My bent pages

The New York Times notes that Hugo Chavez has launched the Chomsky book Chavez was hawking in his stemwinder at the UN to the top of the pops at Amazon. Slipped into the Times’s story on the Chavismo magic is this nugget:

Mr. Chomsky, 77, is hardly an obscure writer. Many people have heard of the outspoken professor, who is a darling of the left, even if they have not yet read his work. “I think Chávez speaking to it renewed interest and made people say, ‘I know that author and I’m going to check it out,’ ” said Bob Wietrak, vice president of merchandising at Barnes & Noble.

But Alan M. Dershowitz, the lawyer and Harvard Law School professor, said he doubted whether many of the current buyers would ever actually read the book.

“I don’t know anybody who’s ever read a Chomsky book,” said Mr. Dershowitz, who said he first met Mr. Chomsky in 1948 at a Hebrew-speaking Zionist camp in the Pocono Mountains where Mr. Dershowitz was a camper and Mr. Chomsky was a counselor.

“You buy them, you put them in your pockets, you put them out on your coffee table,” said Mr. Dershowitz, a longtime critic of Mr. Chomsky. The people who are buying “Hegemony” now, he added, “I promise you they are not going to get to the end of the book.”

He continued: “He does not write page turners, he writes page stoppers. There are a lot of bent pages in Noam Chomsky’s books, and they are usually at about Page 16.”

PAUL adds: Years ago, I made it through “For Reasons of State.” As I recall, it was a collection of his essays from the Vietnam-Cambodia war days. In fairness, I found Chomsky to be a readable apologist for genocide.


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