Thursday, October 14, 2004

Towards an Israeli Popular Front

Some thoughts on disengagement

It is one of the oddities of Israeli democracy that the very pluralism which distinguishes it from all other democracies in the world has the paradoxical effect of encouraging and empowering the political extremes. Arik Sharon is learning this lesson all over again, as a determined and highly politicized minority is approaching a decisive victory over an apathetic and unrepresented majority. The Prime Minister's disengagement plan, it appears, is now likely to go down to defeat or be stranded in legislative oblivion; and this, despite the support of the president of the United States, the organizations of the Diaspora, and the overwhelming majority of the Israeli people. This must be of the deepest concern for those who care about the State of Israel and the preservation of her identity as a Jewish and democratic state. Due to the simple facts of demography, Israel will soon be facing a situation in which its ability to remain both Jewish and democratic, and, indeed, its very legitimacy as a nation will be called into question; and there is no doubt that there exist forces within Israeli society to whom the principles of democracy and, indeed, even of Zionism itself, are of little or no concern. Under normal circumstances, the existence of such extremist minorities would be of little concern, but Israel has never been a normal country, and, due to a fateful convergence of historical and political factors, that minority currently has influence far beyond its numbers.

Unquestionably, the primary reason behind this unfortunate state of affairs is the failure of the Oslo Peace Accords and the corresponding terrorist war undertaken by the Palestinian national movement, leading to the post-Oslo collapse of the Israeli Left and the corresponding crisis of faith faced by many Israelis in the face of the political process’s failure to engineer an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict. By an extraordinary historical irony, the Israeli Left’s disastrous gamble on the PLO may well result in the failure of a rightwing government to enact the Left’s fondest dream: an end to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. By destroying the public’s faith in political solutions, the Left has ceded the political sphere to the extreme Right, whose sole possession of the commanding political heights have allowed it to challenge the Prime Minister’s disengagement plan with extraordinary effectiveness. In effect, the political arena consists of a single combatant – the pro-settler Right. If this movement should prove victorious – a very real possibility – then the victory will not be the result of its persuasion of the Israeli majority, but the stunning disillusionment and apathy of that majority, an apathy which threatens, more than anything else does, the fabric of Israeli society. How this came about requires some explanation.

Israel, from its origins, has been an odd sort of democracy. With a unicameral system divided between nearly a dozen political parties, many of them religious, the Israeli Knesset is both one of the most pluralistic and the most extremist legislatures in the world. Extremes of both left and right, including the anti-democratic extremes, are represented, with haredi and Arab parties which do not accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish State. This plethora of ideologies has led to a paradoxical situation in which stalemate is common, but, since they serve as the necessary weight to tip the scales towards one end or the other, fringe ideologies have influence and power far out of proportion to their numbers.

Israel is also one of the most highly politicized countries in the world, with abnormally high rates of voting and participation and highly emotional investment on the part of citizens in their political stances. To an extent, this has been fractured by the Oslo debacle and the following terrorist war. One half of the Israeli political spectrum has, in essence, resigned its place at the table and gone home to lick its wounds; while those who had placed faith in the possibility of that faction to achieve peace through negotiation has, in effect, abandoned it, perhaps for good.

The reasons behind this have everything to do with the manner in which the Oslo Process was carried out; essentially, as an independent diplomatic maneuver by a faction of the political left which, for a time, did not have the imprimatur of the Israeli government. Certainly, there can be no doubt that, had the proceedings been attempted in the light of day, as the Egyptian treaty was, the Oslo Accords would never have been achieved. It was this need for secrecy and the necessity of rendering rightwing opposition ignorant of the proceedings, and thus incapable of stopping them, which was, to a degree, the original sin of Oslo and the source of the Israeli Left’s seemingly total collapse today. The simple reason for this ought to be obvious: the secret nature of the proceedings turned Oslo from a process into a gamble, and a fairly massive gamble at that. Should the process succeed, the un-democratic nature of its enactment would not be an issue; should it fail, as it eventually did, and in quite bloody terms, the political price to pay would be immensely high, as, indeed, it has been. In effect, the Oslo Accords not only soured the Israeli people on negotiations, it soured them on a Left which it sees as foisting a disastrous war on them in disregard of democratic niceties. Furthermore, the persistent refusal of the plan’s architects and supporters to acknowledge their failure and the reasons behind it, and, indeed, the breathtakingly arrogant insistence of leftwing leaders like Yossi Beilin and Avraham Burg on blaming the Accords’ failure on the Israeli government itself, and not on their own miscalculations and misjudgments, most particularly in regard to the personality of Yasser Arafat, has soured Israelis not only on them, but on the entire political process. Israelis, in particular, though by no means only, Sephardi Israelis, have come to see that part of the Israeli elite which manufactured Oslo, the Ashkenazi Left, as an illegitimately influential force which will enact its will regardless of the democratic verdict of the Israeli electorate; thus rendering them apathetic and indifferent to the entire political process.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the territorial maximalists on the Right are belaboring under a similar though opposite misapprehension. Judging the events of the past four years as a vindication of their early and absolute opposition to Oslo, they have assumed a political consensus has formed in the Israeli public not only that Oslo was a mistake, but also in support of their territorial ambitions; a position which is, according to all available statistical data, totally untrue.

It is this convergence of unfortunate factors that has brought us to the current impasse over Sharon’s disengagement plan. As a result of the disillusionment of the Oslo Process, the silent majority of Israelis, even, and perhaps especially rightwing Israelis, who favor territorial compromise, have no faith in the political process and thus remain resolute in their apathy. This has left the political arena solely in possession of the pro-settler Right, which has been both well organized and immensely active but which also, most importantly, believes itself to be speaking for the post-Oslo Israeli consensus against a corrupted establishment. All of this is taking place, of course, against the background of the Israeli Left’s collapse into arrogant and sullen irrelevance and its resolute refusal to make its peace with its old nemesis: Prime Minister Sharon. As long as this alignment of political forces persists, the disengagement plan is doomed to failure.

