A snobbish idiot goes to an expensive restaurant and, when asked by the waiter: “Hors d’oeuvre?,” he replies: “No, I am not out of work, I earn enough to be able to afford to eat here!” The waiter then explains he means the appetizer and proposes raw ham: “Du jambon cru?” The idiot replies: “No, I don’t believe it was ham I had the last time here. But OK, let’s have it now – and quickly, please!” The waiter reassures him: “J’ai hâte de vous servir!” to which the idiot snaps back: “Why should you hate to serve me? I will give you a good tip!” And so on, till finally the idiot gets the point that his knowledge of French is limited; to repair his reputation and prove that he is a man of culture, he decides, upon his departure late in the evening, to wish the waiter good night not in French – “Bonne nuit!” afraid that something might go wrong again, but in Latin: “Nota bene!”
Do most of the dialogues in philosophy not function in a similar way, especially when a philosopher endeavors to criticize another philosopher? Is not Aristotle’s critique of Plato a series of “Nota bene!” not to mention Marx’s critique of Hegel, etc., etc.? (7)
Žižek, Slavoj. Žižek’s jokes: (did you hear the one about Hegel and negation?). Ed. Audun Mortensen. The MIT Press. 2014.