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Chomsky Named 'Top Intellectual' in Brit Poll

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  • Chomsky Named 'Top Intellectual' in Brit Poll

    Originally posted by Breitbart
    Noam Chomsky, the American linguistics expert and US foreign policy critic, was named the world's top public intellectual, according to a new British magazine poll released.

    Best known for his loud and consistent criticism of the Vietnam War and US foreign policy over the last 40 years, Chomsky, 76, decisively beat Italian novelist and academic Umberto Eco and third-placed Oxford University professor Richard Dawkins to top the poll.

    Now an emeritus professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chomsky first became known for his theory of grammar developed at MIT in the 1950s, which held that the ability to form structured language is innate in the human mind.

    He later became known for his political activism. He published his first collection of political writings in 1969, and has penned over 40 books.

    Of 20,000 voters in the Prospect/Foreign Policy poll published this week in Prospect magazine, 4,800 voted for Chomsky to Eco's 2,500.

    Vaclav Havel, the playwright and former Czech president who led Czechoslovakia's 1989 "Velvet Revolution" that toppled communism, came fourth.

    Perhaps more surprising than Chomsky's victory was the dearth of young and female names at the top of the list. Only two of the top 10, pro-Iraq war British journalist Christopher Hitchens and British novelist Salman Rushdie, were born after World War II, and the highest-placed female intellectual was Canadian journalist and activist Naomi Klein.

    Voters mainly came from Britain and the United States.

    Chomsky was unimpressed with the honour, telling The Guardian newspaper that polls were something "I don't pay a lot of attention to," adding that "it was probably padded by some friends of mine."
    http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/1....77esbn1j.html
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

  • #2
    There must be a real scarcity of 'intellectuals' about nowadays, if Christopher Hitchens made Nآ؛ 5. on the list.

    Some naked, one on one, bare knuckle, 'intellectual' action, between "drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay" Hitchens and 'Gorgeous' George Galloway:
    Democracy Now: The Grapple In The Big Apple.

    On that evidence, Nآ؛ 6 on the Prospect Magazine list must be either Tom Cruise, or Adam Sandler. :(

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    • #3
      Originally posted by AndroMan
      There must be a real scarcity of 'intellectuals' about nowadays, if Christopher Hitchens made Nآ؛ 5. on the list.

      Some naked, one on one, bare knuckle, 'intellectual' action, between "drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay" Hitchens and 'Gorgeous' George Galloway:
      Democracy Now: The Grapple In The Big Apple.
      I actually watched some of the "debate" and it was sort of fun, and yes there does seem to be a scarcity of "intellectuals" with mass venue these days, or maybe Rupert Murdoch and his ilk own too many of the soapboxes.
      "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AndroMan
        There must be a real scarcity of 'intellectuals' about nowadays, if Christopher Hitchens made Nآ؛ 5. on the list.
        I hear you. I still don't know what to make of the guy. I read Vanity Fair regularly and sometimes his column makes me go, "Hitchens is pretty smart and I agree with him" and other times I'm all, "What the hell is this idiot talking about?"

        Of course, I'm still trying to figure out Chomsky, too, so what do I know?
        "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
        --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

        Comment


        • #5
          Chomsky might be a little dismissive of such nominations because I think he considers anyone, whether mechanic, plumber or taxi driver, who bears an actively self-aware analytical view of world events (as opposed to being a passive recipient of the mainstream media) to be an intellectual. The only thing distinguishing establishment intellectuals is really the advantageous skill set they pick up from their academic background, ie research skills, and their knowledge of where best to look for key information.

          I admire Chomsky. Imho he is a smart dude with a lot of guts. It took a lot for him to take up his life of dissident political activism at the time he did, when he was at the top of his field with all the academic comforts of his position, he stood to loose much by speaking out, but he felt strongly that he had to follow his conscience, no matter the risk. He makes for a fascinating read, and I recomend his book 'Understanding Power' as a good Chomsky primer. If you can rent or borrow the documentaries 'Manufacturing Consent' or 'Distorted Morality' these are good too. I can't see all of what he has to say being too much of an eye opener for the more politically and socially aware members of this forum, but if you're not familiar with his stuff he's definitely worth looking into.

          PS I don't agree with his stance on all issues but do consider him one of the most important and influential thinkers of the post modern culture.

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          • #6
            And don't forget his work on transformational grammars, either.

            LSN

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            • #7
              Guardian UK interview with Noam Chomsky:

              http://books.guardian.co.uk/departme...605276,00.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's the full list: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/intellectuals/results A very clear win for Mr Chomsky.

                I must be thicker than I thought, because I haven't even heard of most of the people on that list, let alone formed an opinion of them.

                Does anyone know who actually reads 'Prospect Magazine'?

                And who's the most popular private intellectual.

                Seriously, though, I don't quite know whether Chomsky's all he's cracked up to be.

                Views on him are so polarised (check this debate, for example: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/ar...ls.php?id=7110) that, in a way, he has an easy time of it; his followers will lap up what he has to say and his detractors will dismiss it out of hand, just because of where it came from.

                He loses the plot sometimes; defending a Holocaust denier http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faurisson wasn't a very smart move for a start, even for someone of libertarian views. And recently I read an interview conducted with him before the Iraq war, in which he said that it would be easy for the US to invade and take over Iraq. 2000 deaths later... :(
                \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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