What is called for, therefore, is realignment such as has not occurred in Israel since the 1977 electoral revolution which brought Menachem Begin to power. The various factions of Left, Right, and religious parties which support or are willing to accept territorial compromise must forego their rivalries and resentments and form a parliamentary bloc against the territorial maximalist minority. This bloc would likely include a majority of the Likud MKs, all the Shinui MKs, all the Labor and Yahad MKs who would be willing to accept a continuance of the Sharon-Netanyahu economic reforms, a sizable chunk of the non-NRP religious MKs, especially from Shas, which has proven amenable to territorial compromise in the past and whose primary concern is domestic welfare issues, and, of course, a sizable group of Arab MKs. This majority would be both overwhelming and overwhelmingly Jewish – thus undermining the national religious charge that territorial compromise can only be achieved by Arab Knesset votes – while still including Israel’s Arab citizens in the decision. Such a coalition would also serve to create a feeling of empowerment and purpose for the silent majority of Israeli citizens who desire an end to the occupation but see no means of effecting one through the political process; something which would go a long way towards uniting an often dangerously divided society and fundamentally delegitimizing any acts of extremist violence which may result from the disengagement process, and which so wounded Israeli society with the murder of Yitzhak Rabin.

What is called for, then, is a Popular Front of sorts; this time not in favor of anti-fascism but in support of territorial compromise and the preservation of Israel’s future as both a Jewish and democratic state and, perhaps most importantly, the continuation of the consensus that a Zionist Israel can and ought to be both.

18 Comments:

Blogger LukaB said...

:)

Your post assumes Sharon actually wants to leave the West Bank.

Yeah right.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Benjamin,
I'm fully sympathetic with almost everything you write but I think you've fallen victim to a certain banality with this post. If you've got the inclination, see my post on disengagement at http://benchorin.blogspot.com/2004/09/so-what-about-that-withdrawal-business.html

Best,
Ben

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chomsky-Haters

Logic and Reasoning: Inside the Mind of an anti-Chomskyite: The Play (Act 1)

B: Have you read Chomsky?

J: No, but I hate him.

B: How do you know?

J: He hates America, he’s a Pol Pot apologist, he thinks the Holocaust never happened, he hates America, he takes things out of context, his knowledge of history is piss-poor and he doesn’t even have a PhD. in history, he hates America, he never says anything good about the U.S., he always supports communists, he hates America, he’s loose with facts and uses questionable sources, and even his linguistics is shoddy. Oh, and did I mention, he hates America?

B: Oh, really? Forgive me for asking, but if you haven’t read him how do you know all of this?

J: Because….uuhhh……well……I….I…….I did read 15 pages of one book once…….and I can tell piss-poor scholarship when I see it. I don’t need to eat an entire pile of shit to know that it tastes bad after a few nibbles.

B: Really? Hmmm, That’s quite interesting. So you got all of this information from 15 pages of one book? Which book were the 15 pages from? I must have missed this one.

J: The book was called 501.

B: And you got all of this information from the first 15 pages of 501?

J: Well, no, of course, not stupid. I’ve gotten some of my information from others who have studied him more thoroughly.

B: Really? Like who?

J: Like Brian Carnell, Brad DeLong, Keith Windschuttle, David Horowitz, Werner Cohen, and many others. It’s so easy to find really great criticisms of Chomsky’s lame-ass work.

B: But none of the people you’ve named are historians. How would they know if they don’t have a PhD. in history?

J: Uhhhh…..well…….uhh…….Anyone can see! You’re being sarcastic! You’re not being logical or rational! Are you attacking me? You and all of the other Chomsky-lovers always do this. You’re taking what I’ve said out of context, just like your hero Chomsky.

B: Excuse me? What are you talking about? I never said anything about liking Chomsky. When and where were my comments not logical or rational? What am I taking out of context? Frankly, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

J: It’s hopeless! I’ve tried and tried to make you understand, but you just don’t get it. You resort to ad hominem attacks and name calling. You and your type, who think they have some high moral authority, always speak condescendingly to those of us who are rational enough to see through Chomsky’s ignorance and his hatred for America. We have the greatest country in the world and everyone wants to come here. They’re all jealous of our way of life and freedoms. The terrorists want to destroy us and all that we stand for in the world. We only help other countries and they don’t even appreciate it. They spit in our faces and we still hold out a helping hand. Chomsky and his ilk are just encouraging the terrorists. He’s a terrorist! He should be kicked out of the country, or better yet, killed! I’m so pissed I can’t even see straight! Where’s my gun? Goddamnit! Barbara! Where’s my fucking gun?

W: I think it’s in the dryer dear……Oh! Here it is. It was next to the bible under your National Review.

J: Shut up woman! Did I tell you to speak?! Just give me the fucking gun!

B: J, are you okay?

J: Shut up you fucking commie! You hate America too, don’t you?

B: How did you come to that conclusion?

J: Well, look! All you’ve been doing is criticizing everything I say. You’ve made countless ad homenim attacks. You’re so blinded by your love of Chomsky that you can’t even be rational or logical. Why don’t you and your friends start your own ‘We Love the Infallible Chomsky’ blog where you can just sit around with each other and talk about how great Chomsky is? This way you don’t have to listen to voices of reason and you can use your sloppy logic to your hearts content. Why am I even talking to you? You don’t make sense.

B: Okay, thanks J. I’ll talk to you later.

J: Barbara! Bring me another beer and those Amazon.com negative Chomsky review prints. I wanna’ study!
END

Projective Test: Therapy with an anti-Chomskyite (Act 1)

T: Good afternoon J.

