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Thread: Chomsky Lecture Dublin - Tonight 7pm

  1. #1
    droid Guest

    Default Chomsky Lecture Dublin - Tonight 7pm

    An exclusive live stream for those who may be interested. Same again on thursday night...

    Stream (WMP)

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    I'm there now

    Will be saying "Hi Noam, been a while" Thursday at Tower Records, Wicklow St 3pm, [book signing]

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    Chomsky talk: brief comment

    "The ultimate paradox for me is that because he lacks a theoretical framework, Chomsky even gets the facts wrong sometimes."===>Slavoj Zizek [see Kapital's [hysterical] Obstacles to the Impossible ]

    Just back from this public address by Chomsky. While as erudite, pleasant, ridiculously reference-rich, and fantastically factually-encyclopaediac as ever, his views haven't particularly advanced since the last time I heard him: for instance, on the on-going US/Israeli threat to attack/nuke Iran he believes it to be unlikely [sentiments he also expressed a year ago] unless Iran can first be internationally isolated, hence the current "sabre-rattling" is really designed to pressure Europe to sign up to a sanctions regime against Iran [see also LeColonelChabert on Come on Over and Help Us ]. And, as Chomsky would say "And so on, and so forth."

    Much more interesting, perhaps, was the background to his speech. First, "fact-rich" Chomsky turned up at Dublin Airport earlier today with an out-of-date passport. There followed a furious series of diplomatic manoeuvres [ via UCD academics, US Embassy and Irish Dept of Foreign Affairs], until an hour later, Chomsky passed through passport control the proud owner of a new, updated passport. Second, I was somewhat curiously impressed by the turn-out for his gig ("Rock Star Critic of US Foreign Policy" as some pundits exclaimed, much like Zizek's reception in US Academia: "The Elvis of Cultural Theory"), with about 1,000 mainly young hip types in attendance, in contrast to the mere 100 or so (mainly foreign academics) who showed up at precisely the same venue just six weeks ago to hear Zizek.


    You can catch him being interviewed this Thursday night on RTE television, straight after his Amnesty Lecture ...

  4. #4
    droid Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Padraig
    Chomsky talk: brief comment

    "The ultimate paradox for me is that because he lacks a theoretical framework, Chomsky even gets the facts wrong sometimes."===>Slavoj Zizek [see Kapital's [hysterical] Obstacles to the Impossible ]
    Chomsky retains a certain commitment to what is the most elemental ingredient of American ideology, individualism, a fundamental belief that America is the land of free individuals, and so on. So in that way he is deeply and problematically American.

    What a load of bollocks! Zizek shmizek... His coments about Yugoslavia completey and utterly misrepresent Chomsky's position.

    With that level of criticism, hed make good company for Emma Brockes over at the Guardian.

    You can catch him being interviewed this Thursday night on RTE television, straight after his Amnesty Lecture ...
    That'll be tonight then. I minidisced last nights lecture, and plan on bringing a mic to the next 2 as well, so anyone who wants an MP3 next week sometime should hit me up here, or check Indymedia Ireland over the next while.
    Last edited by droid; 18-01-2006 at 10:51 AM.

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    He was oddly impressive last night - Padraig right to say that there wasn't much new, but I like his old- time insistence on hard work and solidarity rather than event junkie- dom - best bit, though was the first question about the corporatisation of UCD - or UCD Dublin as it now is on all official communications, the 'Birmingham school of business school' approach - especially after Chomsky being introduced by Hugh Brady, university president and the man in charge of turning it into one big business school. Brady introducing Chomsky is a bit like Blair asking you to give it up for his old mate Arthur Scargill; a good moment

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    I was somewhat curiously impressed by the turn-out for his gig...with about 1,000 mainly young hip types in attendance
    Padraig.

    when i was in Dublin recently some 'edgy' lifestyle rag hanging around did quite a big feature about this. listings magazines are listings magazines but iirc part of the write-up was rather sexy.

    i think i'd have gone along expecting a mixture of Subcomandante Marcos and Aristide

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    "The ultimate paradox for me is that because he lacks a theoretical framework, Chomsky even gets the facts wrong sometimes ... Chomsky retains a certain commitment to what is the most elemental ingredient of American ideology, individualism, a fundamental belief that America is the land of free individuals, and so on. So in that way he is deeply and problematically American.
    ."===>Slavoj Zizek [see Kapital's [hysterical] Obstacles to the Impossible ]
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    What a load of bollocks! Zizek shmizek... His coments about Yugoslavia completey and utterly misrepresent Chomsky's position.

