here might be familiar with Slavoj Žižek, though his name appears a lot more at Crooked Timber (I don't think I've ever seen his name here). This Guardian profile gives as an enjoyable look at the man, but if you don't click on it, you can get a taste from the title, which is a quote from him: 'Humanity is OK, but 99% of people are boring idiots'.
So if you are familiar with his writings, his opinion piece in the Guardian on Obama, entitled "Why Obama is more than Bush with a human face" may be of interest. It certainly surprised me a bit. An arresting image:
In Europe, the ground floor of a building is counted as zero, so the floor above it is the first floor, while in the US, the first floor is on street level. This trivial difference indicates a profound ideological gap: Europeans are aware that, before counting starts – before decisions or choices are made – there has to be a ground of tradition, a zero level that is always already given and, as such, cannot be counted. While the US, a land with no proper historical tradition, presumes that one can begin directly with self-legislated freedom – the past is erased. What the US has to learn to take into account is the foundation of the "freedom to choose".
Anyway, thought it might raise some discussion. Have at it, folks.