J: Sorry I’m late. I couldn’t get this dumb-ass Chomsky-lover off of my blog.

T: Oh, you have your own blog?

J: Sure do. You should check it out sometime. Maybe you’d get some more insight into my psyche. (chuckles)

T: Well maybe I’ll just do that. What’s it called?

J: ‘Deep Insight: Exposing the Lies of Noam Chomsky’

T: Wow! That’s a pretty impressive name. You must put a lot of work into it?

J: Not really. All I find myself doing is arguing with irrational, illogical, Chomsky-loving commies who like to make ad hominem attacks on me.

T: But I mean you must have had to spend a lot of time reading and studying Chomsky’s ideas so that you could argue with these folks, right?

J: Shall we start our therapy?

T: Uhhh….okay, sure. Today I’d like to give you what’s known as a word association projective test. I’ll just say some words and you say the first thing which comes to your mind. Try to answer with one word or a short phrase.

J: Okay.

T: Are you ready?

J: Fire away.

T: banana

J: Sandanistas

T: book

J: review

T: study

J: Amazon.com

T: gun

J: love….No! Peace, peace.

T: history

J: memory hole

T: ad hominem

J: hobby

T: terrorists

J: everyone else

T: hypocrisy

J: rap

T: Orwell

J: Citizen Kane Wait! Did you say oil well? Uhh...Beverly Hillbillies

T: logic

J: Huh?

T: TV

J: Martha

T: projection

J: What?! Are you accusing me of projection?! That’s what those fucking Chomskyites are always saying to me. Did they put you up to this?! What do you want from me?!

T: No, J. Just relax. It’s okay. No one wants anything from you. I only want you to continue with the test. Okay?

J: Well, okay. How much longer is it going to be?

T: Not too much longer. Shall we proceed?

J: Okay. Sorry.

T: Chomsky

J: WHAT?! What the fuck are you doing?! You American-hating-commie-sympathizing-Jewish-Holocaust-denying-liberal media loving-Dan Ratherite-60’s were good-anti-gun-pro-environmental-pro-affirmative action-Michael Moore idolizer! You mother-fu*”+*#+!+

T: Yes, J! Yes J! Express your feelings! Open up! Open up!

J: You son-of-a-bit*`”*#*”*#*”*………………………………..

(After about 15 more minutes of “expressing himself” J begins to calm down. He sits down and begins to shake. He puts his face in his hands and begins to cry uncontrollably.)

T: It’s okay J. It’s okay to let your feelings go. Would you like to talk about it?

J: (Still crying) I don’t know what happened. It just came out. I couldn’t control it. I’m not even sure I remember what we were talking about.

T: Well, I said Chomsky and…..

J: You fucking said what?! You goddamn son-of-a-*+”*#+!*”+#*!............................................................

(The therapist pushes the button under his desk to alert the orderlies. Two big men bust through the door just as J starts after the therapist. As the orderlies are helping J into his straitjacket he continues to yell and scream obscenities interspersed with comments about Stalin, ad hominem attacks, and Paris Hilton. The orderlies then pick him up and head for the door. As they’re going through the door his head turns toward the therapist’s bookcase. He sees that there are about 30 Chomsky books neatly lined up. He becomes speechless. He glances back at the therapist. The therapist gives him a wink and says….)

T: Take him to room 501!

J: No! No! Noooooooo…………………………………

END

Preventive War or Preventive Thought?: The Logical Conclusion for an anti-Chomskyite

B: You look deep in thought J. What are you thinking about?

J: I was just thinking about preventive war and how it seems a good logical idea.

B: Really? You think it’s logical?

J: You don’t?! You can’t be that naïve. Of course it’s logical.

B: Please explain yourself.

J: Well, I mean if we just go kill the other people first, it will just save us the trouble of having to do it later after they attack us, and could possibly save many more lives than if we wait. And it’s probably cost efficient. Why would any intelligent person wait? It’s like preventive medicine. You don’t wait until you get the illness before you start taking preventive medicine. Otherwise, it’s not preventive medicine. How much simpler could it be?

B: Hmmm I’m not so sure you can apply the preventive medicine analogy when talking about human affairs and war. It’s a little more complicated than that, don’t you think?

J: Hell no! It’s not complicated! If we know that these folks may eventually do something to us, why shouldn’t we just go after them first? Killem’! Killem’ all!

B: How will we determine who may want to do something to us in the future?

J: See?! This is the perfect example! I can tell by the way you’re questioning me that it’s possible that you’ll probably want to attack me in the future.

B: You can tell that simply by the questions I’ve asked you?

J: There you go again! You’ve just proved my point! You are attacking me! I knew I should’ve kicked your red-ass after you recommended that therapist! You commies are always sneaking up on us just waiting to pounce when our guard is down.

B: Commies?! What are you talking about? I’ve asked you five simple questions and now you’re calling me a commie? You say that I’m attacking you? You say that I’m sneaking up on you? And you say that you should have kicked my red-ass earlier? And you said I’ve proved your point? What are you talking about?

J: Yes, you have proved my point.

B: How have I done that?

J: Well, if I would have just killed you earlier on I wouldn’t have to endure all this pain you’re inflicting on me. See?

B: I’m inflicting pain on you? What have I done?

J: You may as well have stuck a knife into my back you unappreciative, Che T-shirt wearing, traitor.

B: So what if everybody else decides to implement the preventive doctrine? What will keep them from killing you first?

J: Because I believe in God and country and…(BANG!)

(Just then a gun shot went off and J’s head splattered against the wall. Everyone turned around only to see Barbara, his wife, standing there wearing her NRA T-shirt, her Wal-Mart sneakers, holding a 12-pack of Diet Pepsi in one hand and the smoking gun in the other.)