    With that level of criticism, hed make good company for Emma Brockes over at the Guardian.
    ==>Droid
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Charming, and exceedingly quaint [I prefer bollox meself but the language police have other priorities ...].

    Your summary dismissal is perfectly understandable [I've been a fan of Chomsky too for many years and had my requisite quota of death threats on the internet defending his various specific political stances], although I'm not so sure it's dynamic tone would comfortably coalesce with Chomsky's own discursive methodology [maybe you might experiment with it on him tonight, using your Mic & accessories to heighten the sonic effect? Bring a Teremin (and wear gloves): that'll haunt the individualism out of him, if not the audience ... ].

    Firstly, Zizek's comments are not bollocks, secondly, there is no misrepresentation - and Chomsky would in fact be the first-in-line to acknowledge same. [And with this level of adolescent criticism, we'd all make ideal company for Emma Brockes over at the Gauudian].

    So let's just stagnate as posturing adolescent laddies hereabouts for a momento and soundshite-summarise Chomsky contra Zizek for de individualism-bollox riposte:

    Beavis Chomsky: Democracy is so cool, dude, I can't get enough of it. Gimme MORE! And them others too!

    Butthead Zizek: Huh? Then wha'bout capitalclysm, dude, doncha like to puke on it?

    Beavis Chomsky: Wha? I said democracy Butthead. Your iPod's got way too many batteries, dude. Take it off and I'll puke on it, made in all them sweaty haunts in Chinatown.

    Butthead Zizek: Beer and Pizza, Beavis. Beer and Pizza.

    Beavis Chomsky: Now I really wanna puke - gimme that iPod!

    Butthead Zizek: No, dude! Beer and Pizza. Democracy and capitalclysm. Ya can't have one widout the udder, and the more beer ya sozzle the more pizza ya donk. Geddit, dude?

    Beavis Chomsky: Uh, how 'bout Beer and iPod, then, Butthead?

    Butthead Zizek: Only if ya drink the beer and puke up the iPod, dude.

    Beavis Chomsky: But I believe in American Beer, Butthead!

    Butthead Zizek: Last refuge of the puker, dude ...

    $ $ $ $ $

    Well. Enough of this sheeaat, yet already?

    If you are familiar with some of Chomsky's 90 books, 2,000+ articles, and countless talks and interviews, you might possibly be equally familiar with his stances vis-a-vis democracy ("We live in a free society"), America ("This is the best country in the world", psychoanalysis and social theory ("I do not think psychoanalysis has a scientific basis. If we can't explain why a cockroach decides to turn left, how can we explain why a human being decides to do something?") and so on. Zizek has radically different positions on these, and other, topics, none of which are bollocks or misrepresentations, should you care to peruse. Let's just take one brief example, on Zizek's problematizing of democracy/individualism, in summary:

    Today, when everyone is "anticapitalist", even Hollywood "sociocritical" conspiracy movies (from The Pelican Brief to The Insider) in which the enemies are big corporations with their ruthless pursuit of profit, the signifier "anticapitalism" has lost its subversive sting. What one should problematize is rather the self-evident opposite of this "anticapitalism": trust that the democratic substance of honest Americans is able to break up the conspiracy. This is the hard kernel of today's global capitalist universe, its true Master-Signifier: democracy.

