Noam Chomsky at Harvard Law School 

It’s noted philosopher and social critic Noam Chomsky doing an interview with some awkward nerd from Harvard Law School.  They’re talking about the problems with capitalism, particularly in America, the sham democracy, coronavirus, et cetera.

It goes on like this for about 44 minutes.  Then they open it up to questions from students.  Some nerd woman asks the following:

“Moving back to the subject of the first question, as somebody who fell in love with linguistics in college, really in large part to do with your work, I would just love to hear why you chose to study linguistics in the first place and then what keeps you sane(?)”

I might have misheard the last word.  Maybe she said “steady” but…that wouldn’t make sense.

Then Noam (or “Professor Chomsky” as he’s constantly referred to) says, “I’m sorry.  I couldn’t catch that.  Could you repeat that, Michael?”

Michael is the interviewer.  There were a few times in the interview where the venerable Professor Chomsky couldn’t understand what was being said but in this particular instance, I think that it’s a combination of technological problems, advanced age, and not believing that a Harvard Law School student would ask such an inane question.

Then Michael, clearly uncomfortable, says, “Ummm….I believe that…ummm…Anna said that she studied linguistics and fell in love with it.”

Chomsky interrupts with “Congratulations”, clearly being patronising.

Michael continues, “She was wondering why you fell in love with linguistics just at the start.”

Chomsky still can’t believe this.  “Why I personally –?”

Michael, regretting that these questions weren’t screened, says, “Yes.”

Unbelievable.  You have an opportunity to pick the brain of preeminent political commentator Noam Chomsky, and THIS is what you come up with.

Wasn’t she watching the interview as it was taking part?  Why, after listening to the interview all that time, would she volunteer to ask that idiotic question?

Maybe it was arranged in advance that she’d be given the opportunity to ask a question and she didn’t know that the discussion would be so heavy.  In that case, she could have just turned her computer off and ran.  There may have been a moment of confusion but I’m sure they would have got by.  They would have just gone to the next person’s question.

There were apparently a lot of students who had questions.  They only got to three people.  The other two students were both guys and they both asked questions of substance about political theory and race and capitalism and suchlike.  

We were denied a third intelligent question because of this woman.  “Linguistics is neato!  Why did you study linguistics?”

Who gives a fuck?  He was looking at a course guide 75 years ago and picked something at random.  The same way anyone chooses what to study in university.  

Fucking ridiculous.  I’m sure that there are women at Harvard Law School who had an intelligent question that they wanted to ask.  But where were they?  Why did we get this doofus?  It raises some questions. 

3 thoughts on “Noam Chomsky at Harvard Law School

  1. didn't know that erin had a cousin who studies at harvard. speaking of which, chances are that our retro-gaming empress, being an english degree holder, might have had her fair bit of linguistics assignments and even talked chomsky back in her college days. i wonder what she would have to add to this discussion

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