Barb: Sorry, B. I heard what J said and thought he was going to kill you.

(Barbara drops her gun, opens a Pepsi, looks into my eyes and says…..)

Barb: Be sure to vote for Bush!

END


History, Anger, and the Future of Education: An anti-Chomskyite’s Perpective

B: Hey J, how do you like your history class?

J: Well, you know, it’s the same old crap. The professor is the usual liberal type who makes sure to slip in little comments which denigrate the U.S. What happened to all the “real historians?”

B: Like who?

J: Like David Horowitz.

B: Who?

J: You know, that guy who wrote the ‘Anti-Chomsky Reader’. Now he’s a “real historian”. He exposed all of the lies put forth by that damn east coast Jewish commie liberal Noam Chomsky, who’s not even a historian anyway. Why aren’t we using Horowitz’s book in our class?

B: I don’t know. Why don’t you ask your professor?

J: He’ll just give me the same old crap about this not being a very good example of either history or scholarship. This is the same thing I get from all of the Chomsky-lovers.

B: But you can challenge him if you really think that the authors are onto something regarding Chomsky. You should try to show him how accurate the book is and how it should be taken seriously. Perhaps it will be on the required reading list next year.

J: Yeah, right! And I’m supposed to believe that the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein during the time he gassed his own people.

B: Well, we did.

J: See! They’ve gotten to you! I can’t believe it! You fell for it, too! Am I the only rational one on this campus?! Am I the only one who knows anything about history?!

B: What do you mean? Are you saying that we didn’t support Saddam during the time of the gassing of the Kurds?

J: Of course we didn’t support him. I mean, yeah, well, we were selling him guns and weapons, and, yeah, we were doing everything possible to keep him in power, and, yeah, after the gassings we didn’t do a damn thing about it, and yeah, we basically liked him, but it doesn’t mean we supported him.

B: It doesn’t?

J: Hell no! Why would we support a murdering dictator like Saddam? He had guns and weapons, all he wanted was to stay in power, and he gassed his own people.

B: But you just got through saying that we sold him guns and weapons, and that we tried to keep him in power, and that he gassed his own people with U.S. complicity, and that we liked him.

J: Are you calling me a liar?! I didn’t say that! You’re putting words in my mouth! I never said complicity! I don’t even know that word! You’re one of them! You’re one of them! Let me see your book bag! What do you have in there?! (J grabs B’s book bag and begins to look for some kind of “evidence”. He doesn’t find anything of interest.) Where are they?! Where are they?! Where are the books you’re using in your history class?!

B: Settle down J. People are beginning to stare.

J: Fuckem’! They’re all commies, too.

B: How do you know this?

J: Look at them! They’re all just sitting around reading and stuff. Look! Look! See that girl over there? She has Howard Zinn’s ‘A Peoples History of the United States’. Pure shit! Nothing but lies! Zinn takes everything out of context! Chomsky does the same! They’re liars, and these professors, who supposedly study history and know what they’re talking about, allow their students to read this vulgar propaganda! See?! Can’t you see?! Are you really that blind?! There are signs all over the place that this country is going to hell. And it’s because these liberal teachers are letting their students read shit like Zinn, Chomsky, Said, and all the others!

B: So where do you get all of your historical information?

J: Everyone knows this! This is just common sense! No sane person has to study what I’m talking about to know what I’m talking about! Are you calling me a liar?! This country is great and I’m damn proud to be an American!

B: Uhhh…..Okay. And what does this have to do with where you get your historical information?

J: There you go again! You really are trying to start a fight! You’re calling my patriotism into question, aren’t you?!

B: Not at all. I was just wondering……..

J: Wondering what?!

B: Wondering where you got your historical information from? That’s all.

J: I’m finished talking to you! You can’t be reasoned with. You really are one of them. You guys should all just go live in North Korea if you think it’s so great there!

B: What are you talking about? Who said anything about North Korea, or thinking it was great?

J: See you’re trying to get out of it now!

B: Trying to get out of what?

J: See, you’re too ignorant to even know what I’m talking about. The education in this country really is going to shit.

END

Presidential Debate with an anti-Chomskyite: Plus a Brief Analysis of Media Coverage

M: Okay, gentlemen, we will begin with the topic of national security. How do each of you intend to insure the security of the American people? B, you have 60 seconds.

B: I think….

J: Why does he get to go first?! This debate has been fixed by the liberal media!

M: Well, we flipped a coin and…….

J: I don’t remember flipping a coin! I didn’t even have a chance to look at it! It was probably the same on both sides!

M: But sir you were the one who……

J: There you go again! I knew I shouldn’t get involved in a debate which was engineered to make me look like an incompetent idiot!

(During this exchange the anti-Chomskyites in the audience stand up and begin cheering J. They begin yelling that the debate is fixed, that J’s statements have been taken out of context, that B is making ad hominem attacks on J, and that J’s winning the debate. They are removed from the hall and taken to a padded cell in the back of the auditorium which was constructed in anticipation of the usual outbreaks of angry irrationality which they often display. A few minutes later calm returns to the auditorium.)

M: I must apologize to our audience for the temporary interruption. Perhaps, we can now resume with the debate. Okay, gentlemen, are you ready?

(They both say yes.)

M: Now B, regarding national security, what would you do……..

J: What?! Even after all that’s happened here you’re going to let him go first?! This is the second time tonight I’ve been insulted! What the hell’s going on here?!

B: It’s okay, M. J can go first……………………….

