The Imperial Eye
The figure of the shark in the film Jaws has been compared by Slavoj Žižek to the figure of the mythical Jew in anti-Semitic propaganda: both the shark and the Jew function as an empty signifier that binds together a multitude of analytic or concrete elements and transposes them to a new dimension of synthetic reality (1993: 148-49). To put it in sociological terms: the shark is a name (empty container) that transfers consciousness from the domain of profane stuff (and nominalist empirical operations) into the domain of the sacred, synthetic, sui generis facticity of reified reality. This type of blank object, for Žižek, is part of the Lacanian palette of objects that include the ‘signifier of the barred other’, the ‘object cause of desire’ or ‘little object a’, and the oppressive Thing or Phi object. The shark, the fantasy Jew, etc., are ‘monsters’ and monsters are blank screens upon which are projected fantasies, fears, etc. In other words, the monster falls under the category of the little object a.
This article is from Fast Capitalism 9 (2012): 1. Posted with permission.