Tag Archives | Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky on Žižek and Lacan: Empty ‘Posturing’

via Open Culture:

In this brief excerpt from a December, 2012 interview with Veterans Unplugged, Chomsky is asked about the ideas of Slavoj ŽižekJacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida. The M.I.T. scholar, who elsewhere has described some of those figures and their followers as “cults,” doesn’t mince words:

What you’re referring to is what’s called “theory.” And when I said I’m not interested in theory, what I meant is, I’m not interested in posturing–using fancy terms like polysyllables and pretending you have a theory when you have no theory whatsoever. So there’s no theory in any of this stuff, not in the sense of theory that anyone is familiar with in the sciences or any other serious field. Try to find in all of the work you mentioned some principles from which you can deduce conclusions, empirically testable propositions where it all goes beyond the level of something you can explain in five minutes to a twelve-year-old.

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Chomsky on America’s Increasingly Corporatized University System

Being a graduate of a large educational institution this hits close to home. It also outlines why I eventually decided to forego my plans to work within academia.

via Alternet:

On hiring faculty off the tenure track

That’s part of the business model. It’s the same as hiring temps in industry or what they call “associates” at Wal-Mart, employees that aren’t owed benefits. It’s a part of a  corporate business model designed to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility. When universities become corporatized, as has been happening quite systematically over the last generation as part of the general neoliberal assault on the population, their business model means that what matters is the bottom line.

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Noam Chomsky: A Surveillance State Beyond Imagination Is Being Created in One of the World’s Freest Countries

Photo courtesy of Duncan Rawlinson

Photo courtesy of Duncan Rawlinson

No prize for guessing which country leftie professor Noam Chomsky is referring to in his article for Alternet:

In the past several months, we have been provided with instructive lessons on the nature of state power and the forces that drive state policy. And on a closely related matter: the subtle, differentiated concept of transparency.

The source of the instruction, of course, is the trove of documents about the National Security Agency surveillance system released by the courageous fighter for freedom Edward J. Snowden, expertly summarized and analyzed by his collaborator Glenn Greenwald in his new book, ” No Place to Hide.”

The documents unveil a remarkable project to expose to state scrutiny vital information about every person who falls within the grasp of the colossus – in principle, every person linked to the modern electronic society.

Nothing so ambitious was imagined by the dystopian prophets of grim totalitarian worlds ahead.

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Noam Chomsky and Michel Gondry Converse in ‘Is the Man Who is Tall Happy’

NonFics.com praises Is the Man Who is Tall Happy:

Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? is a profoundly simple film, at least on paper. Michel Gondry sits down to talk with Noam Chomsky and makes it into a movie. The topics include Chomsky’s theories of linguistics, his early childhood, his ideas around the linguistics of early childhood, and a number of other wide-reaching but related subjects. Unadorned, such a documentary would be eminently watchable, if perhaps a bit tedious. Yet what Gondry has actually created is one of the most beautifully complex films of the year, and he does it entirely by way of hand-drawn animation. It’s a meeting of disciplines, one that takes a discussion of language and perception and uses its artistic sensibility to point out that maybe art and science are almost the same thing. With Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?, Gondry has attempted to animate the mind.

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NFL Player Quits Midseason, Citing Noam Chomsky

moffitt

Not that I’m expecting football fans across the country to wake up and question whether they themselves are “pawns in a machine”,  but the abrupt retirement of John Moffitt, as reported by the New York Times, is commendable and intriguing:

“I don’t want to risk health for money,” said Moffitt, 27, who walked away from about $1 million in salary, various benefits for retirees who play at least three seasons and quite possibly a trip to the Super Bowl with the 9-1 Broncos. “I’m happy, and I don’t need the N.F.L.”

In the off-season, Moffitt started reading the writings of the Dalai Lama and Noam Chomsky, among others. They helped him conclude that he was a pawn in a machine that controlled his life.

Moffitt insisted that he did not care about the lost income, and he was shocked that people thought he was nuts for walking away from what they think is a glamorous lifestyle.

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Humans Are Destroying Themselves: Noam Chomsky

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Picture: John Soares (www.johnsoares.com) (CC)

Jana El Hassan writes at the Daily Star:

“Human beings are destroying themselves,” said luminary Noam Chomsky, warning that unrest in Syria could turn into a Sunni-Shiite conflict that would spread to the whole region and eventually lead to a global war.

“I aspire for a world in which my grandchildren can live in peace and I do not see that happening anytime soon. I think that if someone is watching us from Mars right now, he would be thinking that human beings are destroying themselves just like Syria is destroying itself,” Chomsky, a world-renowned linguist and anti-war activist, told The Daily Star.

Although he admitted that the demands of the Syrian people for a better life at the beginning of their uprising in March 2011 were “justified,” Chomsky said that the war-torn country is now heading towards “suicide.”

“The protests were entirely justified, the people could not have predicted that there will be this brutal response, and once the brutal response took place it was almost inevitable to help turning it into a militarized uprising, he said.

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Dr. Noam Chomsky Breaks the Set on War, Imperialism, and Propaganda

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to Dr. Noam Chomsky, philosopher, linguist, professor, political critic, and author of over 100 books, about the Boston bombings, US terror inflicted abroad, drones, Obama’s rebranding of Bush administration policies, the National Defense Authorization Act & Holder v. Humanitarian Law, conventional wisdom, the evolution of media propaganda, and education as a form of elite indoctrination.

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The Paranoia of the Super Rich and Super Powerful

from Stevertigo at Wikimedia Commons

Via TomDispatch:

[This piece is adapted from “Uprisings,” a chapter in Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire, Noam Chomsky’s new interview book with David Barsamian (with thanks to the publisher, Metropolitan Books).  The questions are Barsamian’s, the answers Chomsky’s.]

Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had?

The major energy-producing countries are still firmly under the control of the Western-backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab Spring is limited, but it’s not insignificant. The Western-controlled dictatorial system is eroding. In fact, it’s been eroding for some time. So, for example, if you go back 50 years, the energy resources — the main concern of U.S. planners — have been mostly nationalized. There are constantly attempts to reverse that, but they have not succeeded.

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