    The limit of democracy is the State: in the democratic electoral process, the social body is symbolically dissolved, reduced to a pure numerical multitude. The electoral body is precisely not a body, a structured whole, but a formless abstract multitude, a multitude without a State (in both Badiouian senses of this term: the state as the re-presented unity of the multitude, and the State with its apparatuses). The point is thus not that democracy is inherent to the State, sustained by its apparatuses, but that it structurally ignores this dependency. When Alain Badiou says that the State is always in excess with regard to the multitude it represents, this means that it is precisely this excess which is structurally overlooked by democracy: the illusion is that the democratic process can control this excess of the State.

    Which is why the antiglobalization movement is not enough: at some point, one will have to problematize the self-evident reference to "freedom and democracy." Therein resides the ultimate "Leninist" lesson for today: paradoxically, it is only in this way, by problematizing democracy, by making it clear how liberal democracy a priori, in its very notion (as Hegel would have put it), cannot survive without capitalist private property, that we can become effectively anticapitalist. Did the disintegration of Communism in 1990 not provide ultimate confirmation of the most "vulgar" Marxist thesis that the actual economic base of political democracy is the private ownership of the means of production, that is, capitalism with its class distinctions? The big urge after the introduction of political democracy was "privatization," the frantic effort to find, at any price, in whatever way, new owners, who can be the descendants of the old owners whose property was nationalized when the Communists took power, ex-Communist apparatchiks, mafiosi . . . whoever, simply in order to establish a "base" of democracy. The ultimate tragic irony is that this is all taking place too late, at exactly the moment when, in First World "postindustrial" societies, private ownership has begun to lose its central regulating role.

    The battle to be fought is thus twofold: first, yes, anticapitalism. However, anticapitalism without problematizing capitalism's political form (liberal parliamentary democracy) is not sufficient, no matter how "radical" it is. Perhaps the lure today is the belief that one can undermine capitalism without effectively problematizing the liberal-democratic legacy which, as some Leftists claim ["Hi Noam, been a while"], although engendered by capitalism, has acquired autonomy and can serve to criticize capitalism. This lure is strictly correlative to its apparent opposite, to the pseudo-Deleuzian love-hate fascinating/fascinated poetic depiction of Capital as a rhizomatic monster/vampire that deterritorializes and swallows all, indomitable, dynamic, ever-rising from the dead, each crisis making it stronger, Dionysos-Phoenix reborn. . . . It is in this poetic (anti)capitalist reference to Marx that Marx is really dead: appropriated when deprived of his political sting.

    The problem with democracy is that, the moment it is established as a positive formal system regulating the way a multitude of political subjects compete for power, it has to exclude some options as "nondemocratic," and this exclusion, this founding decision about who is included in and who is excluded from the field of democratic options, is not democratic. We are not simply playing formal-logical games here with the paradoxes of metalanguage, since, at this precise point, Marx's old insight remains fully valid: this inclusion/exclusion is overdetermined by fundamental social antagonism ("class struggle"), which, for this very reason, cannot ever be adequately translated into the form of democratic competition. The ultimate democratic illusion, and, simultaneously, the point at which the limitation of democracy becomes directly palpable, is that one can accomplish social revolution painlessly, through "peaceful means," simply by winning elections. This illusion is formalist in the strictest sense of the term: it abstracts from the concrete framework of social relations within which the democratic form is operative. Consequently, although there is no profit in ridiculing political democracy, one should nonetheless insist on the Marxist lesson, confirmed by the post-Socialist craving for privatization, that political democracy has to rely on private property. In short, the problem with democracy is not that it is a democracy but, to use the phrase introduced apropos of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, in its "collateral damage," in the fact that it is a form of State Power involving certain relations of production.


    Did ya see 'aul New Age reactionary John "Deliverance" Boorman in the audience transfixed on 'ol Chom?
    Last edited by Padraig; 19-01-2006 at 01:00 AM.

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    Padraig, you're right of course about 'Anti- capitalism' ; it's this generation's 'protest', and, as with that generation, the seeds of an new 'new capitalism' are sown by the ineffectual job lot campaigning against everything. Rather than Orwell's eternal jackboot, it will 'everything sounds like Coldplay' forever.

