Free Read: Interpassivity: Fleeing from Enjoyment, and the Objective Illusion

In this excerpt from Robert Pfaller’s “On the Pleasure Principle in Culture: Illusions Without Owners,” the author discusses the functioning of interpassivity and enjoyment.

Pfaller uses sitcom laughter (via Zizek) to illustrate his point:

At the beginning of the 1990s, when the art world was dominated by a seemingly omnipresent discourse about ‘interactivity’, Slavoj Žižek made an extremely astute comment that was a signi] cant break from the discourse. He maintained that television sitcoms using ‘canned laughter’ are actually laughing at their own jokes and funny situations on behalf of the viewers. According to Žižek, viewers can be perfectly amused without having to follow the content of the sitcoms, and even without having to laugh.

Read below, and check out the book here.


  • Collin237

    Zizek doesn’t go far enough. It isn’t just that the amusement of watching a show with canned laughter is an illusion. It’s an illusion that canned laughter has any effect at all. It’s a failure of market self-interest on the part of the show’s producers. They irrationally waste money making the laugh track because it’s a ritual.

    As far as the television laughing at itself, that part isn’t objective; it’s snugly inside Zizek’s head!!!