there is one dissenting voice on the blogger left. He believes he has located “a devastating case against Chomsky, focusing in particular on the Srebrenica massacre.”Yes, I mean you, Phil.
Well, I’m on to it, comrade. And I think we are are about to enter the exhilarating territory of a fraternal disagreement.
Personal to ES: let’s not, OK? At least, not just now. After last month’s events I’m still turning down and postponing work assignments, so a fraternal disagreement is the last thing I need. Least of all about Chomsky.
The fault’s mine – I shouldn’t have blogged the damn thing in the first place. I generally avoid the topic of Chomsky because it’s so hard, in two senses, to write about him critically (which has been the only way I can write about the guy for several years now). On one hand, he writes in a style which makes it unusually hard to make anything stick; on the other, he’s got a lot of devotees who will react to any criticism by leaping to his defence as a matter of principle. Oliver Kamm (whom I agree with about practically nothing, except his critique of Chomsky) has evidently got the obsessive dedication and the thick skin which the Chomsky-critic needs. I haven’t, frankly – previous engagements with Chomsky’s defenders have left me drained, mentally and emotionally. And this is, clearly, the last thing I need right now.
So, I’m a libertarian socialist but I’ve got it in for Chomsky. Who knows why? Maybe I was frightened by a generative linguist at an early age. Maybe I just can’t handle Chomsky’s unflinchingly bleak vision of the world. Or maybe I’m not so much a libertarian socialist, more a wet liberal apologist for imperialism – that would explain a lot. Up to you.
But the exhilarating territory of a fraternal disagreement? No thanks, Ellis. Let’s not.
Very Small Update: I feel compelled to note that I own five books authored by Noam Chomsky and one by Francis Wheen (which I haven’t read). I didn’t pay for most of them, mind you.
Absolutely Final Update: Emma Brockes is an ignorant idiot, or at least writes like one; I thought her ‘interview’ with Chomsky was a really dreadful piece of journalism. This doesn’t qualify my own views on Chomsky’s work.