The Times Tries to Shut Up Noam Chomsky

Okay, Gray Lady, this is horseshit. An article by Motoko Rich about Hugo Chavez's endorsement of Noam Chomsky's book "Hegemony or Survival" is an attempt to turn Noam Chomsky into just another crazy lady on a bus.

You know how you make a crazy lady on a bus? When she speaks to you, don't answer back. She'll keep trying to talk and look crazier and crazier because no one's listening to her.

Not one comment from someone who thinks Chomsky's book is essentially correct. The facts say he is (although he and I would disagree on the motivation behind American aggression-- he ascribes sinister intent to our foreign interventions, and I think it's unplanned: the inevitable result of human nature and the types of personalities that are attracted to these situations, the "Logic of Empire". But I'm a novelist, and man enough to admit that a professional researcher knows more than I do.)

Click on the "sampler" from "Hegemony or Survival" and we're given two paragraphs of Chomsky's interpretations but not his reasons for reaching those conclusions. Four paragraphs of Alan Dershowitz (insert choking sounds here) deriding Chomsky as being unreadable, but not one word of the book's actual content and not one word refuting Chomsky's facts. (Dershowitz has been shown by better men than I to be a notoriously sloppy researcher and cherry picker himself).

While we're at it, how come the coverage of Chavez focuses on his theatrics and not on his facts? Sure, he called the president a "devil"-- but when I saw the clip I thought, and still think, Chavez was trying to make a joke with a clumsy metaphor. It would be interesting to see an serious public discussion of whether the devil really is in the house. He also called Bush an “ex-alcoholic” who had “a lot of hang-ups” and tried to walk “like John Wayne"; these accusations are all painfully true, and so under-reported by the people who tell us what to think.

Neither does Chomsky defend himself in this hack piece. The article mentions a Thursday interview with the times itself, but no link is provided, a mistake I rectify here

So go back to sleep, everyone. Chavez is a crazy man. Chomsky is an old crank that no one listens to. Nothing to worry about until the next Church commission or the next Oliver North scandal or the next time a plane comes flying from the Third World into Our World.


Stewart Sternberg said...

I have always had a problem with the foreign policy of the Bush administration, which is akin to saying, I've always been disturbed by that ragged open wound running along my neck.

I remember before 9/11 wondering where the hell the Bush administration was on the Israeli issue. I thought: why doesn't he send Powell there and try and get some talks going. But Nooooooo. They had this ridiculous hands off policy. Worldwide.

These people should have been talking to everyone. They should have talked to N. Korea, to Venezuela, and to Iran. Especially Iran. I don't care if all that happens is that the our ambassadors play checkers all day.

I used to play a game called Diplomacy. A friend of mine was a master. The game relies on working with people and forming alliances before you knife them in the back. And one of the things that astounded me about my friend, was that he always talked to people, regardless of whatever the plans were on the table. Keeping lines of communication open were critical for him in this stupid game as they are in real life.

Talk to them.

Talking to a country doesn't mean you are agreeing with its policies. It doesn't mean you are condoning behavior. It means that there is a conduit through which can flow an exchange of ideas and a possible safety valve for international tensions.


Now, I can't say there isn't conversation going on behind the scenes. I am sure the Bushies talk a lot to the Saudies and to his dad's other oil buddies. And when George is no longer president, and joins his father on the board of the Carlyle Group, I am sure he will keep talking to this power elite.

This makes me crazy...

Stewart Sternberg said...

One last comment.

I've changed my mind. We shouldn't talk to everyone. The Democrats should never again talk to Fox News. Never. Word should go out that no one should ever appear on any of those maniacs' shows. The only one who belongs there is Lieberman, who is a regular on Hannity's radio show.

So, while I believe in talking to our international neighbors, I think the Dems need to boycott Fox.

Call me a hypocrite.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

>>And when George is no longer president, and joins his father on the board of the Carlyle Group, I am sure he will keep talking to this power elite.<<

Considering Shrub's track record in business, that would SO spell the end of the Carlyle Group...