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Dissident intellectual Noam Chomsky at 90
DW ^ | 12/7/2018

Posted on 12/07/2018 8:27:25 AM PST by Borges

Born on December 7, 1928, Noam Chomsky was raised by Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia.

Though his father was a Hebrew scholar who studied medieval grammar, Chomsky lacked direction through school and university and only committed to the study of linguistics when he took up a post at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1955.

It wasn't long, however, before the young unknown scholar single-handedly revolutionized the field of linguists, his book Syntactic Structures (1957) kickstarting his concept of "transformational grammar" that argued — contrary to the behaviourist fad of the time — that our linguistic capacity is genetic and innate.

Having since been dubbed "the father of modern linguistics," the long-time Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT and author of 100-odd books further made his name for his deconstruction of language in the public realm, and the way words have helped wage war and consolidate political power.

Inspired by anarchist and socialist writers like George Orwell, in the 1960s Chomsky became involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement, not only as an intellectual critic, but as a participant in direct "activism and resistance," as he called it in a 2003 interview.

"For years, every time I came to Washington, the first thought that came to mind was the smell of teargas, I was in and out of demonstrations, in and out of jail a number of times," he said, adding that he went to jail in 1967 alongside the writer, Norman Mailer.

In 1969, Chomsky published his first political tract, American Power and the New Mandarins, which was a stinging indictment of the Vietnam War and US imperialism.

Many similarly themed books and essay collections would follow, including 1983's Fateful Triangle, which explored the relationship between the US, Israel and Palestine as the source of the ongoing Middle East conflict.

Chomsky tried to infuse his political critiques with important linguistic and semiotic context. Books like Manufacturing Consent (1988) — co-authored with Edward Herman — became a bible for students and activists looking to apply Chomsky's so-called "propaganda model" of media criticism and linguistically unlock the way political and military elites maintain legitimacy.

Yet while the darling of the global anti-imperialist left, Chomsky has faced sustained criticism for whitewashing the genocide committed by the communist Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

"What filters through to the American public is a seriously distorted version of the evidence available, emphasizing alleged Khmer Rouge atrocities and downplaying or ignoring the crucial US role, direct and indirect," wrote Chomsky in The Nation about the unfolding horror in Cambodia.

Chomsky has also been criticized for refusing to call the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre in Bosnia a genocide, again focusing instead on alleged US war crimes that he says have never been held to account. "[It's] certainly a horror story and major crime, but to call it "genocide” so cheapens the word," he told English journalist George Monbiot in 2011 of the Srebrenica Massacre.

Despite such controversies, Chomsky has remained one of the world's foremost public intellectuals throughout his eighties, a tireless advocates for peace (lately in Yemen), human rights, economic equality and climate justice via constant public speaking and media appearances. He has also been an outspoken supporter of the work of Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

"An intellectual and moral teacher and inspiration the likes of which one rarely encounters in the human record," said left news site Counterpunch on the eve of Chomksy's 90th birthday.

The publication contrasted the thinker's legacy with that of the recently deceased George H. W. Bush, of whom Chomsky was a major critic — primarily for invading Iraq during the 1990 Gulf War, and for Bush's invasion of Panama to overthrow Manuel Noriega the year before.

Though the dissident intellectual has been a fierce opponent of US imperialism under both major political parties in America, in 2017 he called the Republican Party "the most dangerous organization in human history" for its consistent rejection of the science of climate change.

"Has there ever been an organization in human history that is dedicated, with such commitment, to the destruction of organized human life on Earth?” he said in an interview with Amy Goodman of the Democracy Now news program after President Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement.

While nonagenarian Chomsky might no longer be protesting on the front lines, his words have not lost their impact.


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: chomsky; communist; communistpervert; creepyegotist; demagogue; deutschewelle; dnctalkingpoint; dnctalkingpoints; liar; mediawingofthednc; noamchomsky; nonplayercharacter; nonplayercharacters; npc; npcs; partisanmediashills; philadelphia; presstitutes; scumbag; smearmachine; socialist; totalitarian
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Man how some keep going and going...
1 posted on 12/07/2018 8:27:25 AM PST by Borges
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To: Darksheare

Ping.


