While backpacking through Eastern Europe, I stopped at a pub for a drink. On the stool next to me sat a squat, disheveled man. His strange habit of constantly fiddling with his nose, beard or shirt, as well as his grunting and snuffling, put me in mind of a groggy bear with a cocaine addiction. Before I could think better of my choice of seat, my presence apparently triggered a monologue that he had hooked up to a motion-detector.

“I told those imbeciles at Salon that I related to Robespierre and Lenin! But did they call me ‘Zizek the Fanatical Jacobin’, or ‘Zizek the Bolshevik Monster’? No! I was ‘the coolest, most influential leftist in Europe‘! I’ve loudly proclaimed my admiration for Lenin, Stalin and Mao, but did they call me ‘Zizek the Mass-Murder Apologist’? No! They just gently admonished me to ‘stop clowning around‘! I wrote in one of my books, ‘Better the worst of Stalinism than the best of the liberal-capitalist welfare state,’ but do my leftist comrades call me ‘Zizek the Nihilist Nightmare’? No! The Chronicle of Higher Education even dubbed me ‘the Elvis of cultural theory’! They have no principles! It’s all just a big fucking joke to them!”

He turned fully in my direction, his jittery gaze coming briefly to rest as if consciously noticing me for the first time, and muttered, “But you write one article or give one speech that criticizes Islam…”