J: Shut the hell up! I don’t need handouts from a welfare commie like you! I’m a self made man! I’ve done everything myself! I’ve never taken anything from anyone, and I’m not going to start now! Just shut the hell up! Both of you! Shut up and let me talk! I think I’d be a good leader because I said I would. That’s all the proof I need. And if you’re like me and my fellow anti-Chomskyites, that’s all the proof you’ll need too. If I’m president I’ll do everything in my power to make every other country in this world hate us. Then we can use preventive war and kill all the bastards. We also won’t have to worry about them invading this great country anymore and trying to take all of the things I’ve built myself, with my own hands. They’re jealous! They’re all fuckin’ jealous!
I’d bomb the U.N. first as it’s the symbol of giving a shit what others think around the world. Nothing could be more dangerous than this!

M: J, I’m afraid your 60 seconds is………

J: Shut the fuck up you Kim Jong Il-loving mother-fu!*#+*$+”*$+!!! I’ll say when 60 seconds is up! Shut the hell up! Just let me speak! You haven’t let me say anything! See, you and your state-controlled liberal media are doing everything you can to censor me! You’re trying to make sure that my dangerous ideas don’t reach the average folks like me.

B: Why don’t we just relax and ………

J: I’ve had just about as much of you as I can take! You and your condescending tone!
You’re always interrupting me, mocking me, laughing at me behind my back, calling me bad names, and worst of all, thinking that you know what Chomsky’s talking about just because you’ve read him and I haven’t. That really pisses me off!

M: Okay, gentlemen. Let’s …………………..

J: I’m leaving! This is ridiculous! This isn’t a debate! This is a lynching! I don’t need this kind of treatment, and I sure as hell don’t deserve it! I’m going home! For those of you who are more objective, and want to hear what I really think, you can check out my anti-Chomsky website tomorrow. ‘The Voice of Reezun: Publicly Spanking My Monkey’. Thank you! God Bless America! And good night!

(The next day B decides to check out how the media has covered the debate. First, he looks at J’s website. Needless to say, the top article was how J smashed B despite B having the media on his side, and how the media had not given him a chance to express his opinions. There was a picture of the anti-Chomskyites being taken to the padded cell which was confirmation that the media and the B people were totalitarian censors. There was a picture of B saying “I think…” and was used as proof that his thoughts were getting more attention. There was a picture of the M putting his hand in his pocket which was proof that he had switched the coins, even though one could tell by looking at the background of the photo that the M was in a night club somewhere and looked about 10 years younger.B then looks at all the other media outlets CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, and even PBS. He found that they had all interpreted the events of the debate much the same way J had on his website, with a few minor exceptions. B then leaned back in his big soft recliner, patted his copy of ‘Manufacturing Consent’ as if it were a pet, and burst out into laughter.)

The End

Taking a Test-The anti-Chomskyite’s Dilemma: A Short Story

(It was first period on Friday morning and J was an hour early for class as usual. He despised all of the slacker students who came strolling in just before the bell. He thought of them as lazy, good-for-nothing, communist, hippies who were just at school to take drugs, pick up chicks, and pretend to be radicals by reading Chomsky. True, his classmates were only 14 years of age, but to J this didn’t excuse their lack of discipline. Perhaps his being their senior by at least 25 years had something to do with his frustration. Anyway, he was confident that this test was going to be easy. The test was to cover the works of Noam Chomsky, and J was sure it would be a breeze. Of course, he hadn’t studied for the test because, I mean, what would be the point? After all, all commies think alike, and Chomsky was just another of the leftover flotsam from the terrible 60’s. Plus, J had an allergic reaction just at the thought of opening up one of Chomsky’s books. His body would break out into hives which could only be soothed by a thorough scrubbing with a wire brush and the William Buckley Jr. soap figurine he got from his father for learning to ride a bike two years earlier. Anyway, a few minutes later, the teacher walked in and told the students to clear their desks and take out a pencil. Upon hearing these instructions J took his copy of ‘The Complete Idiots Guide to Being an anti-Chomskyite’ off his desk and slipped it into his backpack. He then reached further down into his pack only to be shocked that his pencil wasn’t where he always kept it. He began searching frantically. He began to sweat profusely as the teacher came nearer. J was still digging as the teacher stopped next to his desk with test in hand…..)

T: So, J, did you forget your pencil again?

J: It was right here a second ago. I know it’s here somewhere. It’s got to be……………

T: Is it really that difficult to keep track of your pencil? And don’t try to blame Skippy for taking it again.

(The week before J had forgotten his pencil too. When confronted by the teacher, he began yelling that Skippy and all the other students were in a conspiracy against him and that Chomsky was behind it. He was sent to the principal’s office where he had to write ‘I will read more than 15 pages of Noam Chomsky before I’m fifty years old’ 200 times on the blackboard. When J finished this assignment two days later he decided to sue the school for excessive punishment. Anyway, back to the story.)

T: Will somebody let J borrow a pencil?

(Nobody offered a pencil. The teacher then looked a B.)

B: Why should I lend him a pencil? Last week when I did he started screaming that he wouldn’t accept handouts and that he wasn’t on welfare. And when he finally did take it he ate the eraser.

(There was a short pause and then B grudgingly gave J a pencil to use. It was the same pencil that he had eaten the eraser off of the last time. J took this as a direct attack. His face turned red, his hands began to shake, and he started mumbling something about Kissinger having a nice butt and saturation bombing. He was stuck. What was he to do? If he attacked B he’d probably have to write the Chomsky sentences 500 times, but if he didn’t kick B’s ass everyone would think he was a wuss. The teacher, seeing that J was about to blow, handed him an eraser hoping to diffuse the situation. It worked, but all that J could think about was kicking B’s ass after school. The teacher finished handing out the tests and the students began.)

