Chomsky, Myers and the biter bit?

Sadly, the visit of Naom Chomsky passed us by here on the lofty Northernliness of Slugger. But for a humble linguistics the man had big drawing power. Even Rick O’Shea was there to blog the atmosphere. Much of the publicly expressed comment on his Amnesty lecture (podcast here) was reverent. But one sceptical aside (subs needed) came from a certain Mr Myers in the Irish Times on Tuesday:

Chomsky is a chump – a brilliant and dysfunctional genius, like the autistic child who knows the day of every date in 2001 BC, but can’t explain why we have a calendar. He inhabits a fantastic world, in which cabbalistic covens in Washington ruthlessly control the world, conducting genocides here and massacres there, diverting rivers to cause drought, felling rain forests and driving entire species into extinction. These cabals can do this undetected because they control the media – which is presumably why he got an almost unprecedented two-page interview in this newspaper last weekend.

Since this world view is no more than a vast cartoon conspiracy theory, and since both conspiracies and cartoons by their nature conceal the truth, the very absence of evidence for the conspiracy is proof of its existence. It is, at bottom, a faith, and the messiah and the gospeller of this faith is Noam Chumpsky. And he – like all those thousands of people at the RDS – is apparently unaware that we are all engaged in an epoch-making conflict: the sixth world war is under way.

And later:

Part of Chumpsky’s technique is to ignore the empirically inconvenient. Thirty years ago, despite all the evidence, he proclaimed that all was well in Cambodia. Last weekend, he told his listeners in the RDS that he backed an immediate US withdrawal from Iraq, citing as justification “opinion polls” in Iraq. But democratic countries are not governed by polls, but by democratically elected politicians; and the overwhelming mass of Iraqi political parties loudly insist that the US military should stay until their police and army are capable of defending their country’s emerging democratic institutions. So what kind of morality is it which would abandon the Iraqi people to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an Islamic Pol Pot?

  • Yoda

    Chumpsky’s

    Aw, how cute. Kevin’s trying to be outrageous.

    Wasn’t there also a chimp called “Nim Chimpsky” who was used to try and disprove his theories on universal grammar?

  • spartacus

    myers only demonstrates (as if it needed further demonstration) that he is about as lazy a columnist (he doesn’t consider himself a journalist, does he?) as it is possible to come across. in the face of overwhelming evidence that the entire iraq debacle has been based on a string of lies, and executed with the skill and foresight of a slug, myers wastes an entire column castigating those who have not swallowed the neo-con party line. caricature, innuendo, distortion; that’s all he’s left with. pathetic.

  • Surprisingly few comments in the Irish blogosphere besides Rick O’Shea’s. And even fewer skeptical comments anywhere besides Kevin Myers’.

    But you can find my own take on this extraordinary charlatan at
    http://tallrite.com/blog.htm#NoamChomskyRantsinDublin

    Whilst in Dublin, he provided some wonderful quotes to use in prosecutorial evidence in the future. My favourites are …

    From his Irish Times interview: “… three cases of humanitarian intervention prior to the UN Charter. You know what they were? Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia, Hitler’s takeover of the Sudetenland, and Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in north China. It’s not that the author [Cole] regarded them as humanitarian, it’s that they were carried out with a very impressive humanitarian rhetoric and in fact a fair amount of support in the West, not open support, but tacit support.

    That’s humanitarian intervention.”

    And only Mussolini, Hitler and Hirohito can do it!

    And from his Newstalk 106 interview with the obsequious, fawning, starstruck ex-footballer Eamon Dunphy …

    Noam Chomsky: “Corporations are tyrannies … the closest that humans have come to the totalitarian model.”

    Eamon Dunphy: “Yes indeed they are. They are the twin evils … communism and corporatism.”

    Noam Chomsky: “Yes” .

  • Joe

    definition I read years ago (devil’s dictionary perhaps):
    Capitalism is the exploitation of Man by Man and communism is the opposite.

  • Shore Road Resident

    What’s always amazed me about Noam Chomsky is what a surprisingly poor writer he is. Perhaps his publisher’s editor thinks him too much of a god-like genius to wield a judicious knife (this happens a lot in superstar academia).
    But still, you’d think a linguist would know how to string a stirring argument together on the page without reams of flab, waffle and needless repetition. Even Noami Kleine can write him off the page, and I mean that as an insult.

