March 31, 2006

Magic Shuffle vs. Noam Chomsky

Yesterday I played a round of Magic Shuffle, the oracle that uses your MP3 player's suffle feature to tell your fortune. It was fun and all, but the questions ("What do my friends really think of me?") were just a little too MySpacey.

Also yesterday, as it happened, my friend Susan sent me a link Noam Chomsky's Washington Post Web chat, in which Chomsky fields some hardball questions from readers who make the people that show up at Bush town meetings sound like Woodward and Bernstein. Which got me wondering: how would Magic Shuffle answer those same questions? More succinctly, at any rate.

Why do you think the US went to war against Iraq?
Chicken Soup With Rice — Carole King. Code for "oil" if I ever heard it. Note to self: delete kids' songs from the iPod (except Pierre — that's a pop masterpiece).

Noam - I heard you talking about international law on alternative radio and (I think) expounding the idea that the Bush administration's flavor of premtive war is illegal. I agree that the Bush administration's actions are illegal. Would you comment on how much we should submit to international law in that area?
Lookin' for a Love — The Valentinos. Translation: A lot, because we want foreigners to like us.

Professor Chomsky, I don't recall your exact quote, but I believe you have said something to the effect, that in your opinion, the mainstream media outlets in the US have gotten better since 9-11 with getting out accurate, more accessible, less-censored news to the general public. My husband disagrees, he thinks that the editorial boards of too many mainstream news outlets slant too much to the right. I agree in some situations. Look at how NPR is now. Can you expand on your opinion of the current state or trends, of US mainstream news outlets? Thank you!
Splatter Splatter — Moxy Fruvous. The MSM is killing us. And they're having fun doing it. Just what somebody who thinks NPR slants too much to the right wants to hear.

Are you really so much of a stereotypical "say as I do, not as I say" liberal icon that you deride tax shelters and trust funds, all the while setting up one of your own, or is the story that's been a hot topic on the internet the past few days a lie?
Party’s Just Begun — Nelly Furtado. Did somebody say tax shelter?!

Why is the Republican spin (propaganda) so effective with the American public?
Halley’s Waitress — Fountains of Wayne. Because people are inattentive and self-absorbed.

Everyone in basic linguistics knows of your work. What are you doing these days in linguistics? I've had some interesting discussions with several neurobiologists... turns out the Language Organ may actually exist, heh heh.
Good Good Loving — The Simms Twins. He said language organ, pal.

From a sociolinguistic perspective, do you think that the way that the US conveys messages is affecting the perception of the US negatively in the international community? If so, what would you suggest to government officials to keep in mind as they shape public statements?
So In Love — Ella Fitzgerald. Taunt me, and hurt me? Deceive me, desert me? Mission accomplished!

Professor Chomsky, I am curious if you have any understandings and, or opinions of the global water situation? Where do you see us in 10-20 years trying to sustain and distribute water?
Danca Dos Meninos — Uakti. Instrumental track = dodging the question

I've read a lot of your works and i can't figure out where exactly to locate you in terms of political philosophy: social democrat, socialist, communist? One useful barometer would be to know if you believe in a right to private property? if, yes, what are the limits of that right?
I Fought the Law — The Clash. So, anarchist?

Noam, there is a general conception that the public is much more cynical and jaded these days than past; and yet it also seems that the public is gullible ("Manufacturing Consent"). How can I reconcile these 2 notions? Or is it as simple as anticipating and manipulating people's distrust (in 9/11's case, xenophobia)?
Isle of Capri — Frank Sinatra. Or maybe the people just want a vacation.

What do you feel are the limits to 'free speech' given the arguments recently over racial hatred and religious intolerance?
Talkin’ Loud and Sayin Nothing — James Brown.

You stated in a previous response that "It's the actions and policies that have left the US government remarkably isolated, feared and often hated to an extent with no historical precedent. " What if any, have been the most negative international reaction from those actions which have adversely affected the US? I am familiar with losing partners in the "war on terror", but I am looking more at business decisions of other countries/international corporations.
A Little Bit Lonesome — Kasey Chambers.

Many fear the country is moving towards a "police state" where the Executive acts according to its desires, without constraint. What possibilities do you see, if any, for the trend towards consolidation of power in the Executive to be thwarted?
Fire and Rain — Me First and the Gimme Gimmies. Damn. We were on a roll there for the last couple, but now I'm confused again. So we're mourning the fact that we'll never see democracy again — but ironically?

Do you believe that Latin America can be successful in developing alternatives to Washington Consensus neoliberal policy and do you believe that Globalization is a real thing as often portrayed by writers like Thomas Friedman?
Why Can’t You Behave — Ella Fitzgerald. I take it that's addressed to Friedman

[More Magic Shuffle]

Posted by Daniel Radosh

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