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Whether Noam Chomsky, the MIT linguist and political philosopher, is the most important intellectual alive, as the New York Times once famously called him, is open for debate. But without a doubt, Chomsky, now 73, is one of the most straight-talking and committed dissidents of our time. A steadfast critic of United States foreign policy for decades, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, his profile took a quantum leap as he provided much-needed analysis and historical perspective to concerned citizens throughout the world. In the months that followed, he gave dozens of talks on four continents, conducted scores of interviews, and wrote a book 9-11 that was published in 22 countries and became a surprise bestseller in many of them, including Japan. Chomsky's voice may be unpopular, but his incisive arguments, based on decades of research and analysis, are heard and considered in this chronicle comprised of interview footage, and various talks he's given. Chomsky ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I went to this movie expecting something similar to "Manufacturing Consent", which took Chomsky interviews and interspliced them with interesting film clips to create a compelling film about the power of the Media to shape our perception of the world. Instead what we get is one Chomsky lecture after another interspliced with a Japanese rock song.
Chomsky is not the most dynamic speaker at the best of times, and he is getting older (he's 73) and speaks slower and even more monotone. What he has to say is still some the most revealing and bravest ideas expressed in the United States by an American about the extreme hypocrisy of the U.S. government's foreign policy. But I've heard it all before, Nicaragua, Vietnam, North Korea, that's old news, albeit import pre cursors to events such as 9-11, but this is hardly touched upon, which is what I was hoping to hear.
My biggest complaint with Chomsky is that he is preaching to the converted and the reason for this revealed in the film. He disagrees with the idea of confronting power with the truth because he feels they already know the truth and therefore it's a waste of time. However, talking endlessly to college students who all agree with what you are saying anyway is just as much a waste of time. It's more of the typical academic intelectual masturbation. For once I'd love to Chomsky in a debate with some articulate right wing person and see him dismantle him/her with his obvious intelligence and encyclopedic memory. Alas, until this happens, it's just more of the same, and a waste.
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