    Why has such a two-star polemicist become a poster boy for the left? Almost any one of the countless similarly-leaning books you pick up is better written, better argued and infinitely better tempered.

  • spartacus

    for the record, srr, i doubt many people come around to chomsky on the basis of reading what he’s written. most of what is available from him are interviews conducted by someone else. he has written some very useful material on the us-israel connection, and on israel’s dealing with apartheid south africa, its weapons trade with the somoza and other regimes in central america. insofar as he has a reputation, its on the basis of being one of a very small number of public intellectuals in the us. despite a near-total ban on him from the main u.s. networks, he’s managed to draw around an audience over many years. i’ve disagreed with him on many things, but in the stagnant and heavily censored world of american mass media, he is one of the very few dissenting public figures.

    TA: by my reading you completely missed his point on humanitarian intervention.

  • Yoda

    Yes, it is very much in vogue right-leaning circles (ellipses?) to attack Chomsky. His name, his prose-style, his status as “the USA-hating Israel-hating American Jew Noam Chomsky” (according to Mr Allwright’s above link)….

    Not much substantive so far in this thread. The one attempt there’s been seems to me to be clearly missing the point regarding what he had to say about “humanitarian intervention.” By all means disagree with him, but get the substance right first.

    But he’s certainly very good at getting people hot under the collar. Often, that’s more entertaining than what he has to say on certain topics.

  • Mark McGregor

    This is Myer’s analysis of Chomsky? Lazy journalism, name calling? Abuse mixed with polemic?

    Who has their points proven?

    Chomsky is often wrong, he has never resorted to name calling as his argument. He has always stuck to interpreting the presented facts.

    Again we see the best paid dissectors in Irish ‘journalism’ reduced to using playground abuse to counter the arguments of those they disagree with.

    Looks like pretty pathetic stuff from KM. I’m not surprised.

    Chumpsky?

    I doubt Mr Chomsky would counter with a line: ‘ Kevin ‘cockface’ Myers said ……

    Mainly because he and most haven’t heard of Myers nor ever will but more because he argues points and has the ability to bring the argument beyond ‘nah-na-nah’.

    POINT: The one thing that shines through about Noam is like all true anarchists (and the true hopeless idealists of anarcho-syndaclysm) he absolutely believes in the inherent goodness of people (and cheer him on for it). A morality and hope that Myers clearly can’t grasp even the barest element of as he spouts his bitter childish abuse.

    Myers articles proves Chomsky’s points on the failure of capitalist media.

    Chomsky gets down to the basics of life. Good, evil. He believes each and every one of us can thrive if given a chance. God forbid States started believing in the goodness of their own people as he does.

    A secular christ? He believes we can redeeem each other and ourselves but to Myers such thoughts are a joke.

    I’m with the people along with Chomsky. Myers can piss himself make puns and money. Chomsky is fighting on, maybe to fail. He kept at it. Myers used to think such thoughts about the importance of people? Or did I just dream that?

  • Ben A

    I nearly pissed myself reading Kev’s latest, but I’ve always been a fan. There’s something about me that makes me a fan Of Eoin Harris, Kevin Myers and Mark Steyn. I don’t know what it is…

  • spartacus

    mark:

    good points. but did it ever cross your mind that maybe its not such a long travel from ‘totalitarian’ state-worshipping stalinism to ‘totalitarian’ state-worshipping neo-conservatism. he’s not the only one to have made the journey.

  • spartacus

    ben

    of course you don’t know. but everyone else does. you’re a tory and a right-wing unionist. and you can’t write for shit. birds of a feather, all that.

  • Mark McGregor

    Are we talking about me or Chomsky?

    Chomsky isn’t a fan of any nation state never mind the totalitarian kind.

    I believe in empowering people through (anything really) and like Chomsky believe when left alone to get on with it people will thrive and cooperate. Business, enterprise and foreign influence rarely act in the best interests of those beyond the very few in the establishment. Most of our political systems cater to the needs of those that believe in business over people. Few over many. Enforcement over agreement

    I sound like a Prod pastor don’t I?

    Here’s a simple Chomskist concept that I mix up with my Republicanism: What is the point of a unified Republic if people’s lives are just as shit as before?

    (of course, what is the point of occupation when it costs so much is the same argument and one Chomsky also addresses)

    BTW: Back to my retirement, Chomsky was a sure fire way to tempt me out – FU Mick!