    Not sure though, if there isn't something to Chomsky's insistence on the (latent) power that still clings to bourgeois democratic institutions; in this regard, Hannah Arendt derivation of a disinterested political spectatorship from Kant might still have some worth. A contemporary difficulty, and one which differentiates 'now' from 'the 'then' of Chomsky or Arendt, is the withspread feeling in Westerm democracies that politics is really of no concern, unless you're poor. The average green voter has the luxury to worry about ethical consumerism because she is assured the wherewithal to consume and can afford to send her kids to Steiner schools and homeopaths; politics becomes a matter of administering poverty and managing spectacle.

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    i think chomsky's position is more that we in the west live in relatively free societies, in comparison to say, iraq/iran etc (choose your own relevant country).

    he's also a 'pragmatic anarchist'- in the same way as colin ward is: democracy doesn't work effectively and it would be better if other systems developed, but 'democracy' is what we have got and we can make positive change within such a framework. this is an important distinction, because otherwise you tend towards the 'come the revolution' type position, which often involves very little work in actually attempting to deal with current problems (which zizek could be accused of?- sorry he's too pomo for my tastes).
    Last edited by matt b; 19-01-2006 at 02:01 PM.

  10. #10
    droid Guest

    Default Wtf??

    Padraig - Im currently getting round to answering your post - but Im wondering if I should bother now...

    http://irishantiwar.org/bboard/q-and...h%20Anti%2dWar

    If your going to treat other peoples posts in an ongoing discussion here as ammunition to prove how clever you are on other forums, wihout providing context or links to the original discussion, then I for one dont particularly wish to engage with you any further.

    it wouldnt be so bad if youd actually attempted a defence of Zizeks points, but instead were treated to a short essay on Democracy and the whys and wherefores of the differences between Chomsky and Zizek's approaches - a piece (though irrelevant) you obviously thought was so inspired that you felt the need to repeat it on another forum as an example of how you deal with 'oversensitive' Chomsky worshippers.

    Might I suggest that if youre going to indulge in this kind of intellectual masturbation in the future, that you a) keep it private and, failing that b) dont get me involved in your narcissistic displays on other forums...

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    Droid: "Padraig - Im currently getting round to answering your post - "


    That shouldn't prove too challenging, given that you have yet to begin engaging in any actual discussion.

    Droid:"but Im wondering if I should bother now...

    http://irishantiwar.org/bboard/q-an...sh%20Anti%2dWar

    If your going to treat other peoples posts in an ongoing discussion here as ammunition to prove how clever you are on other forums, wihout providing context or links to the original discussion, then I for one dont particularly wish to engage with you any further."

    What original discussion? We demand to know!

    Droid: "it wouldnt be so bad if youd actually attempted a defence of Zizeks points,"

    Translation: it wouldn't be so bad if you had actually attempted a defence of Chomsky.

    Droid: "but instead were treated to a short essay on Democracy and the whys and wherefores of the differences between Chomsky and Zizek's approaches - a piece (though irrelevant) you obviously thought was so inspired that you felt the need to repeat it on another forum as an example of how you deal with 'oversensitive' Chomsky worshippers."

    A forum nearly dead these past two years, and not the only one either ... but you're welcome to attempt a regeneration ...

    Droid: "Might I suggest that if youre going to indulge in this kind of intellectual masturbation in the future, that you a) keep it private and, failing that b) dont get me involved in your narcissistic displays on other forums..."

    Shurely you mean: a) keep it public and b) you're not actually involved elsewhere.

    Has your precious vanity been wounded, invaded?

    Narcissism, ad hominems, and personalising/de-politicising this discussion are your forte, Droid. But you already know that, don't you?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padraig
    Narcissism, ad hominems, and personalising/de-politicising this discussion are your forte, Droid. But you already know that, don't you?
    If you can think of a more suitable response to the smug/patronising/condescending and intellectually superior tone you seem to adopt as a reflex action, then Im all ears... you could always write another 1000 words on an unrelated topic to prove your point though, and then post it on another forum to prove how clever you are.

    That seems to be your forte.

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