When I first picked up Chomsky’s new book, HOPES AND PROSPECTS, I was annoyed by all the routine whitey- and America-bashing. Like he wasn’t content with just laying out the depressing facts, he had to tell me how to feel about them every other sentence. Like he didn’t trust me to come to the right conclusions re: genocide being bad.
It just seemed like filler . . .but eventually I realized: these random whitey-bashing comments were JOKES.
Dude was snapping!
Once I figured that out, the whole book started to make more sense. The whole book was just full of the most devastating snaps, put-downs, busts
, burns, rips, and caps.
Noam Chomsky is famous for his achievements in linguistics, as well as his political activism. But I think that future generations will revere him for a THIRD reason: his snap powers. Chomsky snaps harder than three black trannies with flexible necks at a Rennisance Faire.
The fact that his snaps – as magnificient as they are – are so often overlooked is attributable to three things:
1) massive media coverup organized by a notoriously snap-averse The Man
2) the fact that PC fuckers have no sense of humor.
3) Chomsky generally inserts his snaps right after the most depressing, terrifying declarations, so that they barely register in your conscious mind : he’s using his linguistics powers to do subliminal snaps! You just feel really bad, and you think that it’s because you just read a long-supressed quote of a former USA president calling for genocide of Indian tribes, but it’s actually because you got madd snapped on by the Master, and your feelings are madd hurt.
Don't believe me? Judge for yourself:
On James Madison and the Native Americans:
Madison said, “With our Indian neighbors, the just and benevolent system continued towards them has also preserved peace and is more and more advancing habits favorable to their civilization and happiness.”
How this was to happen after they were expelled and exterminated, as frankly acknowledged by the perpetrators, he did not say.
On President Adams and Native Americans:
President John Quincy Adams lamented the fate of “that hapless race of native Americans, which we are exterminating with such merciless and perfidous cruelty, among the heinous sins of this nation, for which I believe God will one day bring to judgement” – Earthly judgement is nowhere in sight.
On American Imperialism:
President Theodore Roosevelt informed a group of white missionaries that, “The expansion of the peoples of white, or European, blood during the past four centuries. . . has been fraught with lasting benefit to most of the peoples already dwelling in the lands over which the expansion took place.” In short, we are “in reality their benefactors,” despite what Native Americans, Africans, Filipinos, and other beneficiaries mistakenly believe.
On the Spanish Conquistadors:
The Spanish humanitarians sternly admonished: “If you do not (meet your obligations in this way, then) we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can. . . and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this war shall be your fault, and not that of their Highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us “ – sentiments that resonate to the present.
On the American attempts to overthrow Castro:
There are to be sure critics who hold that our efforts to bring democracy to Cuba have failed, so we should turn to other ways to “come over and help them.” How do these critics know that the goal was to bring democracy? There is evidence: so our leaders proclaim. There is also counter-evidence: the rich internal record of planning and the events themselves, but all of that can be dismissed as just more of the ‘abuse of reality.’
On ‘the salt water fallacy’:
If the Mississippi were as wide and salty as the Irish Sea, Western expansion would have been imperialism. From Washington to Lodge, those engaged in the enterprise had a clearer grasp.
On America saying “We had to invade Florida because the runaway slaves and Indians there were all British agents.”:
As Adams knew well, Britain was posing no threat beyond deterrence of the plans to conquer Cuba and Canada, and in fact was seeking peace with its former colonies. It is painfully easy to think of modern analogies.
On the recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to directly give money to candidates:
The courts had detemined that, unlike undocumented immigrants, corporations are real persons under the law, indeed with rights far beond those of persons of flesh and blood. The law is indeed a solemn and majestic affair.
On USA demanding that Iran not make nukes:
We might also recall that France and Britain played the crucial role in development of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, and that US neocons strongly advocated nuclear programs in Iran while it was under the rule of the US-imposed tyrant. Imperial sensibilities are delicate indeed.