  • oceallaigh

    Takes a lot of arrogance for a nobody like Myers to take on Chomsky , like a flea biting the elephants arse .

  • red hugh

    Here’s a simple Chomskist concept that I mix up with my Republicanism: What is the point of a unified Republic if people’s lives are just as shit as before?….by Mark……….
    which leads me to the question for all republicans which would they rather have a united Ireland under the status quo or a United Socialist Republic of Great Britain and Ireland ?

  • Pete Baker

    Mark

    “I believe in empowering people through (anything really) and like Chomsky believe when left alone to get on with it people will thrive and cooperate.”

    “I sound like a Prod pastor don’t I?”

    Well, you do sound naive. ;p

    Human nature dictates that everyone simply co-operates in the best interests of the human race?.. Puh-leaze.

    Not to mention the dichotomy your comment displays when compared with the centralised control-orientated dogma of the policies [that we know of] from Sinn Féin.

  • I was astounded that Kennedy kept the Chomsky feature running on the index page of the web site until the six nations football thingie dislodged him today. My God, have the PD’s turned red? Chomsky has never made it that big with our paper of record.

    There was a bit of a problem with his passport since it had gone out of date for some reason. The Irish Foreign Minister, however, waved that “technicality” and let him enter just the same. Try that yourselves sometimes, Sluggiepoos, and drop me a line from the slammer.

    That Kennedy has never afforded Myers the same exposure is left as an exercise for the student.

  • Pete Baker

    Smilin’ Jim

    Of course, and I know this has been pointed out elsewhere, despite the apparent welcome globally for Chomsky, he remains a resident in the country he has declared a terrorist state.. freely at large.. able to disseminate his views, wherever and whenever he pleases.. accomodated by other states who will waive the legislation relating to entry to their country at a whim.. Such a dangerous individual..

    Rendition anyone?

  • Mark McGregor

    Peter,

    I was discussing Chomsky and elements of his ‘philosophy’ that resonant with me as an individual and Republican Socialist. ( a life longish interest)

    Trying my best to raise substantive and personal points instead of distract down roads of parochial stuff like you.

    What has SF got to do with that/this/Chomsky/me/my thoughts on him?

    Other than you trying to stifle conversation and bring party political bias/BS into every thread?

    Grow the feck up.

    Just because you waffle on about control and dogma from ‘wherever’ doesn’t make it true.

    Just like being a blogger doesn’t mean you do anything other than keep a diary online (in this case put footnotes in another’s diary, you aren’t Mick you are filler)

    Now just like you waffle when it suits you….why don’t you keep the feck on topic?

    How do you feel about Chomsky? Had you heard about him before this thread or you did a swift google? FFS!!!

  • Pete Baker

    Not personal points, Mark.. just addressing your self-declared interest in leaving people alone to get on with it and thereby allowing people to thrive and cooperate.

    Sorry if you felt that by my questions you thought I was trying to stifle discussion.. I thought I was making it more relevant, given your interest in Republican politics.

    Ah well.. Still. I can, as you suggest.. always Google to indulge my inquiries..

    [/end filler]

  • Nicholas Pugachev

    is it just me ?
    N. Chomsky
    A tad over rated.

    I mean what has Mr. Chomsky ever done for us ?

    Well apart from keeping up a constant war against the forces of evil, like.

    but, can he really afford to sit on his laurels

    Chomsky : need to get a new set of gnashers ?

  • Ben A

    Aw, spartacus, playing the man again? As for being a right-wing unionist, i resent thaty. Makes me sound like a Paisley drone, which I bloody well am not.

  • foreign correspondent

    Before this gets too heated can any of the Chomsky fans here recommend any of his books as an introduction to his work?
    As for Myers, he´s one of the world´s biggest hypocrites. He rightly criticizes IRA violence but then goes and slavers over the killing-fields of WW1 and is a pathetic flagwaver for the US Killing Machine, sorry Army.

  • D’Oracle

    I agree with Tony Allwright about the ‘obsequious, fawning, starstruck’ Dunphy-Chomsky interview ; that was so cringe-inducingly god awful that I had to hit the channel changer and miss out on what NC had to say. Chomsksy is a serious heavyweight ; away out of Dunphys league.

    Myers, Chomsky piece is just the latest in a fascinating portfolio; either Kevin’s job spec at IT is to be Mr Contrarywise -to oppose whatever the general Irish Times readers view is of any particular person or situation. If so hes doing great – delivering consistently well. On the other hand it may be that the poor chap is carrying such an amazing burden of shoulder chips that one can almost see him sinking under their combined weight into a bilious morass of his own making.

