Thursday, February 22, 2007


One of the best documentaries I have seen is "Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media", and I had promptly bought the DVD when I first saw the film in the library. But somehow, I missed one of the special features on the disc, which I first watched a few months back- a 1969 debate between Chomsky and William F. Buckley, the star conservative pundit of American television. I want to say he is the Bill O'Reilly of yesteryears, but that would be a grave insult to him; Buckley is orders of magnitude more intelligent, charming, and smooth-talking than O'Reilly. O'Reilly is a bonafide nutcase in contrast.

The video clip is immense entertainment; notice how cleverly the smooth-talker Buckley tries to wiggle his way out of inconvenient points, how he resorts to charming sophistry to repeatedly throw Chomsky off track and tries to catch him in contradictions. In spite of these very clever efforts, in the end, Chomksy pristinely beats every one of his arguments and proves more than a match for him. As usual, Chomsky's casual and quiet sarcasm are priceless, and his arguments are spot on.

While I was thinking where I could find a link to this clip, I missed the obvious place- these days you really can find almost anything on Youtube.


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Blogger tejas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:30 PM  
Blogger tejas said...

chomsky certainly packs the punch despite his appearances.>here
is an arundhati roy article in the hindu (off wikipedia) following his lecture in chennai i believe.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Thanks for the link!

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Chetan said...

I couldn't take it. Buckley was so condescending. If I were in Chomsky's shoes I would have walked off instead of tolerating such insulting behaviour in the garb of a sophisticated drawl. I mean, he was behaving as if he was interrogating a serial killer or something. I am sorry but I couldn't share you sense of awe at the exchange. I found it appalling and Buckley to be too artificial and somebody who doesn't even pretend to listen.

While on things one can find on youtube... check out Ayn Rand's interview conducted by Mike Wallace in 1959. While admitting that Rand is not exactly a favourite of mine, I think she is very articulate int the second part of the interview. But all the while she looks like a 'chetkeen' in a Marathi kids play. No kidding.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Haha! I think Buckley can have that effect on viewers...he sure can get condescending. But I have to admit that he does sometimes try to catch Chomsky in clever contradictions.
I still prefer him to most hard-headed right wing nutjobs of today (naturally including the breathtakingly obnoxious O'Reilly). And I don't even want to remotely get started on Ann Coulter.
Thanks for the 'Rand Corporation' link

9:44 AM  

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