On ‘pro-free-market’ governments with huge defense budges giving ‘corporate welfare’ to defense contractors who could not otherwise compete in a free market:
In the new century, more advanced military programs provide many other opportunities for private capital to profit from public expenditures. All of this enhances the threat to decent survival, but that has always been a secondary consideration.
On NAFTA, and the fact that it was signed into law by rulers and not voted on by the people, who were overwhelmingly against it:
The “agreements” are not agreements, at least if people are considered to be part of their societies
In the phrase “North American free trade agreement,” the only accurate words are “North American.”
On presidential elections:
What is important is “symbolism and narrative to shape what the public thinks about,” just as in marketing other commodities.
On American Pundits and Bolivia:
Bolivia has forged an impressive path to true democratization in the hemisphere, with large-scale popular initiatives and meaningful participation of the organized majority of the population in establishing a government and shaping its programs on issues of great importance and popular concern, an ideal that is rarely approached elsewhere, surely not in the colossus of the north, despite much inflated rhetoric by doctrinal managers.
On the bailouts:
The chair of the prestigious law firm Sullivan & Cromwell is very likely right in predicting that “Wall Street, after getting billions of taxpayer dollars, will emerge from the financial crisis looking much the same as before the markets collapsed.” Only the naive should be surprised.
On Kennedy aide Arthur Slesinger’s denunciation of the unilateral American invasion of Iraq:
It would be instructive to determine how Schlesinger’s principled objection to US war crimes fared in the tributes to him that appeared when he died, and in the many reviews of his Journals. It is hardly necessary to investigate.
On the optimism which surrounded the buildup to the Iraq war:
We may usefully recall other occasions when enthusiastic partisans of violence were euphoric about the wonders that war would bring; August 1914 , for a classic illustration, on all sides, soon followed by misery and despair over the terrible consequences of their patriotic enthusiasm. Not a unique example.
On how much the US government loved Saddam until he invaded Kuwait:
A few months later Saddam defied or misunderstood orders, and shifted from admired friend to the embodiment of evil. All such matters have been consigned to the usual repository of unwelcome fact.
On the leaked UN memo re: over one million Iraqi civilians – mostly children- who died as a result of the sanctions:
None of this can ever bementioned, even in passing, by those who strike heroic poses about the alleged “genocides” perpretrated by official enemies, while scrupulously avoiding or denying our own crimes, a form of depravity that is not unusual among sectors of educated opinion.
On the Iraq invasion meeting the Nurenburg Tribunal’s definition of aggression:
The tribunal defined aggression clearly enough: “invasion by its armed forces” of one sate “of the territory of another state.” The invasion of Iraq is a textbook example, if words have meaning.
On the decline of sectarian violence in Iraq:
It is attributable to the decision of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Madhi Army to stand down and consolidate its gains – what the press calls “halting aggression.” By definition, only Iraqis can commit aggression in Iraq.
On glowing reports of post-war Iraq reconstruction vs. Russian reports of post-war Chechnya:
If Russians rise to the moral level of liberal intellectuals in the West, they must be saluting Putin’s “wisdom and statesmanship” for his achievements in his murderous campaign in Chchnya.
On the standoff over Iranian nukes, and polls in both countries showing that the majority of people want a peaceful resolution:
Joseph Cirincione, senior vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, said the polls showed “the common sense of both the American and Iranian people, (who) seem to be able to rise above the rhetoric of their own leaders to find common sense solutions to some of the most crucial questions” facing the two nations, favoring pragmatic, diplomatic solutions to their differences. The results suggest that if the US and Iran were functioning democratic societies, this very dangerous confrontation could probably be resolved peaceably.
On the permanent stationing of American troops in Iraq in the future:
The New York Times had reported that Washington “insists that the Baghdad government give the United Sates broad authority to conduct combat operations,” a demand that “faces a potential buzz saw of opposition from Iraq, with its. . . deep sensitivities about being seen as a dependent state.”
