Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Zizek and Borat!
The necessity of ‘secret clauses’ is part of communication itself. In a scene from Break Up, the nervous Vince Vaughn angrily reproaches Jennifer Anniston: ‘You wanted me to wash the dishes, and I’ll wash the dishes – what’s the problem?’ She replies: ‘I don’t want you to wash the dishes – I want you to want to wash the dishes!’ This is the minimal reflexivity of desire, its ‘terrorist’ demand: I want you not only to do what I want, but to do it as if you really want to do it. This brings us to civility: an act of civility is precisely to feign that I want to do what the other asks me to do, so that my complying with the other’s wish does not exert pressure on him/her. The film Borat is at its most subversive not when the hero is simply rude and offensive (for our Western eyes and ears, at least) but, on the contrary, when he desperately tries to display civility. During a dinner in an upper class house, he asks where the toilet is, goes there and then returns with his shit carefully wrapped in a plastic bag, asking the hostess in a hushed voice where he should put it. This is a model metaphor for a truly subversive political gesture: not throwing shit at those in power, but bringing those in power a bag of shit and politely asking them how to get rid of it.