(This has been a busy week, what with teaching, grading tests, and job hunting. I was hoping to get to this earlier.)
Last Sunday's Chomsky post attracted 34 comments, four of them from hostile Gnoams. Each of the four shows us something of the general level of intelligence and decency found among those who worship at the shrine of St. Noam. Taking them in order:
1. 'southpaw' (= left-handed or leftist or both?) makes some points to which I will return in a later post. They would be more plausible if not mixed with sophomoric insults. Can he really think that everyone who despises Chomsky is sexually dysfunctional? He also seems to think we all spend time "trying to decide if Toohey is more evil than Taggart". This would be more effective if I knew who they are -- as he apparently does. All in all, it looks to me like what psychiatrists call 'projection'.
2. Then we have 'c', whose comment is short enough to quote in full:
"so all you people do is Insult Noam Chomsky...whatelese can we expect from people that have never read him. Typical GOP humps"
Three bits of advice:
a. Learn to spell and punctuate, dude, or people won't take you seriously. Some may even imagine that you were drunk or on drugs when you wrote this.
b. Don't tell lies, and don't make foolish assumptions. Fifteen years ago, I read several hundred pages of Chomsky, and that was quite sufficient to draw conclusions about his honesty. In fact, the experience was so unpleasant that I'd hoped never to read anything by him again. It is only his astonishing success at selling books and attracting sycophantic websites by the dozen that makes me write about him now. Ignoring him has not made him go away, and a less passive approach seems necessary.
c. If you want people to take you seriously, you should probably not use email@example.com as your e-mail address. For anyone who knows anything about the history of the last century, it's as offensive as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com would be. It's true that Marxist slogans and allusions do not yet give most people the same automatic, visceral shudder as Nazi ones, but they should, and in the long run they will.
3. The only remotely sympathetic Gnoam of the four is 'Beth', who quotes at length to show that Indonesia has done horrible things in East Timor, and that the Ford Administration was complicit in them. Too bad she didn't read what I said. Neither I nor anyone else defended Indonesia, or Ford, or Carter, for that matter, or said that these things did not happen. (We'll leave atrocity denial to Chomsky and his fans.) What I said was that Chomsky lies about them. The problem with Chomsky is that he doesn't appear to give a damn about East Timor except as a stick to beat his opponents with. (Has he ever done anything for East Timor except assign blame for its tragic history? Is he going to the independence celebration? Not so far as I've heard.) He systematically maximizes the (very real) horrors of East Timor and minimizes those of Cambodia, Viet Nam, Cuba, and a dozen other places, and he does so for ideological reasons.
4. Worst of all, 'Zack' gets out his scissors and paste and puts 7512 words of Chomsky into my comment section, with 26 of his own for introduction. How about some basic internet etiquette, 'Zack'? Next time, post the stuff on your own site, and put the URL here, or just give the URLs for the sites from which you copied them. It's all Chomsky's words, anyway, and that way you can preserve the original formatting.
I don't know whether 'Zack' thought he was actually going to convince me or any of my readers with this tedious pile of recycled verbiage (and yes, 'c', I've read it all long ago), or whether he thought Movable Type would choke on the huge wad of words and kill my blog, or whether he just wanted to bore my other readers to tears. Perhaps the last is most likely: there has been only one comment in 3+ days since he posted. One of Chomsky's most effective tactics is the use of monstrously long and repetitive screeds to engender tedium and disgust in the reader. Failure to respond is taken as a sign of surrender rather than recognition that there's no point in arguing with someone who will never admit to being wrong, no matter what evidence is offered. (Chomsky gives 'boring from within' a whole new meaning.) Like many acolytes, 'Zack' goes even further than his master and ends up looking stupid as well as rude. I probably should have deleted his comment, but I'll leave it up for now to illustrate the kind of thing General Pejman's anti-Chomsky brigade is up against.
Sometimes I wonder why I bother arguing with such as 'southpaw', 'c', and 'Zack': in a war of attrition, one must avoid spending too much to accomplish too little. Then again, no one ever said an anti-idiotarian's life would be an easy one. As Nietzsche put it, "against stupidity, even the gods fight in vain".Posted by Dr. Weevil at May 18, 2002 11:57 PM