Zizek: Don Draper as a socially mandated lobster claw



Lacan freed Freud from ego psychology, but in doing so he failed to see how his captives had managed to identify a type of subjectivity spawned by late capitalism. The field of play was once defined by neurosis – perversion – psychosis, each representing a particular stance towards castration. But soon new types of subjectivity appeared at the beginnings of post-industrial capitalism which no longer needed castrated subjects for reproduction.

In this dystopia,  Daddy is dead and the Left has had a hand in his murder.  Two new subjectivities begin to appear on the analysts couch, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Pathological Narcissists (PN). In this dystopian vision, the old Oedipal pact is replaced by new, patriarchy substituted with a new regressive matriarchy.

Failing to undergo castration these subjects have an inner emptiness where the symbolic phallus should be. For the PN at least he is compensated through possessing a  grandiose ego, fed by the conflation of ego/ideal ego/ego ideal and external narcissistic  supplies. Don Draper is a pathological narcissist , a master who is a slave to the recognition of others due to the failure of secondary identification.

There is much to absorb in Zizek’s article, but I can also see the beginnings of a line of critique which focuses on phallocentricism and the problematic notion of regression in Zizek’s  new line of argument, which is baggage left over from using Kernberg as his initial starting point.



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