Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

The New War on Terrorism: Fact and Fiction

Alternative Tentacles

It seems that this album’s title and its author’s name alone leave little to the imagination as to what one should expect. Taken from a post-9/11 lecture, Chomsky’s first public statement after the terror attacks raises questions that mainstream politics and media have ignored: “What is happening right now?” and “What can we do about it?”; What makes September 11th an “historic event?”; What exactly is the “war on terrorism?” and related to that, “what is terrorism?”; What are the origins of the crimes of September 11th; and finally, what are our “policy options?” The solution to these quandaries is predicated on the fundamental precept that “we certainly want to reduce the level of terror . . . There is one easy way to do that . . . stop participating in it.” Terrorism is nothing new in America, it’s the “direction in which the guns are pointed” that’s new. “It’s very different if you are holding the lash, or whether you are being whipped by it for a hundred years,” posits Chomsky.

As much as I find myself concurring with Chomsky’s ideology, he is a terribly boring speaker. He speaks in a monotone, with little animation. Perhaps that is why Alternative Tentacles decided to release this, and other of his, lectures. That is, when Jello Biafra started the label it was an outlet for bands who cared more about substance than style — this being the true nature of agit-prop. Be that as it may, get off your ass and buy one of Chomsky’s books (America is already too illiterate to be listening to what can easily be found in print), and if you really need something “political” to listen to, buy a Dead Kennedys album.

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