So yesterday, instead of even trying to get in a few more pages of Perdido Street Station, I pulled out my old copy of Chomsky for Beginners. Anyone read any of the other books in the Writers and Readers for Beginners series? The Chomsky one is pretty good. And it has pictures and conversations. What good is a book without pictures and conversations?
I'm thinking about getting some of the others, like Buddha for Beginners, if they're of the same quality. There's so much I don't know. . .
Links to kind-a-evil-Amazon because they do have sample pages of the books, so they're not totally evil.
Update: Right, forgot, there's a very good reason I picked that book rather than one of the actual Chomsky-written ones:
He isn't an especially impressive prose stylist. His writing can be as dense, gnarled, and forbidding as a blackberry patch, full of fruit you can see but you just can't get to, though Chomsky can also reach moments of persuasive lucidity unmatched in linguistics.
That's from Randy Allen Harris' The Linguistics Wars, and although he was writing about Chomsky's linguistic writing, the same applies to some of his political stuff.
It's easy to see why he sometimes comes across as a bit tetchy, though. The material on the (then-recent) first Gulf War could just as easily be applied to the current one, and the basic themes he's been repeating since the Viet Nam War. I get tired of repeating myself after about ten minutes.
As war with Iraq loomed, the populations of nearly all other democratic nations opposed the war, [Chomsky] said.
An atmosphere of hate was encouraged in the United States, he said. "Administrators blamed 'Old Europe' for getting in the way and ignored that the majority of people in democracies such as France and Germany were practicing their rights."
More frightening, Chomsky said, was that "such a fanatic hatred of democracy passed without comment" from the press or intellectuals.
Instead of worrying about "minor scandals of the day such as the leak" of an undercover CIA officer's name, the U.S. media -- as well as the intellectual community -- should be concerned with "how the U.S. population was driven into a warmongering frenzy," he said.
Yep, same ol' Noamster. Gods bless 'im.
Wish I'd known about the speech in advance, though. Think I could have done a minor road trip Tuesday.
Since, you know, I couldn't see Margaret Cho.
Yes, I compare seeing Noam Chomsky to seeing Margaret Cho. Anybody got a problem with that?