'Canto 3'
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from The Immodest Proposal

COMPARATIVE LITTÉRATEUR IMPUGNS LACK OF REMORSE IN TRUTH-TELLING LINGUIST

Cf. Times Literary Supplement,1st Aug. 1997.

As the New Haven fog comes up to cloak us

in obscurantist jargon, to inveigle

muzzy consent to cant, to hocus pocus,

poor dormice, high on academic treacle,

find Chomsky “difficult to bring in focus...”

when sighting, not through the Eyepiece of the Eagle,

but - scutthered with CompLit,  copious & preposterisch 

- straight out through the Arsehole of the Ostrich.

 

An Ostrich Voice, emerging from the mop:

one Peter Brooks, brings his (Yale) Uncle Tom’s Key

to CompInnocence  (do I hear Stop!?)

- he’ll pack ‘em in, he’ll fill those seats with bums (Gee!)

- saunters onboard the Goodship Lollipop,

faux naïf,  piqued at finding Noam Chomsky’s

political writings “oddly  untheoretical”

(the which decoded, damns him as heretical.)

 

Penned in his vacant Field  (Comparative Literature -

a null set, is it? No? Well quote me some!)

does Brooks in his “wisdom”  then infer

that if the “honest “ Chomsky were to come

up with A Theory,  some special Chair

is his, to expound his Syllabus of Un-

welcome “Truths”  (Hear this! Don’t interrupt!)

“First: Academe is Massively Corrupt.

 

“Abuse of American” (& not just sexual)

“Power - a Foreign Policy of Bland

Lies that the media accept as factual...”

(Posts of Eternal Vigilance?  Unmanned!)

Chomsky’s concentration on the actual -

“remorselessly  detailed” - they cannot stand;

lacks glitz, brings no prestige; unsuitable

for common room debate - “and irrefutable!”

 

Chomsky’s exposés  -  not disseminated

by influential quarterlies” -  out of phase

with currents of the moment? Protest? Dated!

Enter “American tendency to erase

all that is not mainstream” - Moloch placated

- and no one’s doing  it? Right, go on, amaze

me more! Say “Force of Nature - Act of God...”

(Now that for CompLit  would be truly odd!...)

 

Somebody’s doing  it - present tense, not past,

conspiring to keep Chomsky on the shelf.

“Mendacity of the managerial caste”

- practised by Professors?  Tenure & pelf

sideline dissent? - Poor Brooks - the “Truth”  at last!

Scholars no more dishonest than himself

(the “influential” pup) - are censors, is it?

He’s not just CompLit,  comrades, he’s CompLicit!

 

“Remorseless detail.”  Ought one feel remorse

for hammering uncomfortable facts

into the public mind until it hurts?

...And “influential quarterlies”  form pacts

(“mainstream press” ahead of them of course)

to sideline, sneer at, silence, suppress,  axe

subversive “truths.”  “But boring!”  (Hatchet Brooks)

“Let me have Theories!”  (No broth - all cooks.)

 

But O with what fastidious disdain

Brooks can handle ersatz conscience teasers.

Brash talk of “moral  courage” gives him pain

- & who but the most  shameless of crowd-pleasers

cites “honesty”  - & this is Chomsky’s claim?!

Terms as above demand the use of tweezers!

(One lifts them delicately by their quotes,

ignores the beam, & zeroes in on motes.)

 

Once sketched a caricature (I  did! Me!)

- an Ithaca professor wrapped in fur:

“Zhou haef to haef a Seeory, you see

- wissout one, History  Shall Not Occur!

Mere anecdotes  may travel oversea

from Nicaragua or East Timor...

Atrocities? Hearsay! A random scatter -

spread thin, statistically they scarcely matter.”

 

But would we be forgiven for inferring

“Theory”  should be thought  guiltless in the long view?

That “theorists”  may not be seen as bearing

the burden for nefarious deeds & wrongs due

to pigheaded“creative  moral  daring”

of ethical chancers, who because they long to

live “beyond good & evil” flatten the fence

of common decency & common sense?

 

So where would you leave the Theory  of Lenin -

ruthless Dictatorship, not of the Pro-

letariat, but of the Constipated Spleen

of Intellectuals squatting on the po?

The racial Theories  of Chamberlain

(Houston Stewart)? How much did Nietzsche know?

Romantic prophet Marx - was he so hot?

Was Hitler? Mao? Stalin? Was Pol Pot?

 

1997

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