May 10, 2010 | ISSUE 46•19
“I just want to lie in a hammock and have a nice relaxing morning,” said the outspoken anarcho-syndicalist academic, who first came to public attention with his breakthrough 1957 book Syntactic Structures. “The systems of control designed to manufacture consent among a largely ignorant public will still be there for me to worry about tomorrow. Today, I’m just going to kick back and enjoy some much-needed Noam Time.”
“No fighting against institutional racism, no exposing the legacies of colonialist ideologies still persistent today, no standing up to the widespread dissemination of misinformation and state-sanctioned propaganda,” Chomsky added. “Just a nice, cool breeze through an open window on a warm spring day.”
Sources reported that the 81-year-old Chomsky, a vociferous, longtime critic of U.S. foreign policy and the political economy of the mass media, was planning to use Monday to tidy up around the house a bit, take a leisurely walk in the park, and possibly attend an afternoon showing of Date Night at the local megaplex.
Sitting down to a nice oatmeal breakfast, Chomsky picked up a copy of Time, a deceitful, pro-corporate publication that he said would normally infuriate him.
“Yes, this magazine may be nothing more than a subtle media tool intended to obfuscate the government’s violent agenda with comforting bromides, but I’m not going to let that get under my skin,” Chomsky said. “I mean, why should I? It’s absolutely beautiful outside. I should just go and enjoy myself and not think about any of this stuff.”
Added Chomsky, glancing back over at the periodical, “Even if it is just another way in which individuals are methodically fed untruths that slowly shape their perceptions of reality, dulling their ability to challenge and defy a government bent on carrying out its own selfish and destructive—no, no Noam, not today, none of that today.”
According to sources close to the thinker, Chomsky also considered taking time to “plop down on the couch in [his] boxers and watch TV,” but grew suddenly enraged when The Price Is Right came on, commodifying the lie of American consumer satisfaction in a pseudo- entertainment context.
“Just change the channel, just relax and switch to something that isn’t mindless pabulum for the masses,” said Chomsky, reaching for the remote control. “No need to get furious.”
Chomsky, who often defines himself as a libertarian socialist, then changed the channel to ESPN, taking a moment to acknowledge the role of professional sports as a “weapon of mass distraction,” keeping the American people occupied with trivial competitions so they do not focus on opposing the status quo with grassroots movements against foreign and domestic policies that ultimately harm them.
“Stupid NBA playoffs,” Chomsky said. “At least it’s better than that NCAA March Madness crap. A university is supposed to be a center of learning that questions the state’s crafted messaging, not an entertainment factory.”
Sources said Chomsky took what was supposed to be a refreshing drive in the countryside, only to find himself obsessing over the role petroleum plays in the economic and military policies that collude with multinational corporate powers.
After stopping at a roadside McDonald’s, Chomsky was unable to enjoy the Big Mac he purchased, due to the popular restaurant chain’s participation in selling “a bill of goods” to the American people, who consume the unhealthy fast food and thereby bolster the capitalist system rather than buying from local farmers in order to equalize the distribution of wealth and eat more nutritiously.
Chomsky also found the burger to be too salty.
“All right, all right,” the noted critic and philosopher said, “I’m going back home, writing one—just one—reasoned, scathing essay, and getting it out of my system. But then I’m definitely going back to the park to walk around and just enjoy the nice weather. I’m serious.”
“Because there’s got to be more to life than the way that wage slavery strips the individual of his or her inherent dignity and personal integrity,” Chomsky continued. “Right?”