Thursday, July 01, 2010

Gnome Chomsky 8: The plot thickens

For those of you who don't know what a Slip n' Slide is, it's time to trade your Noam Chomsky and pinot for some brisket and sweet tea, son! - August West
The supermodel Elle Macpherson says that Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent was "a book that changed me". Interesting. How did this change manifest itself? The tome argues that the dominating cultural environment called the media is an infernal, insatiable machine that exists only to perpetuate its own commercial interests. Maybe Macpherson decided that, since she was in the game herself, she could flog expensive scanties safe in the knowledge that her products would be publicised with great enthusiasm, in order that likable and attractive pictures of her could be reproduced. Such as this one (above). A sterling intellectual exercise, surely, and one that's got the business bang to rights. - Deborah Orr
Scraping the bottom of the barrel? This month's gnome chomsky is from Tractor Facts:
For a clever man, Chomsky can be very stupid.
In an interview aired this week on the Iranian state TV station Al-Alam, he said:
We must bear in mind that the US is a very fundamentalist society, perhaps more than any other society in the world – even more fundamentalist than Saudi Arabia or the Taliban. That's very surprising. About half of the [US] population believes that all living species were created 6,000 years ago in their current form.

[...]

It's entirely possible that Ahmadinejad and George Bush are spiritual brothers. It is likely that they both believe that the Second Coming is near. It may be the Mahdi, or Jesus Christ, or somebody else, but pretty soon, everything is going to be solved, because all the glorious and miraculous things will happen exactly as predicted. All religions know this and believe in this.
Surely he doesn't actually believe this? In Saudi Arabia, people are regularly executed for witchcraft and sorcery. Violence against women rooted in fundamentalism is widespread; for example in February last year, a 23-year-old unmarried woman who
was raped by five men after she accepted a lift, was sentenced by the District Court in Jeddah to one year in prison and 100 lashes for fornication outside marriage and trying to abort the resultant foetus
. Does Chomsky really believe that America is more fundamentalist than Saudi Arabia?

And does he really believe that "all religions" are equally messianic, that Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic theology is no different from, say, the views of Michael Lerner or Jim Wallis?

(By the way, I'm not sure where Noam gets his Creationism statistic from. Perhaps from Daily Kos.)

Meanwhile, Polish anarchists have written to "celebrity anarchist" Noam Chomsky condemning him for his apparent endorsement, along with Ken Loach, of Bogusław Ziętek, the Polish Labour Party's (PPP) candidate for President, who they claim is an authoritarian pseudo-leftist, with links to the antisemitic ultra-nationalist far right. (Hat tip Waterloo Sunset.)

In other news: a nice mural of Noam from Philly.

11 comments:

The Contentious Centrist said...

Deborah Orr is one of the silliest writers (Linda Grant is a runner-up, though I fear Bobfrom will tsk-tsk my candour here).

I explained why here:

http://contentious-centrist.blogspot.com/2008/10/deborah-orr-in-recent-editorial-about.html

I do hope, bobfrom'le, that you were being ironic in quoting this female's words in earnest. Her critique of Elle Macpherson lacks the necessary self-awareness that would make her opinion even remotely interesting or shrewd, or relevant. She reminds me of this passage from "The Waste Land"

"Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?" But
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag -
It's so elegant
So intelligent
"What shall I do now? What shall I do?"
I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street
"With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?
"What shall we ever do?"
The hot water at ten.
And if it rains, a closed car at four.
And we shall play a game of chess,
Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door."

Judeosphere said...

The satirical publication The Onion just published this piece,"Exhausted Noam Chomsky Just Going To Try And Enjoy The Day For Once."

Excerpt:

Describing himself as "terribly exhausted," famed linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky said Monday that he was taking a break from combating the hegemony of the American imperialist machine to try and take it easy for once.

According to sources close to the thinker, Chomsky also considered taking time to "plop down on the couch in [his] boxers and watch TV," but grew suddenly enraged when The Price Is Right came on, commodifying the lie of American consumer satisfaction in a pseudo- entertainment context.

"Just change the channel, just relax and switch to something that isn't mindless pabulum for the masses," said Chomsky, reaching for the remote control. "No need to get furious."

Chomsky, who often defines himself as a libertarian socialist, then changed the channel to ESPN, taking a moment to acknowledge the role of professional sports as a "weapon of mass distraction," keeping the American people occupied with trivial competitions so they do not focus on opposing the status quo with grassroots movements against foreign and domestic policies that ultimately harm them.

bob said...

Actually, I can't stand Debroah Orr, but love Linda Grant. I thought what Ms Orr said about Elle here is elitist, self-congratulatory and incoherent. I'd much rather hang out with Elle McPherson than Deborah Orr.

I love the Onion piece!

modernity said...

Very funny, what an arse Chomksy is....

The Contentious Centrist said...

Yes I know you all like Linda Grant but I can't stand her. She talks a lot about food and cloths which is perfectly fine with me as I like both but when she ventures into criticism of Israel or Jews she reveals a terrible shallowness wrapped in smugness with a self-righteous bow.

This is one example:

http://blog.z-word.com/2010/06/the-gaza-flotilla-and-the-exodus/

And here is another:

http://contentious-centrist.blogspot.com/2008/09/shooting-from-hip-is-idiom.html

Sorry, Bob.

bob said...

I like that "you all". Me and my ilk...

Noga said...

Not ilk, Bob. Just you all :)

bob said...

Oh, like in the South: "y'all"?

By the way, have you read any of Ms Grant's novels?

Noga said...

I found she was a novelist AFTER I read some of her articles in the Guardian and some of her comments on Engage. It was too late after that to try reading her fiction with any semblance of patience. I could try, but will you be able to suffer my untempered criticism of it? Harold Bloom says that books are always much wiser than their authors so there is a chance there...

bob said...

Well, I'd recommend Cast Iron Shore and (riskier, because about Israel and Zionism), When We Lived in modern Times. I read and loved those before I knew her as a political commentator!

Anonymous said...

Evolution is less accepted in the Muslim world than it is in the US (http://bit.ly/ccH7lu), so it's stupid for him to use that as a talking point.

I don't like Chomsky much so I'm kind of happy to see him just lashing out at dumb, religious, NASCAR-loving Americans like this. I guess you have to give him credit for criticizing Ahmadinejad on Iranian TV though.