“Judging from what is happening in Russia and China, and even Vietnam, communist and capitalist societies eventually seem have one thing in common – the DNA of their dreams. After their revolutions, after building socialist societies that millions of workers and peasants paid for with their lives, both countries now have begun to reverse some of the gains of their revolutions and have turned into unbridled capitalist economies. For them, too, the ability to consume has become the yardstick by which progress is measured. For this kind of “progress” you need industry. To feed the industry you need a steady supply of raw material. For that, you need mines, dams, domination, colonies, war. Old powers are waning, new ones rising. Same story, different characters – rich countries plundering poor ones. Yesterday it was Europe and America, today it’s India and China. Maybe tomorrow it will be Africa. Will there be a tomorrow? Perhaps it’s too late to ask, but then hope has little to do with reason.”
“The first step towards reimagining a world gone terribly wrong would be to stop the annihilation of those who have a different imagination – an imagination that is outside of capitalism as well as communism. An imagination which has an altogether different understanding of what constitutes happiness and fulfilment. To gain this philosophical space, it is necessary to concede some physical space for the survival of those who may look like the keepers of our past, but who may really be the guides to our future. To do this, we have to ask our rulers: Can you leave the water in the rivers? The trees in the forest? Can you leave the bauxite in the mountain? If they say cannot, then perhaps they should stop preaching morality to the victims of their wars.”
Arundhati Roy, Walking with the Comrades
What’s up sir. Hey, wanna go shooting sometime? I’m not actually that good, but my brother and father are pretty good. I’ve seen both of them hit a penny with an air loaded pellet rifle from about 20-30 yards, scopeless. It was a Sears brand rifle too, the kind that leaked if you primed the chamber more than 3 or 4 times (we were really young, and always primed it more, because we were stupid). Anyway, I’m kinda pissed at the Coen brothers, they killed you off before the ultimate confrontation, before the mano-a-mano battle of you vs. Chigurh. You were gunned down by a bunch of trigger happy drug runners; an end totally un-befitting a man so obviously versed in combat and clearly a survivor of some heavy Vietnam shit. You didn’t deserve that.
You should have faced off against Chigurh and you should have, would have, won, but maybe, perhaps, the movie would have lost something if that had happened, I don’t really know, I’m not a critic, all I know is I wanted to see you dismantle Chigurh and affirm all my unjustifiable lone-hero fantasies in what would have been the most spectacular, suspenseful example of that genre to date. A la: “I’m gonna make you my special project”. That didn’t happen, obviously, but I am still in awe of Moss. Compassionate yet cutthroat, invincible yet vulnerable, seemingly omniscient but fatally flawed, he is a perfect hero/villain. Greedy, but only greedy because he is ultra competitive, and skilled, holy hell his skills, his intuitive grasp of situations and implications and real world tasks. He can weld anything, he’s trained in reconnaissance, self defense, short and long range firearms, he’s a problem solver and pragmatic wizard, a man amongst men. A patient, intelligent, unstoppable force of one, just as all my wildest self-indulgent dreams would have it. Until of course he gets Uzi-ed in a hotel pool because his mother accidentally betrayed his location.
So yeah man, lets chill sometime, drink a bud heavy or two and sit on buckets near a campfire in almost total silence (I imagine this would be your choice of activity) and maybe I’ll soak up some of that steely invincibility, that cold and almost impossible ability to focus on the task at hand, and then maybe I’ll quit wasting days on end on facebook, or ‘new media’ sites, or lamenting how much time I waste at said locations. Perhaps I’ll shed my tiresome twenty year old laments about ‘meaning’ and hone in on a skill and do it well, for decades. Perhaps, that is, if you’re willing to hang out.
I’m supposed to ask you out, but, obviously, to do so seriously (or even ironically) would ask of us both…….just too much I think. Not that I’m ageist! I’m not, really, but I somehow doubt you’re interested in an aimless 27 year old whose life experience could be summed up by the question, “what is escrow?” What would be fun though, instead of a capital ‘D’ Date would be to sit down and eat at either your place or my parents house (I’m clearly not a home-owner) and talk. About stuff. Anything really, your take on decades of American history, success, career choices, life, the moon and tides, the fact that most of my generation won’t get to retire until they’re 85 – something with which you are familiar even if by choice.