More third-world irrationality.
In brief, Iraq was to agree to allow permanent US military installations (called “enduring” in the preferred Orwellism).
On the American media’s reporting of other countries’ elections:
There are virtually no limits to the soaring rhetoric about the marvels of free elections when they are believed to have come out the “right way.”
On Thomas Friedman and Elliott Abrams praising Lebanese elections as fair, because Hezbollah got ‘less votes’.
Like others, Friedman and Abrams are referring to (the votes of) representatives in Parliament. These numbers are skewed by the confessional voting system, which sharply reduces theseats granted to the largest of the sects, the Shi’ites, who overwhelmingly back Hezbollah and its Amal ally. Furthermore, as analysts who are concerned with fact have pointed out, the confessional ground rules undermine “free and fair elections” in even more far-reaching ways than this.
On Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon:
The invasion had nothing to do with “intolerable acts of terror,” though it did have to do with intolerable acts: of diplomacy. That has never been obscure. Israel’s leading academic specialist on the Palestinians, Yehoshua Porath – no dove- wrote that Arafat’s success in maintaining the cease-fire constituted “a veritable catastrophe in the eyes of th Israeli government,” since it opened the way to a political settlement.
On America in general:
The goal of sophisticated business propaganda is to engender fear and hatred of government among the population, so that they are not seduced by subversive notions of democracy and social welfare, while maintaining support for the powerful nanny state for the rich – a difficult course, but one that has been maneuvered with considerable skill.
On the pro-big-business Obama cabinet:
Fellow speechwriter Michael Gerson wrote that “Obama’s appointments reveal not just moderation but maturity. . .Whatever the caveats, Obama is doing something marvellously right” – where the term ‘right’ should be understood in its dual meaning
On the 2010 health care debates:
A public option – essentially an option of Medicare for all – lingered, but came under intense attack on the interesting grounds that private insurers would nto be able to compete with a more efficient government plan (more sophisticated pretexts were only marginally less odd).
The rich and powerful have their ‘responsibilities.’ Among them, the new york times reported is to “provide security” in sourthern Afghanistan, where “the isurgency is homegrown and self-susttaining.” All familiar. From Pravda in the 1980s, for example.
In retrospect – it seems almost inevitable.
Political anger plus genius powers at linguistics = the most powerful snaps ever devised. Although he routinely claims that his linguistics work is separate from his political work, clearly dude's intimate knowledge of the way the brain proccesses words and generates meaning from syntax gives him an inside track to invent newer, bolder, next-level direct-to-your-Wernicke's Area
insults. That's right: I discovered the magic Missing Link in Chomsky's grand unified theory.
Dude doesn’t even have to talk about your Mama to deal damage.
Although, it would be pretty rad if Chomskyan snaps DID catch on in The Streetz:
I could have been Yo daddy but the monkey beat me up the stairs. . . . sentiments that resonate to the present.
Yo mama's so ugly, when she was born the doctor smacked everyone. . . .those engaged in the enterprise had a clearer grasp.
Yo mama is so old that she owes Fred Flintstone a food stamp. . . .It is painfully easy to think of modern analogies.
Yo mama so loose she give out frequent driver miles. . . . just as in marketing other commodities.
Yo mama like a pistol: two cocks and she's loaded. . . . a difficult course, but one that has been maneuvered with considerable skill.
Yo mama's so fat, when she takes a shower, her feet don't get wet. . . .Only the naive should be surprised.
Yo mama is like a championship ring, everybody puts a finger in her. . . . It is hardly necessary to investigate.
Yo mama's so fat, she sat on a rowing machine and it sank. . . .Not a unique example.
Yo mama's like a pool table, she likes balls in her pocket. . . .if words have meaning.
as analysts who are concerned with fact have pointed out, Yo mama's so fat, when she backs up she beeps.
Tags: book review
, noam chomsky