Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

‘A man of many parts’

I had to read this page* twice before deciding whether to thumb it up or down. The problem: author intrusion. Not content to interview Noam Chomsky, the author found it necessary to preface the interview with a prejudicial and slighting commentary in which his opinion on Chomsky’s political writing is presented as indisputable fact.

Noam Chomsky

At age 86, Noam Chomsky remains one of the world’s most respected linguists and political commentators.
[ Image Source ]

To refer to a significant fraction of Chomsky’s writings as “useful political slop” strikes me, as someone who’s read a fair portion of those writings, as glib and unjust. It appears to me that certain specimens of Chomsky’s work — particularly such analytical works as Necessary Illusions — represent significant expressions of original thought that today seem commonplace only because their power and reach have made them so: Everyone examining the issues in question now does so through a Chomskian lens, and if one doesn’t realize who built that lens, it is easy to think it was somehow just there.

Once one gets past the introduction, however, the page settles into its fundamental form as a lively if sometimes disputatious interview. For this interview, despite the page’s flaws, I do recommend reading it.

*Originally published as a review of a interview with Noam Chomsky.

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