It is, and I say this earnestly, thrilling to read and/or watch someone like you who continues to enjoy and experience and challenge and be involved with everything despite the fact that our age obsessed society is constantly attempting to relegate anybody beyond the advanced years of 40 to irrelevance, particularly women. Age be damned, gender be damned, socialized conventions and expectations be damned, it is wonderful to see a person absolutely demolish those kinds of imposed and imagined limitations in both real life and scripted roles. Wonderful and inspiring for the rest of us. Like 99.9% of functioning human organisms I think you’re awesome, so just let me know if you want to chill sometime and rant about stuff.
“When a country that calls itself a democracy openly declares war within its borders, what does that war look like? Does the resistance stand a chance? Should it? Who are the Maoists? Are they just violent nihilists foisting an outdated ideology on tribal people, goading them into a hopeless insurrection? What lessons have they learned from their past experience? Is armed struggle intrinsically undemocratic? Is the Sandwich Theory—of ‘ordinary’ tribals being caught in the crossfire between the State and the Maoists—an accurate one? Are ‘Maoists’ and ‘Tribals’ two entirely discrete categories as is being made out? Do their interests converge? Have they learned anything from each other? Have they changed each other?”
“My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.” – Noam Chomsky
After years of reading your books, articles, editorials, and assorted other works, after hours and hours of watching and listening to your lectures, and interviews, and documentaries I thought it was time to send a letter of thanks, and this is it. Your work has kept me company on many bus, train, plane, and boat rides. Your writing has often served as welcome respite from work, a (probably too often) refuge from the press of academic deadlines. I really, earnestly appreciate your efforts and am continuously (and simultaneously) inspired by your sheer productive capacity. Thank you.
Also: as the Kurzweilian singularity approaches I’d like to request that you upload or port your entire cognitive profile onto some sort of electronic substrate so that, centuries from now, when the solar system is ruled by a cypher/cyberpunk collection of sinister corporations the poor, captured masses can take comfort in the measured, logical, inexhaustible words of one of history’s most badass speakers of truth to power. Either that or make sure anthologies are stored in secure places for future use?
I guess that’s it Dr Chomsky. Thank you again.
I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the work you do. I won’t get lost in burdensome policy or socio-political discussion here, but I do want you to know: you, and people like you, give me hope for this strange spatial-temporal quantumly entangled thing called the future.
Dude, what the hell are you doing? Achilles is a demi-god. As in: half man, half god, or actually ninety five percent god and five percent man (ankles). And you? You are just a man. First of all, there’s a gigantic disparity here between the actual plane of being each of you inhabits. He is almost immortal and you are most certainly mortal, despite your fairly impressive war-fighting record thus far. Secondly, why are you fighting Achilles? Because he called you out in front of the city? Seriously man, apply some economic principles here before you rush out to do spear battle. What is the opportunity cost if you get killed, which, statistically, is almost certain to happen? Oh I don’t know, your entire city might get sacked, which (btw) is kind of the reason you’re putting on this ill-advised braggodocio pageant, to avoid the pillaging and subsequent burning of Troy. Quit acting so goddamn dramatic and start being more tactical, get the women and children to safety, hide the most important cultural artifacts, and don’t fight mano a mano when you clearly can’t win. It would be like me challenging a thunderstorm to a duel. “Yeah, but epic conflicts and tragic heroism drive some of the most historical, social, philosophical, and fundamentally human narratives,” you might say. Yes, yes, you are correct, however, have you ever thought that if you didn’t scamper out so eagerly to your death that Troy may have experienced centuries of uninterrupted techno-sociological advances? Where might we be right now if you didn’t act like a drunk, juiced up, v-neck and bedazzled shirt wearing moron? I mean, fuck, do some research beforehand at the very least. What are his weaknesses, what have been his most frequent finishing moves, what is his favorite weapon, likes, dislikes, favorite stories, look him up on the greek equivalent of OKcupid and LinkedIn is all I’m saying.