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?