The Test: J’s Test to be Precise

1. After having read the 8 Chomsky books you were assigned, do you believe Chomsky:

a. Hates America

b. Is a Pol Pot apologist

c. Is a Holocaust-denier

d. All of the above XXXXXXX

e. None of the above

2. Chomsky’s critics often accuse him of sloppy scholarship and being selective with his sources. Do you think this is:

a. True

b. False

c. Don’t understand the question

d. Both a and c XXXXXX

3. Some anti-Chomsky critics feel that it’s not really necessary to have to read his work to know what his thoughts are. Do you think this is:

a. True. There is no reason to read him to know what he thinks.

b. False. In order to understand his thought you should read his works.

c. Are you thinking that if you choose answer (a) to this question it’ll probably be the wrong answer, but to admit that it’s necessary to read Chomsky before you understand his thought and choose answer b would simply be too unbearable and not worth the point?

d. You wish you’re pencil had an eraser to eat.

e. All the above except b XXXXX

4. What best describes the Faurisson Affair?

a. It was the incident in which a Chomsky statement on the freedom of speech was used by a Holocaust-denier as the forward to his book. This was then interpreted by a few dumb-asses to mean that Chomsky supported the views included in the book.

b. It was the incident where Chomsky knowingly offered his statement on free speech to a Holocaust-denier because he hates Jews too and doesn’t really think the Holocaust happened either.XXXXX

c. It was the incident where a gay French fashion designer was caught making love with J’s wife because he thought she was a man.

(J had already circled b to the last question before reading c. Upon reading answer c J jumped from his desk and headed for the teacher, who incidentally is B’s father. T picked up his big thick copy of ‘Deterring Democracy’ and slammed J upside the head with it. A few hours later J began to wake up and realized that he was in the principal’s office. He was still a little dazed, but soon realized that his hands were handcuffed behind his back. He also realized that he was nude. He could turn his head just enough to see that there was a copy of Chomsky’s ‘Keeping the Rabble in Line’ sticking out of his butt. A policeman, the principal, T, B, and Skippy were all standing around laughing and pointing. J thought he had died and gone to hell. He then closed his teary eyes, began trying to click his heels together, though it was difficult because of the book in his butt, and repeating to himself ‘There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.’
(Incidentally, for you anti-Chomskyites, the answer to the test above are e,b,b,a just in case you thought that J had gotten all of the answers correct.)
THE END

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are seriously confused man. im suprised u can handle the cognitive dissonance without your brain just exploding or something.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to clarify, im talking about the blogger in question, not the above critic. I've also had conversations with some of the vehement chomsky haters out there, and the above is a fair approximation of their verbal diahharea. too funny man, too funny.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! I reccommend that you, too, write dialogues using the anti-Chomskyites as subjects. They offer such good materials in how not to be rational, logical, civil, or any of the other attributes which humans usually use to distinguish themselves from simians(Adam's favorite word besides "You suck", "Bitch", "You're a girl", and a few others.) If anyone is even thinking of trying to debate one of these so-called anti-Chomskyite-totalitarian-minded pseudo-patriots in order to get some sort of insight, you'll probably be wasting your time. I'll save you the time. All you have to do is to ask them what books of Chomsky's they've read. Now, they'll try like hell not to answer this question, but don't say another word to them until they do. 'What Chomsky books have you read?' That's it. You'll immediately get rid of about 98% of these clowns. The remaining 2%, which I've personally still never met, but am assuming that there must be a few out there, may have actually read a book or two. Out of this 2% there may be .000001 who actually understood the words. So, if you're really wanting to debate someone who may be able to make anything remotely resembling an argument, this .000001% is who you're looking for. And please, if you find them, let me know. Thanks! Kropotkin Beard

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J and Ben the anti-Chomskyites on Research and Scholarship: Dismantling the Works of Noam Chomsky: An Existential Crisis and Going to Hell

J: Ben! Ben! Did you hear the news!

Ben: No, what is it?

J: I did a critical analysis of one of Chomsky’s books and I found hundreds and hundreds of errors.

Ben: Oh my God! What kind of errors?

J: You name it! It was poorly written. Most all of the information was completely inaccurate. The writing style sucked. The research was horrible. Basically, it was one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

Ben: Great! I told you that his scholarship sucked.

J: I’ve known this for a long time, but hadn’t actually read anything by him until now.

Ben: We’ve got to get this information to Horowitz. He’ll be so pleased that we’ve helped him with his ambitions of dismantling Chomsky’s work.

J and Ben cut and paste all of the errors found in the Chomsky book, including page numbers, references, footnotes, name-calling, etc… There were literally hundreds of pages of errors in the book. They sent all of their newly found information to Horowitz himself. A few days later they received a long email back from Horowitz thanking them for all of their hard work. He informed them that the information they had provided was “definitely going to be used” in his upcoming book, ‘The Shoddy Scholarship of Noam Chomsky: A Detailed Analysis’, and that J and Ben would get a special mention as contributors. Horowitz even asked J and Ben to send their photos as he wanted to use them on the front page of his updated ‘FrontPageMagazine’ website. J and Ben were ecstatic. They were going to be famous in the anti-Chomsky world. They’d probably even be asked to be on many political talk shows because of the brilliance of their scholarship and insight. J was already having an ‘I Used Kissinger’s Speed Stick in the Green Room’ T-shirt made just in case he was invited to be on TV. They had big plans. Their future looked bright. But the first thing they wanted to do was to go tell B about their soon-to-be-acquired fame. They could hardly wait. They knew that this was really going to piss him off. That they had so thoroughly dissected one of Chomsky’s books, and were going to soon be famous, would surely irk B as they believed him to be a big Chomskyite. First, they went to the library to look for B assuming that given his appreciation of Chomsky he’d probably go someplace stupid that had a lot of books. They were right. They found B at a big table in the back of the library with several hundred books stacked on the table. Of course there were about 40 Chomsky books in one stack, but there were also books by many historians, both conservative and radical. There were dozens of books containing government documents. There were all the great economists, political theorists, and all the classic philosophers. There were books on all of the U.S. Presidents. There were many business journals and magazines. For J and Ben to see a person surrounded by so many books was a surreal experience. Actually, they both felt a little light-headed and nauseous being near so many books, but the excitement and anticipation of telling B about their soon to be realized success was enough to keep them from getting sick. The story continues:

J: Hey B! What are you doing?

