Have you ever woken up in the morning, gotten dressed, looked yourself in the mirror before setting out to work on demolishing women’s rights, hating poor people via cruel policy decisions, and denying basic climatological facts and thought, “Man, you know what, I’m a huge gaping asshole”?
I found a random address in LA, which happened to be a McDonalds location, and wrote them a letter – the text of WH Auden’s To Their Lonely Betters , 1950 (a poem I’ve actually posted on here before).
“As I listened from a beach-chair in the shade
To all the noises that my garden made,
It seemed to me only proper that words
Should be withheld from vegetables and birds.
A robin with no Christian name ran through
The Robin-Anthem which was all it knew,
And rustling flowers for some third party waited
To say which pairs, if any, should get mated.
Not one of them was capable of lying,
There was not one which knew that it was dying
Or could have with a rhythm or a rhyme
Assumed responsibility for time.
Let them leave language to their lonely betters
Who count some days and long for certain letters;
We, too, make noises when we laugh or weep:
Words are for those with promises to keep.
Hope everyone has a great day today, cheers.
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.