    My guess its the former ; no one could possibly have so many issues, so much -well, anger, about so many things. Right !?

  • Nicholas Pugachev

    FC: you are so right i have often at the begining of one of Myers, radio/written work bits gone yeah “thats true” this man is making sense….then all of a sudden he looses the plot & goes into insane rant mode.

  • Shay Begorrah

    Not to belabour the point dittoheads but has any right wing intellectual had to have 4000 people turned away from a public lecture in Ireland recently?

    Why could that be?

    Is because the liberal owned and run media conspires to keep us from the earth shattering insights of conservative thinkers?

    Is it perhaps because neoconservatives are shy about their politcial identity and would never stoop to hero worship anyway?

    Maybe since everyone has bought into the PD way of thinking in Ireland there is no need for rightists to proselytise any more?

    Answers on the back of a copy of Manufacturing Consent please. I lost my copy.

  • “foreign correspondent” asks, “can any of the Chomsky fans here recommend any of his books as an introduction to his work?”

    As a definite non-fan, who however believes in the old adage of “know thine enemy”, I can recommend his latest book, “Imperial Ambitions – Conversations with Noam Chomsky on the post-9/11 world” (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0241143330/qid=1138322085/sr=2-2/ref=sr_2_3_2/202-5333351-0542209)

    If you didn’t think he was a lunatic beforehand, you certainly will by the time you have ploughed your way through this handy and readable little tome!

    http://www.tallrite.com/blog.htm

  • If so hes doing great – delivering consistently well. On the other hand it may be that the poor chap is carrying such an amazing burden of shoulder chips that one can almost see him sinking under their combined weight into a bilious morass of his own making

    I agree that he is Kennedy’s kept Contrarian. I also suspect that in defense of his act he has had Kennedy keep Steyn and now Kruppenheimer at arm’s length from his material. Like the million monkeys with the million typewriters, sooner or later every person on the island will gleefully find that Kevin the Bold has trashed their favorite minority stereotype. What the hell, it sells the fishwrapper, doesn’t it?

    It is also all show biz.

    Mind you, I haven’t made a double-blind study of Myers, I rarely read his stuff once I see where the rant is heading unless I am thoroughly familiar with the material and can spot the exact spot where he impales himself.

    Shadenfreunde aside, I have noted a striking contrast in styles whenever he writes specifically for the mainland papers. In the Irish Times he plays the cute hoor but when he writes for the Daily Telegraph he is all proper having tugged his forelock, standing respectfully with cap in hand.

    It works, though, doesn’t it. We are writing about him after all.

  • Harry Flashman

    It’s curious that no one here has addressed one of KM’s major points; that Chomsky gave a clean bill of health to the savagely genocidal regime of Pol Pot. Maybe Chomsky’s fans have their tongues so far up his anal passage that they didn’t notice that bit.

    But then why would they? After all if your particular bag is anarchic anti-capitalism and denouncing liberal democracy then you really don’t want anyone pointing out that your political beliefs were actually carried into practice in Kampuchea in 1975 – sorry Year Zero – and with such amazingly interesting results too!

    As has been said above if the US is the awful, terroristic, evil, police state that the great thinkers like Chomsky, Moore, Klein and all the wankers in Hollywood keep claiming it is; A) why aren’t they all locked up in gulags instead of living in great comfort in some of the best addresses in the US and; B) why don’t they get the fuck out, same as the Vietnam boat people or the refugees from Castro’s Cuba or the Soviet refuseniks? I mean I’m sure they’d love Pyongyang at this time of year.

  • alfredo

    everyone knows that kevin myers is a secret securocrat, planted many years ago in our midst in order to sow confusion and doubt amongst the chucks when it really mattered! now he comes out in his true colours and we who believe in the big effort can see him straight away for what he is!

  • Richard Dowling

    Having read the hard copy of the article last Tuesday, I
    found Kevin’s piece fascinating, especially the bits dealing with
    the OTHER World Wars — Napoleonic, Old Caliphate, etc.
    Seems there were quite a few Masters and Commanders
    claiming our wholesale allegiance, as a divine right, down
    through the years. And mostly all at sea, it must be said.

  • As a person who knows Chomsky slightly – having hosted two intimate dinners with him and a few others before he gave lectures at an American college where I taught – I would say that his attraction lies more in the astract than the particular, and at a distance rather than up close.

