The Russian Kopi Luwak Slavoj Žižek October 17th, 2022
“Kopi luwak” is the world’s most expensive coffee, and it’s made from poop: from coffee beans that are partially digested and then pooped out by the civet, a catlike creature that lives in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The civet’s digestive enzymes change the structure of proteins in the coffee beans, which removes some of the acidity to make a smoother cup of coffee. It is mostly produced in Indonesia. In the US, a cup of kopi luwak can cost up to $80.
Is today’s new Right populist ideology, in the US as well as in Russia, not precisely a kind of ideological kopi luwak? Old ideas, some of them even respectable (like the critique of financial elites exploiting ordinary people), are processed by today's apes and turned into shit.
So is the best metaphor of today’s Russian and Belarussian ideological propaganda not that of their leaders and ideologists as civets gulping down some noble parts of our emancipatory tradition (anti-Fascist and anti-racist struggle, rejection of our commercialized and hedonistic way of life, fight against financial elites, the efforts to abolish leftovers of colonization, etc…), allowing their neo-Fascist digestive enzymes to remove the radical acidity of the emancipatory tradition they swallowed so that this tradition is pooped out as pieces of shit which smoothly fit the existing global system although they present themselves as its destruction? Lukashenko recently urged “forgetful Europe” to go through a moral cleansing for the (Fascist) sins of its grandfathers and fathers ; however, the actual intention of this moral call is to get rid of the radical emancipatory tradition that forms the core of Europe. No wonder such calls for moral cleansing lead up to undistilled outbursts of pure destructive rage.
As Peter Sloterdijk pointed out, at the beginning of European civilization, there is Homer’s Iliad which opens with the line on wrath:
“Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring / Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing!” (another translation: “Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles, murderous, doomed, / that cost the Achaeans countless losses.”
Will then the first line of a poem about Europe’s end be: “Sing the rage of Russia’s President Put