Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Noam Chomsky: What do they mean by 'anti-American?'

Who has done more to deconstruct the double talk and get to what matters: the underlying motives of power and authority? What then is behind Chomsky's marginalization (an understatement... more like his almost total absense from liberal/progressive discourse). What is it about his analysis of the U.S. political, economic propaganda machine that has earned him his place with dustballs and dirty socks--under the bed and out of sight ? When was the last time Chomsky's name was cited on Daily Kos... let alone The Huffington Post? As though the left center had swallowed whole the right wing's demonization--afraid to so much as mention his name.

Richard Crary has a post on (mostly) just this on the Exixtence Machine.

I’ve also been thinking about literature and politics: more specifically—about the relationship between literature and politics on this blog. There’ve been occasions when I’ve written an overtly political piece, only to delete it the next day--as though this raised questions about my intentions for the Barking Dog: questions I still don’t know how to address.

All literature is infused with politics. I say that in the same way I would claim that all literature is infused with Eros. That said, I find overtly political fiction and poetry is to what I might call (after Hannah Arendt), the politics of the human condition—what pornography is to Eros.
At the same time, discussions of art that remain detached from any recognizable political ground feel utterly frivolous, lacking in flesh and blood. At this point, I confess that I’m at a loss as to how to integrate these elements, which are in their essence, or should be... inseparable.
 This goes back to something I think I got from Camus: neither victims nor executioners.  If that sounds like seeking 'middle ground,' you haven't read Camus.
I am of two sides on this, on the one hand, a radical-- way off the visible political spectrum, and on the other,  a pragmatist: that is... one who would acknowledge the entangled reality that has to be got through to accomplish even the most modest of goals. The things I read on political blogs and in print commentary are, on the one hand,  either goal defined critiques without regard to political realities, or prescriptive views that let perceived pragmatic formulas define and determine the goal--as though they set the limits to imagined possibilities. And there is my problem.
The 'middle ground' is slavery: recapitulation of the worst of the past.  Is this where literature and politics join hands? The future is never gained by seeking middle ground, nor in joining with one extreme or another... but holding them both together at once--in all their contradictory power... though they tear us assunder as we try.

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