    Chomsky touches on all the themes of the anti-West agenda – developed capitalism, the conspiratorial character of politics in developed states, imperialism, the secret aims of the Atlantic alliance, the virtues of the Third World, etc. At first brush, he seems the ideal spokesman, provided he has been quoted correctly, of what critics of the Western world, particularly me, have in mind.

    Yet, when I met him on grounds where he could not control the audience, and the subject, I found him difficult in the extreme – willing to discuss certain subjects, simply perverse about others, and downright rude at times. And I found this behavior completely uncalled since he was being most well-paid, and wined and dined.

    The thing which most stuck in my mind was not his alleged attitudes about the Pol Pot regime, but his response to the conspiracy which assassinated JFK – what I tried to get some answers from him about. Chomsky had and apparently still has the most irritating attitude about it all – it was not a conspiracy, and even if so, it made no difference, and who cares.

    As one who has investigated the assassination, on and off for about the last 30 years, I found Chomsky’s view the most outrageous of all. I would even take Arlen Specter’s bullshit about it first, magic bullet and all. The Dallas killing was the result of a political conspiracy which made a profound difference – what we all should be most disturbed about.

    It opened the door to governance of the world by America’s military-industrial complex but it apparently doesn’t worry, Chomsky, that much in the final analysis.

  • Harry FYI,

    On Pol Pot…
    From this website

    Chomsky and Edward Herman published The Political Economy of Human Rights in 1979. In the second volume of this two-volume work, After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, they compared two sites of atrocity ­ Cambodia and Timor ­ and evaluated the diverse media responses to each. It embroiled Chomsky in an entirely new controversy.

    In a 7 November 1980 Times Higher Education Supplementarticle called “Chomsky’s Betrayal of Truths,” Steven Lukes accused Chomsky of intellectual irresponsibility. He was contributing to the “deceit and distortion surrounding Pol Pot’s regime in Cambodia,” Lukes charged, because, “obsessed by his opposition to the United States’ role in Indochina,” he had “lost all sense of perspective” (31). Lukes concluded that there was “only one possible thing to think” : Chomsky had betrayed his own anarchist-libertarian principles. “It is sad to see Chomsky writing these things. It is ironic, given the United States’ government’s present pursuit of its global role in supporting the seating of Pol Pot at the [United Nations]. And it is bizarre, given Chomsky’s previous stand for anarchist-libertarian principles. In writing as he does about the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, Chomsky betrays not only the responsibilities of intellectuals, but himself”

    The Obscure History of East Timor Lukes makes no mention here of the subject of the book, which is clearly stated in the introduction to volume 1, which is entitled “Cambodia: Why the Media Find It More Newsworthy than Indonesia and East Timor.” It is an explicit comparison between Cambodia and Timor ­ the latter being the scene of the worst slaughter, relative to population size, since the Holocaust. Now if the atrocities perpetrated in Timor were comparable to those perpetrated by Pol Pot in Cambodia (and Chomsky claims that they were), then a comparison of Pol Pot’s actions to those committed in Timor could not possibly constitute an apology for Pol Pot. Yet somehow Lukes suggested that it did. If such comparisons cannot be made without the intellectual community rising up in protest, then the entire issue of state-instigated murder can become lost inside the polemics of determining which team of slaughterers represents a lesser evil.

    That Lukes could ignore the fact that Chomsky and Herman were comparing Pol Pot to East Timor “says a lot about him,” in Chomsky’s opinion:

    By making no mention of the clear, unambiguous, and explicit comparison [of Pol Pot and East Timor], he is demonstrating himself to be an apologist for the crimes in Timor. That is elementary logic: if a comparison of Pol Pot to Timor is apologetics for Pol Pot, as Lukes claims (by omission of the relevant context, which he could not fail to know), then it must be that the crimes in Timor were insignificant. Lukes, then, is an apologist for the worst slaughter relative to population since the Holocaust. Worse, that is a crime for which he, Lukes, bears responsibility; uk support has been crucial. And it is a crime that he, Lukes, could have always helped to terminate, if he did not support huge atrocities; in contrast, neither he nor anyone else had a suggestion as to what to do about Pol Pot. (13 Feb. 1996)

  • spartacus

    Mark:

    You misunderstood my point at 10pm. I was referring to the trajectory of so many journalists in this country (and in England, it would seem)from Stalinism to worshipping at the neo-con altar.