B: Not much. I’m just catching up on a little reading and research.

Ben: What are you researching?

B: I doubt you’d be interested.

J: What is it?

B: I’m doing research regarding the works of Noam Chomsky.

Ben: (Looking and J and winking) Really? How interesting. J and I have been, too.

B: Oh, really? That’s interesting.

J: But we’ve never used this many books to do our research, especially the Chomsky ones.

Ben: Yeah. We’ve read a couple of those conservative historians you have there, and we went through the personals in the back of that ‘Business Week’ there, but that’s about it.

B: But you said you were doing research on Chomsky.

J: Yeah, well, we are. (J winking back a Ben)

B: You don’t think it’s necessary to read a little more of his work when doing your research?

J: Not now. I mean, we didn’t really find it necessary to read him before, but now there’s even less reason.

B: Why’s that.

Ben: (J giving Ben the nod to go ahead and let B have it) Because J and I went through one of his books page by page and found hundreds of mistakes. His book sucked!

J: Yeah! Yeah! Almost every assertion made in the book was wrong. All the ideas were stupid. And the scholarship was horrible! He must be one of the most ignorant people I’ve ever read. Only a complete idiot could believe anything said in that book.

Ben: Yeah! Yeah! And we sent our findings to Horowitz and he thought our research was great!

J: Yeah! And he said we were going to be on ‘FrontPageMagazine’ and that this type of scholarship was greatly appreciated by those at the ‘magazine’, and that the information was just the kind of break his webpage had been waiting for.

Ben: Yeah! He said that our analysis of Chomsky was definitely ‘FrontPageMagazine’ material. He said that our comprehensive documentation would be quite useful, though not necessary, as accuracy and documentation were hardly high priorities regarding the acceptance of submissions worthy of publication at ‘FrontPage’.

J: Yeah! But we supplied him with all the documentation one could have hoped for.

B: That’s interesting. Congratulations! If you don’t mind my asking, in what book of Chomsky’s were all of these mistakes?

J: (Looking through his bag) It was that book that your friend P recommended. He said that if we really went through this book carefully that we’d find all sorts of mistakes.

Ben: And he was right!

J: (Pulling the book out of his bag and holding in front of B’s face) Here it is! Here it is! This one! This is the book we’ve shredded! It’s garbage! It’s a piece of crap! It sucks!

Ben: Yeah! Chomsky’s going down! Chomsky’s going down!

B: Uhhhhh But that book isn’t by Chomsky.

J & Ben: Huh?

B: That book was written by Horowitz and Collier. That’s the ‘Anti-Chomsky Reader’. It was written by your heroes.

J & Ben: WAS NOT!!!

B: Sure it was. Look at the cover.

Ben: (Turning to J) You dumbass! You said it was Chomsky’s book!

J: (Looking bewildered and perplexed) I wondered why the book was so easy to understand.

J and Ben begin screaming, crying, and fighting. Seeing that J and Ben’s hopes for anti-Chomskyan fame were being dashed he decided to offer a little solace. He told them that it probably wouldn’t really matter that the book they had shredded had been Horowitz’s own book as Horowitz was too ignorant to even recognize it as such. B told them that it was still very likely that their work would be used by ‘FrontPageMagazine’ and that they may, indeed, still become the new darlings of the anti-Chomskyites. Then B offered to lend J and Ben another book which he thought may make them feel better. He told them that a new Horowitz book had just come out, and that even B himself thought it pretty good for an anti-Chomskyite book. So, B took a copy of ‘Necessary Illusions’ out of his stack and gave it to J and Ben. He told them that this Horowitz book was much better, but that should carefully analyze it regardless. J and Ben thanked B and left the library. A few months later they returned to B in the library.

B: So what did you think of that Horowitz book I lent you? Pretty good stuff, huh?

J: Yeah! It was great! We didn’t find a damn mistake! It was pretty difficult though.

Ben: Yeah! His sentence structure, style, and research were impeccable. And the scholarship was something I’ve never witnessed before. We had to read each sentence about 10 times before we could understand what they meant.

J: Yeah! This book was much better thought out than Horowitz’s other books, by orders of magnitude I should say.

Ben: Yeah, B. Thanks a lot! You’re much cooler than J and I thought. We didn’t know that you could appreciate the work of the anti-Chomskyites.

B: Oh, really? Yes, I’m quite familiar with both. I’m really glad that you took the time to go through the book I lent you.

Just then P approached the table where J, Ben, and B were sitting. J’s first response was to punch out P, but Ben held him back as a courtesy to B for lending them Horowitz’s ‘Necessary Illusions’.

P: Hey guys! What’s up! (Looks at B and receives the green light wink) B do you still have my Chomsky book?

B: (Taking the book from J’s hands) You mean this one?

P: Yeah, that’s it. ‘Necessary Illusions’.

J and Ben: (Screaming at the top of their lungs) “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!”

Then they both passed out. About twenty minutes later, as B and P were helping the paramedics push the gurneys to the ambulance, J and Ben slightly regained consciousness. J then looked up at B.

J: (Barely able to speak) Did we really read a Chomsky book and think it was great?

B: I’m afraid so.

J: Oh, God!

(J slips into a coma)

Ben: P, please don’t tell anyone. Okay?

P: Too late. It will be on the BBC in 20 minutes.

