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The Morning GIF: A Nyan Cat for the intelligentsia

This bizarre GIF of Slavoj Zizek is as erudite and loopy as the philosopher himself. 


Lorraine Murphy

Internet Culture

Posted on May 25, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 4:39 pm CDT

Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

Today’s GIF requires something in the way of preamble, as philosopher and professor Slavoj Zizek is not yet a household name.

Not quite.

We’ll let the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy explain:

Zizek’s work is infamously idiosyncratic. It features striking dialectical reversals of received common sense; a ubiquitous sense of humor; a patented disrespect towards the modern distinction between high and low culture; and the examination of examples taken from the most diverse cultural and political fields. Yet Zizek’s work, as he warns us, has a very serious philosophical content and intention. He challenges many of the founding assumptions of today’s left-liberal academy, including the elevation of difference or otherness to ends in themselves, the reading of the Western Enlightenment as implicitly totalitarian, and the pervasive skepticism towards any context-transcendent notions of truth or the good.

All clear then? Excellent. Let’s proceed.

It’s fitting that this seemingly deranged rock god of contemporary intellectualism has been immortalized in a GIF as loopy, erudite, and referential as this. It has taken us 11 links to properly cite everything required to explain it.

The GIF features an army of two-dimensional Zizeks moving diagonally across the frame, brandishing hot dogs in their waving tentacles, rampant on a field of pulsating rainbows. So right there we’ve got a criticism of the philosopher as lacking depth, rainbows, and hot dogs.

Cthulhu, the malevolent alien sea god of HP Lovecraft’s famed Cthulhu Mythos, is also a cultural touchpoint, having been in print steadily since the 1920s. Put those together in a GIF with a mobile rainbow background and a clip from Al Jazeera and you have, effectively, a Nyan Cat for the intelligentsia.

The original underlying root GIF was taken from an interview with Zizek on the cheerful subject of whether these are the end times. He replied in the affirmative, just as you’d expect of the author of a book called Living in the End Times.

The GIF was reportedly first uploaded to by arielrebel, and then morphed and uploaded to Tumblr by the extremely not safe for epileptics Not Safe For Mork Tumblr, where it has 31 notes. Flying Spaghetti Monster only knows where he got the tentacles and the hot dog.

Camus, u jelly?

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*First Published: May 25, 2012, 9:42 am CDT