    You:
    Here’s a simple Chomskist concept that I mix up with my Republicanism: What is the point of a unified Republic if people’s lives are just as shit as before?

    I’m with you there, comrade…

  • oh yeah and by use of Chumpsky I’m going to use a devilish pun when referring to Myers from now on, and call him Kevin Fuckwit, ho ho ho aren’t I clever, name calling rocks!

  • joemomma

    Myers is clearly phoning this stuff in, he rarely bothers to check whether he’s just contradicted himself:

    “Since this world view is no more than a vast cartoon conspiracy theory, and since both conspiracies and cartoons by their nature conceal the truth, the very absence of evidence for the conspiracy is proof of its existence. It is, at bottom, a faith, and the messiah and the gospeller of this faith is Noam Chumpsky. And he – like all those thousands of people at the RDS – is apparently unaware that we are all engaged in an epoch-making conflict: the sixth world war is under way.”

    He starts off by accusing Chomsky and Chomskyites of being conspiracy theorists uninterested in the facts, and then without pausing for breath goes on to develop his own pet theory about the “sixth world war”, with no reference to facts whatsoever. (He develops it further in the paragraphs following, which weren’t quoted by Mick.) He’s almost going out of his way to look like a hypocrite.

    Oh, and by the way, the canonical derogratory nickname for Myers is “Kevin Myarse”.

  • Harry Flashman

    PBFXVI, thank you for that information. I had no idea he had compared the situation in East Timor to Kampuchea that finally showas what a complete arse the man is.

    You may try to use a statistical analysis of the number of dead relative to the respective populations – even then I’m not convinced they add up – but to equate the two situations is absurd beyond belief.

    Indonesia invaded East Timor in the belief, on their side anyway, that the whole island of Timor should be united and not partitioned (sound familiar anyone?). There was absolutely no intention whatsoever to anihilate the population there whom they regarded as Indonesian citizens. Of course when the Indos arrived they met with popular opposition and it was in brutal reaction to this opposition that the deaths, estimated this week at 130 000 occurred. However during the course of the occupation the Indo govt developed East Timor’s infrastucture by building schools, roads, hospitals etc. these were the very same structures that the Jakarta supporting mobs then destroyed at the time of independence.

    The invasion and occupatation of East Timor is a serious and ugly stain in the history of Indonesia but to compare it to what happened in Kampuchea following Pol Pot’s takeover is so fantastical that it, and it alone, would be enough to disbar Chomsky from ever again being described as an intellectual thinker – ever again.

    Chomsky merely threw in the comparison in a desperate attempt to take off the spotlight on a situation where a political organisation, the Khmer Rouge, applied in real life his ideology and which resulted in the most horrific genocide – in real and relative terms – since the Holocaust. Chomsky is a clown.

  • J McConnell

    All you Chomskites out there, have you actually listened at length to any of his speeches? I have had the dubious honor of hearing two of them, both about 90 mins long, courtesy of CSPAN and the UW channel on Seattle cable tv. What a load of mendacious political gobbledygook. Nothing more than the Father Coughlin of the extreme political left. An uber pseudo-intellectual preaching to the unter pseudo-intellectuals.

    All you need to know about Chomsky is that he goes to great effort in his public speeches to hide his true political views, the politics of Pol Pot and genocidal Anarchism. For a truly intellectually evil book look no further than After the Cataclysm. All his other works could easily be reduced to being little more than ultra-left wing recapitulations of Mein Kampf.

    He is just a nasty evil little crank who has made a name pandering to the intellectual prejudices of people whose political views have developed little beyond teenage revolt and juvenile contrariness.

    And all those who hold up his academic work as some kind of totem of his intellectual greatness have obviously spent little or no time around American academic linguists, or have done no real work in computational natural language processing. His work is junk. Great for mining for subject matter for pointless and vacuous scholarly papers and content free doctoral dissertations, completely useless for any real insights into natural language grammars, how they work, and how to model them. His dominance in the academic world in the past has been more through his exceptional talents at playing the incredible vicious game of academic politics than through any innate value of his scholarly work.

    Chomsky would have made a great chief of the secret police in a totalitarian dictatorship. He has all the requisite skills and talents.

  • Shay Begorrah

    Benito Flashman said:

    “However during the course of the occupation the Indo govt developed East Timor’s infrastucture by building schools, roads, hospitals etc.”

