my interest in noam chomsky is mostly not that sexual

After a storm of activity in the tutoring center over the past few days, with about a hundred students trundling through for concentrated help, today was a slow day, blessedly slow, and I used the quiet time to hear most of a very long conversation with Noam Chomsky.

            Chomsky’s a linguist and an expert on foreign affairs and I fall asleep to the sound of his voice literally every night. You should try it yourself! If you’ve got an Amazon Echo, just say, “Alexa, play Noam Chomsky.”

            She’ll go all night.

(And that’s not a joke. Try it just for a nap. Tell me if it isn’t the nicest thing to sleep to.)

            But today at work was the first time in a while that I’ve really listened to Chomsky speak, and it always inspires me. I seldom recognize the names or “-ism”s or events he’s referencing, but that’s fine, because what ignites me is that he’s so clearly a model of self-motivated intellectual rigor, which is what I guess I aspire to be, and–maybe You’ll disagree with me here–he’s got what strikes me as a quintessential Teacher’s Demeanor.

For example:

there’s one point during this call-in show where somebody asks him if he believes that the world’s conflicts have something to do with a male fear of Goddess energy around the world. He tells the caller he isn’t equipped to say whether it is or isn’t, “But I’d be interested to know what you think about it.”

            Would he?

Chomsky art by BarkedOnce (you can buy it on Etsy!)

Probably not–but it was a really sweet response.

            Anyway. Just hearing Chomsky talk about his fields of study, and getting a sense for the scope of his knowledge, makes me wanna crack a book and focus. And it comes on the heels of my reading a forum on reddit where people talk about the strange social things that turn them on, usually non-sexual things that their partner does that have an unintentionally sexy vibe (lotsa women were talking about when men roll their shirt up to the elbow; men talked about women’s bedhead; the charms of callused hands versus soft hands; shit like that), and there was lots of commiseration (I think it was across genders) around the experience of sitting and hearing somebody talk passionately about the things they understand very well…and gettin’ kinda hot about it.

And I think there’s a factor of that here, with my Chomsky obsession.

I’m not aroused by the sound of Noam Chomsky (I don’t think), but I think there’s some degree of that same hypnotizing effect going on here because why else, while playing Candy Crush or picking up my room or something, will I routinely put on an interview in which he’s talking at length about atrocities–a genocide or an assassination or an unprovoked bombing of a hospital in some country I’ve never heard of—something I’m not at all likely to even remember, because he packs so much information into his talks, and which’ll probably only work to upset me…

            I’m not sure what it is. I listen to Chomsky because I want to learn things from him, sure, but I’m also getting some kind of other thrill. I guess I’m imagining that I could someday sound so informed?

            Lemme think about it. I’ll get back to You.

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s