Monday, February 28, 2005

Chomskyites In My Own Backyard

This article in the Jerusalem Post points out some of the Chomskyites operating at my own university. The piece exaggarates the extent of the problem, in my opinion; the professors here are almost universally left wing, but the vast majority are not anti-Zionist radicals. The individuals cited here are certainly the right suspects, though. I know Neve Gordon vaguely and had a class with Oren Yiftachel. Gordon is a fool, one of the most fantastically unintelligent people I've ever met in my life; his radicalism is merely a desperate defense against his own mediocrity. Yiftachel is a smart guy but utterly consumed by his ideology. He is certainly anti-Zionist and occasionally flirts with anti-semitic rhetoric, particularly in regard to his understanding of Jewish history, which is, to say the least, limited. I've had a few conversations with him (he seemed to want to convert me to his point of view) and while he's always unfailingly polite, he's a classically close-minded individual, he seems to go deaf when you say anything he disagrees with. Such is the price, I imagine, of Chomsyite surities.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I'm Fine

To anyone who's worried or interested. I was not anywhere near Tel Aviv the other night. Obviously, I'm hugely disappointed and discouraged, although I should have expected that something like this would happen. Perhaps I've allowed myself to become more optimistic than I realized. However, I'm not despairing yet; we'll have to see how things play out over the next few days. Here's hoping.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Requiem for Raul Duke

On my last flight back to Israel from the States, I picked up a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at Logan Airport and finished it an hour before we touched down in Tel Aviv. I think my fellow passengers were convinced I was insane, because I could not stop laughing out loud every few minutes for the entire flight. It is hands down one of the funniest and most fearlessly savage (to use a term adored by its author) books I have ever read. Although I obviously have little sympathy for Hunter S. Thompson's politics, and, as someone who can't smoke a joint without vomiting, I have difficulty relating to the lifestyle of someone who ingested unique chemical variations on the secretions of the peneal glands of the South African iguana on a semi-regular basis; I am nonetheless convinced that his suicide marks the passing of a unique American talent and one of the best and most original writers of the second half of the twentieth century. Rest in peace, you beautiful psychopath; too wierd to live, too rare to die.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Happiness Is

...sitting around on a Saturday listening to Beethoven's piano sonatas and witnessing a couple of Chomskyites getting a good shellacking. Check it out, one of the participants is a certain John Summers, with whom I had a brief email exchange on this very subject. He goes off the deep end at one point in really spectacular fashion. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Expectorating Churchill

There's a very interesting post over at The American Spectator on the Ward Churchill phenomenon. I don't agree with all of it, but it makes a very good point about how the term"academic freedom" is now used to conceal a multitude of sins; lying, stupidity, and intellectual tyranny not least among them. Check it out.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Chomsky Defends Treason, Again

I must say, I'm having a ball watching the public crucifixion of Ward Churchill. I've been waiting for awhile to see if the assundry frauds, petty tyrants, and would-be revolutionaries that have infested the American university system would ever get their comeuppance; and I'm gratified to see this blubbering excuse for an intellectual, who has no doubt committed many a public crucifixion of his own on students who dared to question his beliefs, being forced to sweat it out in the public eye.

As I expected, the good professor and erstwhile subject of this blog has weighed in on the subject, praising Churchill's scholarship as "excellent, penetrating and of high scholarly quality" an opinion which seems to be shared by Churchill himself and disputed by almost everybody else. Its not surprising to me that Chomsky is in Churchill's corner, since there doesn't seem to be much light between their respective ideologies. They both embrace the US as Nazi Germany trope (a position I consider tantamount to Holocaust denial) and advocate the violent overthrow of the US government, although Chomsky does seem to be a bit smarter about how he goes about saying so. They seem to share career paths as well, both of them being completely unqualified rhetorical arsonists who have achieved their position by saying disgusting things about subjects in which they hold no credentials and by bullying anyone who dares to contradict them, although I don't think Chomsky's ever been dumb enough to try to fake his own ancestry (although one could see his anti-semitism as an attempt to formulate a non-Jewish identity, but that's a subject for another time).

I think I should be clear on what I think about Churchill's possible dismissal; firstly, I absolutely support his right to spew all the venom he wants to (although I strongly doubt he would support mine to do the same), but I do not believe he has an inalienable right, constitutional or otherwise, to academic tenure and a university position. Now, I don't support universities summarily dismissing anyone who's views they don't care for, but Churchill goes well beyond that. What he is advocating is treason, and no university is required to give succor to such elementary forms of political evil, any more than they are required to retain a professor of neo-Nazi sympathies or one who thinks the world is flat (and yes, I consider Churchill morally and intellectually comparable to a Nazi or a flat earther; in fact, he seems to be a somewhat farcical synthesis of the two). Most ironically, it seems clear to me that Churchill was not hired in spite of his radicalism but because of it, and it would be a marvelous act of divine justice if that same radicalism results in removal from his clearly much undeserved position.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

My Own Remembrance of Things Past

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it here, but I played semi-professional blues guitar for about five years in Boston (more semi- than professional). I've written a few things about that time, and I hope at some point to put them together into a memoir of sorts. I've posted a brief piece at the other blog, so if you're interested in some very non-Chomsky stuff of mine, enjoy.