    Hey Harry, did that noble Indonesian dictators Suharto’s forces by any chance make the East Timorese trains run on time while they were killing betwen a sixth and a quarter of the population?

  • shay… lmao

  • I suppose it’s too much to expect that a thread that begins with an ad hominem article will not descend into further ad hominem nonsense.

    Chomsky is a chump – a brilliant and dysfunctional genius, like the autistic child who knows the day of every date in 2001 BC, but can’t explain why we have a calendar.

    I think the reference to the autistic child in order to demonstrate Chomsky’s status as a ‘chump’ tells you all you need to know about the piece itself.

  • Shay Begorrah

    Thanks Pope, unless “lmao” was a typo for lamo. That would hurt.

    Seriously though, the alternate reality of Myer’s co-reactionaries is a scary place. We can only hope that the echo chamber of web stops them from getting involved in public life.

  • joemomma

    “Chomsky merely threw in the comparison in a desperate attempt to take off the spotlight on a situation where a political organisation, the Khmer Rouge, applied in real life his ideology and which resulted in the most horrific genocide – in real and relative terms – since the Holocaust”

    The Khmer Rouge applied libertarian socialism in Cambodia? They had a funny way of going about it, if so.

  • Harry Flashman

    Hey shay, how about laying off the man playing (Benito) and addressing my points, if you read what I said I made it clear that the East Timor issue was an ugly stain in Indonesia’s history, that clear enough for ya cloth ears?

    Now address my substantive point; that to claim Suharto’s brutal rule in East Timor and the sheer insanity of Pol Pot’s genocidal Kampuchea are just the same thing marks you out as a ludicrous clown of the first order, if you are a ludicrous clown of the first order please tell us now.

  • Cunning Linguist

    Chomsky’s ideas on the development of language are dated. He had his moment once, but instead of retiring to his office and regurgitating some past glories to new generations of bored students, he tries to remain in the limelight. He’s portrayed as vital and important by people who take advantage of his intellectual cache – however all we get is trite undergraduate polemic.

  • Cathal O Foirreidh

    Harry, Chomsky was comparing the media coverage of the killings in Cambodia with that of the killings in East Timor. Thats one of the things academics do: compare and analyse.
    I like your take on the Indonesian invasion of East Timor by the way, I’m sure Suharto himself would be happy enough with it.

  • Shay Begorrah

    Easy there Harry. I never made excuses for the KR yet you seem happy to do so for Suharto because he is closer to your political views than Chomskys. A little bit of self analysis might be in order.

    Anyway, the rich irony of the rightist misdirection on Chomsky’s attitude to the KR is nicely topped off by the fact that it was some genuine dyed in the wool communists from Vietnam who finally put paid to the regime.

    You might think that the commies would be happy enough with defeating the Third Reich. Damn glory hounds.

  • Yoda

    how about laying off the man playing (Benito) and addressing my points, if you read what I said I made it clear that the East Timor issue was an ugly stain in Indonesia’s history, that clear enough for ya cloth ears?

    Oh, the comedy.

  • Harry Flashman

    No Yoda, I wasn’t using comedy I was using irony in my opening lines in order to show Shay how snarky personal remarks are not nice. Try to keep up.

    Perhaps you will point out some proof Shay that my politics are the same as Suharto’s, I will state again just for the record that the invasion of East Timor was an ugly stain on the record of Indonesia. However that it in no way compares to what the Khmer Rouge carried out in Kampuchea in either fanatacism or in scale, no way at all, check out the facts if you don’t believe me.

    Oh by the way at the outbreak of war and for the next two years your beloved communists were allies of the Third Reich as I recall, they had also just gutted the Soviet Army in numerous purges and were supplying aid to the Nazis right up to the day of the German invasion. So let’s not get too misty eyed about their role in WW2, the brave peoples of the Soviet Union defeated the Third Reich DESPITE the Communist Party rather than because of it. The Germans would have had the shite kicked out of them in 1941 had it not been for the appalling activities of the communists and their brave heroic leader Joe Stalin. But then maybe you attribute success in war to the ruling party in each country, I suppose that would make the British Tory party the winner of the Battle of Britain then?

  • Slick

    That yis are all even engaged in this argument shows that Chomsky has created a progressive effect… Critical debate!

  • Yoda

    I was using irony

    Oh, I’m sure you were. Just like Kev, eh?