The leftist who can’t laugh
: The utter humorlessness of Noam Chomsky never ceases to amuse me.
The Observer interviews him on the release of his latest book (in which he says, ‘No president in that time, judged on the principles of Nuremberg, would have escaped hanging’ — with, of course, a straight face) and it begins with this exchange:
I start tentatively enough with a question about a remark he made recently in the New York Times about the fact that he continued to live in America, because it was ‘the greatest country in the world’. In what sense did he believe this?
He starts, too, as he means to go on. ‘I have to first of all give a background,’ he says, already a bit exasperated. ‘That interview never took place. It is rather interesting, interviews like that never take place.’
The New York Times made it up?
‘It was a senseless contraction of an hour-and-a-half telephone conversation in which I explained question by question why I am not going to answer this question or that question, because it is not a sensible question.’ Right.
‘And the published interview was contracted from the original questions and sentences extracted from my often lengthy explanations of why I was not going to answer. There is no country in the world where interviews like these would happen. Where these kind of trivial questions would be asked.’
What a blowhard.