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Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky’s Files

Dig into the personal files of your favorite critic.

Our Shmoop detectives have discovered Chomsky's early notes for an expose on Obama's presidency that goes beyond Hopes and Prospects. In it, he discusses drones, the NSA, the Edward Snowden controversy, and more, in order to argue that the Obama administration is a huge darn mockery of Democracy. Have fun with this behind-the-scenes peek into Chomsky's writing process.

  • One challenge will be working on tone. The whole foreign affairs and home surveillance situations are so preposterous, I will find it challenging to avoid excessive irony or snide derision. (Although people have said that I am boring. Sadface.)
  • The central themes of American politics right now sound too much like a Tom Clancy novel to be believed. And what if there's a film option? I hate corporate media, so I am not too hot on that idea… but if I go there, it would be like Bourne Identity through the lens of Michael Moore. Also: call Oliver Stone —he's always good for a paranoid contra-patriotic documentary.
  • Back to basics on the book. So, what do we know?
    1. The U.S. is using high-tech surveillance to listen in on Americans' phone conversations. You thought Google and Microsoft were your "friends"? Wise up: those are corporations. And this minute-to-minute privacy invasion business is not just happening here; other countries use phone tapping, surveillance, drones, etc. But my focus needs to be on the Evil Empire: the U.S.A. (BTW: People ask me why I live here when I hate it so much. I could move to Haiti and become a tent-mate with Sean Penn, but then I would be eclipsed…)
      • Two of the biggest shockers: a) that some people are so shocked. Rise and shine, Americans. Your government is super shady. To Obama and company, you are the enemy. This ain't no Axis vs. Allies situation. This is a fear-your-own-population situation. Homegrown terrorism. Occupy. People are mad and the government doesn't like that.
      • Okay, now that we have that straight; we've got b) the let-it-all-hang-out Facebook generation doesn't care at all about privacy. What the heck is up with that?
    2. As for Snowden, why are we even having this debate as to whether he's a hero or a villain? He's the supreme whistleblower, bless his heart. [Insert image of me swooning and saying "My hero!"] He undertook that right and proper act of the citizen, which is "to let people know what their government is doing." That said, poor Edward is going to pay a high price for his acts. America is not a "forgive and forget" nation. My advice to him: find the nearest spider hole and/or compound and take cover.
    3. People have become so lazy—they care more about what their friends had at Starbucks than what U.S. policy is on Syria. Well, no one is listening in on their conversations anyway, because they are so boring. Last night's hook-up is not a national security threat, you lazy, self-indulgent kids. What's it gonna take to light a fire under you? Downsizing your character numbers in Twitter? Wake up and smell the fear, folks.
    4. Okay. Simmer down. Return to notes that led to the lecture in which I pronounced, Snowden "is a patriot," and "Obama is the biggest terrorist ever." Oh, and that Obama is "running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, maybe in history." May be too subtle—think about spicing up the language a little bit.
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