Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don't Like Chomsky? Then You WILL Like This

And I like this. Here's a great article about Chomsky's pretensions to political expertise. ("Pretensions!?" you huff, "How dare you!") There is an excellent allusion to the concept of horizontal fame. That is, Henry Ford was good at automating and managing production, which led him to believe he was good at everything else, including (oddly enough) politics.

Chomsky and Ford certainly aren't the first to think that because they can win at one game, they're experts at all of them, but it's up to the rest of us to wring the hero-worship out of what we read and not buy into the cult of fame - which, ironically, Chomsky enjoys decrying.

If you want to see some of old Noam's more ambitious claims even within linguistics punctured, for my money, no one is better than Stephen Pinker.

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