4.10.2006

Noam Friggin' Chomsky tonight

7pm, Englert Theater, free. First come first served, doors open at 6.

“Chomsky is a global phenomenon . . . perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet.” — New York Times Book Review

"The number one public intellectual." -- Foreign Policy

"America's most useful citizen." -- Boston Globe

"It is possible that if the United States goes the way of nineteenth-century Britain, Chomsky's interpretation will be the standard among historians a hundred years from now." -- New Yorker

"Without question, the most devious, the most dishonest and -- in this hour of his nation’s grave crisis – the most treacherous intellect in America belongs to MIT professor Noam Chomsky." -- David Horowitz

8 comments:

possum said...

I am so jealous I could spit.

Grendel said...

Possum and others who can't be there. What would you ask him? He may do a Q&A. If I can steel my nerves enough, I'll ask him the best question someone comes up with.

MSF said...

I got there at just past six and the line was already stretched back past the house of aromas, and at least five people thick. By this I mean if someone actually managed to get in, please, please, do a nice long post and tell us what he said. Thanks!

Grendel said...

I don't have the energy left for a long post, but he was good. The talk was about human rights, and how the US exempts itself from the important parts of international law. The Rights of the Child have been ratified by every country in the world except the US and Somalia. "And that's because Somalia doesn't have a government." Standard Chomsky stuff, that is to say, really incisive critiques of the obvious things that Crackerstan is doing in the world and to its citizens. Talked about MLK and how the civil rights movement really did change things, and that can happen again. A lot of the things he says are just so shocking and demoralizing, and yet he really has a positive message: We live in the freest country in the world, and there are few constraints on us with regard to changing things if we want to. The problem is the system is set up to make you think it's impossible, even though it isn't. A lot of withering media crit -- Iraq war is covered "at about the level of a high school paper covering a football game." What's the score? Who's injured? Did the coach make a mistake? He took several questions in the end, maybe the most interesting was "What do you think really happened on 9/11/"? He is skeptical about government complicity. And I have to go now and get pizza.

Trevor Jackson said...

Grendel's got most of it dead to rights. The tone of the questions during the Q&A session was just so desperate, and I was right there with them after the litany of examples of why the U.S. doesn't support UN-sanctioned civil, economic, or cultural rights and why the U.S. doesn't have to. The questions: "Why are people so afraid?" "Should I trust the Democrats?"

One of the more interesting responses--and maybe expected after the 9/11 question--was whether Chomsky thought the 2004 election was stolen, Diebold voting, voter rolls, &c. His response? "There was no election." We need to do the work in the primaries, he was saying, to prevent this choice between two sides of the same coin. A tall order, but not hopeless.

One last point that floored me: "political" support for a policy, like say national health care for all, does not equal "public" support as revealed by polls. Public support doesn't influence policy. The "political" equals "corporate." Depressing stuff.

Grendel said...

Yeah, the stuff about our "elections" was probably the most distressing to me. Both parties are "far to the right of the public on a wide range of issues." Every four years our democracy is turned over to the public relations industry, who sell candidates the way they sell toothpaste the rest of the cycle, and we have an "extravaganza" but the choice is like Colgate vs. Crest. The public is so cynical about elections that deceit and deluding are simply presupposed in election coverage in the media. Will this get him votes or cost him votes? No one in the media would ask, "Does he really believe that?" It's understood that our politicians are lying at every turn, because advertising is lying. "The purpose of advertising is to disrupt the free market through deceit and deluding. We all know this." Then when election fraud such as 2000's stolen election is mentioned, people shrug, because on some level they know very well it's all an empty sham. That's what he meant by "There was no election."

the plunge said...

Fuck, man. I should have stayed an extra year so I could've seen that.

gillymonster said...

Word on the street is that there was a recording made at the Englert. Anyone know the details? T and I were at birthing class learning about the gadgets Docs use during birth and delivery, and this prevented us from Chomskian elightenment. Or it is a convenient excuse to have avoided that crazily overbooked venue. Please share what you know about a broadcast, podcast, webcast, or etc.