2 posted on 12/07/2018 8:28:23 AM PST by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: Borges

Please tell me this is his obituary!


3 posted on 12/07/2018 8:29:17 AM PST by Redleg Duke (Disarming Liberals...Real Common Sense Gun Control!)
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To: Borges

Darn. I thought this was an obit. Guess not.


4 posted on 12/07/2018 8:29:37 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (If White Privilege is real, why did Elizabeth Warren lie about being an Indian?)
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To: Borges

Assuming the title should read “dead at 90” not that he turned 90. The first is encouraging, the second disappointing.


5 posted on 12/07/2018 8:30:03 AM PST by nickedknack
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To: Borges

Good old chumpsky; first encountered him when he was a linguist at MIT and I was studying linguistics at Wheaton. He had a novel approach, I thought, in that it was loosey-goosey psychobabble linguistics which I had no use for.


6 posted on 12/07/2018 8:31:26 AM PST by Migraine
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To: Borges

Dang. I got excited for a moment thinking this might be an obituary for that old scumbag.


7 posted on 12/07/2018 8:32:25 AM PST by MeganC (There is nothing feminine about feminism.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Same here. I was ready to celebrate.


8 posted on 12/07/2018 8:32:28 AM PST by Slyfox (Not my circus, not my monkeys)
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To: Borges

Not dead yet


9 posted on 12/07/2018 8:34:33 AM PST by Lurkinanloomin (Natural Born Citizen Means Born Here of Citizen Parents__Know Islam, No Peace - No Islam, Know Peace)
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To: nickedknack

I was happy then not so happy.


10 posted on 12/07/2018 8:35:09 AM PST by shelterguy
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To: Borges

Saw him twice in the late 80s. His talks were complicated hairballs of conspiracy with gaps that leftists would easily fill with evil intent and class warfare. At that time, Henry Kissinger was his bête noire

He’s a bit like Michael Moore (although less popular), in that he appeals to strident leftists who want to believe anything that supports their world-view.


11 posted on 12/07/2018 8:35:18 AM PST by PGR88
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To: ClearCase_guy

Me too!.....


12 posted on 12/07/2018 8:37:22 AM PST by Red Badger (We are headed for a Civil War. It won't be nice like the last one....................)
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To: PGR88

Michael Moore? The founding member of the Film And Television Big Actors Guild?................


13 posted on 12/07/2018 8:39:06 AM PST by Red Badger (We are headed for a Civil War. It won't be nice like the last one....................)
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To: Migraine

He was a crazed loon that even the left had no use for until Reagan became POTUS.

Then Chomsky became a useful tool in the progressives’ quest in damaging common sense and reason.


14 posted on 12/07/2018 8:41:49 AM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: ClearCase_guy

At first glance I thought I saw the word “dead” in that title.

I don’t want to read the story, as it’s probably a puff piece. He’s a darling of the leftist media.


15 posted on 12/07/2018 8:42:18 AM PST by Deo volente ("Our Independence Day is at hand, and it arrives finally on November 8th." Donald Trump)
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To: Migraine

This devolved into “New Journalism.”


16 posted on 12/07/2018 8:42:57 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (Baseball players, gangsters and musicians are remembered. But journalists are forgotten.)
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To: Borges

“Man somehow kept going and going...”

And now he’s gone...to Hades, I trust.


17 posted on 12/07/2018 8:44:33 AM PST by VietVet
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To: Borges

Nim Chimpsky and Paul Erlich...two loons from the past, still chattering their nonsense 50 years after their sell by date.


18 posted on 12/07/2018 8:44:51 AM PST by Regulator
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To: VietVet

He’s not gone. This isn’t an obit.


19 posted on 12/07/2018 8:45:09 AM PST by Borges
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To: VietVet

D**N! He’s not dead YET?!?


20 posted on 12/07/2018 8:47:07 AM PST by VietVet
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