(Ben slips into a coma)

However, being the good and honorable humanitarians they are, B and P managed to find J and Ben the perfect place for them to begin their occupational therapy. They were going to be cleaning the toilets for some professor at M.I.T. Two days later they went to meet the professor. As they walked into the front office they passed dozens of file cabinets. They turned into a short hallway and to their horror they saw a big poster of Bertrand Russell on the wall. The door to the left of the poster was open and as they walked through the door a man wearing glasses stood. And with a toilet brush in each hand, he outstretched his arms and said:

Chomsky: Hello! I’m Noam Chomsky. Get to work!

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J the anti-Chomskyite’s Haiku: A Lesson in Emptiness

One fine autumn day J the anti-Chomskyite was sitting alone in the woods burning all seven of the books he had collected over the first 43 years of his life. His new Buddhist teacher had told him that he needed to rid himself of those things he had accumulated as they were no doubt what had led to his ignorance and warped perception of reality, and the subsequent suffering which presented itself as irrational and illogical anti-Chomskyanism. J had no problem with this order as book-burning was a hobby of his anyway. So, there J sat, gazing down into the fire, watching the last little bit of ‘Radical Son’ and a few Oliver Kamm papers go up in smoke. J’s teacher also told him that he should give Haiku a try. This suggestion was quite appealing to J as there need be only 17 syllables in an entire poem, and given the fact that J usually broke out in hives when exposed to any writings longer than this. So, there sat J, pencil in hand, eraser…uhhh….never mind…pencil in hand…..and began his Haiku meditation. What follows are a few of the Haiku which were found in J’s drawers upon his second release from the Boston Mental Hospital. He had initially been admitted to BMH after having been required to clean Chomsky’s toilets for several months as a part of his occupational therapy after finding out that he had inadvertently read a Chomsky book and thought it was great. This time he had been admitted to BMH because after having tried to achieve TRUE emptiness with the help of his Buddhist teacher he had a difficult time adjusting back to his usual reality. But wasn’t this the point? Wasn’t the point that J empty himself of all of his delusions and try to see the true nature of reality more clearly? Anyway, his friend B was a little perplexed by the whole J-Buddhist therapy thing anyway as he thought J’s head was empty most of the time already and wondered if there was really anything left to empty. Here are J’s four controversial Haiku poems:

J’s Haiku: Four Seasons

a winter day spot
had a book but couldn’t read
Chomsky laughs at me

anti- Semite spring
is Chomsky this I ask you
ignorant I am

summer fever cry
holocaust denier nye
why am I dumb I

fall sitting in pond
Pol Pot apologist not
empty my head is

In all fairness to J it should be noted that many Haiku poets, scholars, and psychiatrists, have pondered over the meanings of these great poems for years now. There seem to be many ways to interpret them depending on the perspective from which ones analysis begins. Had J actually recognized his pathetic ignorance and attempted to detach himself from his desire to cling to his irrational anti-Chomskyanism? Was J being sarcastic, actually meaning the opposite of what he posited in the poems? Or, in his unconscious desire not to be released from BMH, was this simply a case of J’s Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy disorder presenting itself again? Only one person really knew, and this was his friend B. B was aware that J’s emptiness was not the emptiness of those seeking to detach themselves from the delusions of the perceived world in order to expand their awareness, and, thereby, rid themselves of their unwanted sufferings. Nor was it an emptiness which brings peace and oneness with all of humanity and the universe. It was an emptiness of the type you find when your assigned to read a Chomsky book, but you can’t, and you have to lie, and lie, and lie, and pretend that you have, all the while knowing deep down that you’re fooling no one but yourself, and you’re not even really doing a good job of that. It’s the emptiness of knowing that your lies are being witnessed by all, especially those who have actually read Chomsky’s work. It’s the emptiness of knowing that every false assertion and out of context reference can be easily exposed by any third grader. This is a different type of emptiness, an artificial emptiness, an emptiness like that found when examining ‘The Anti-Chomsky Reader’, many, many, words and not a shred of truth behind any of them. So, what was B to do? How was he to help J become a semi-well functioning person again?
First, B had to find J, and no one had seen him since his second release from BMH. There had been rumors J had been hit by a truck while chasing a rabbit across Interstate 66 with an empty bowl in his hand. Other rumors had it that J had given up his anti-Chomskyanism, gotten married, had 8 children, and began making porno films and selling contracts for Haliburton. And, yet, still other rumors had it that J had had plastic surgery and had gone back to cleaning toilets at M.I.T. Then, one day, as B was about to give up his search for J, he wandered into the local Taoist cigar club to ask the owner if he had seen J hanging around his club, possibly carrying a bowl, or a rabbit. Just then, to B’s amazement, he looked up and saw J hanging stuffed as a trophy on the wall between a donkey and a pig with a bowl on his head and a rabbit clenched in his teeth. B asked the owner where he had acquired his trophy. The owner assured B that he had not killed J himself, but had bought him at a yard sale which had been held by some Buddhist monks. When asked how they had come into possession of this stuffed J trophy the monks simply replied that one day as they were in a deep contemplative meditation their master approached J from behind as he thought J to be dozing off. The master gave J a good solid whack on the shoulder with his bamboo staff and yelled CHOMSKY as loud as he could to wake him up. They said that at exactly that moment any residue of self which may have remained in J’s being instantly evaporated, and he keeled over and died. But what was even more astonishing to the monks was what happened later when they took him to the taxidermist to be stuffed. The taxidermist said that upon making the first incision into J’s body a tremendous gush of hot air was released and the body collapsed in on itself like a hot air balloon. The taxidermist passed out and had to be admitted to BMH a few hours later. At a loss of what to do with the deflated body, the monks, in their infinite, mysterious, and ironic wisdom, decided to tear the pages from every book Chomsky had ever written, and to stuff the empty shell of J with these pages, so that he could go through eternity filled with that knowledge which he had refused to, or perhaps was unable to, because of his ignorance, accept during his short and miserable anti-Chomskyan life.
THE END

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