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foucault / chomsky on larry king

with 3 comments

Now that would be something, eh? Not quite that, but not altogether different either:

Via threequarksdaily:

(The second part of the show is available here…)

Two things.

1) I’d never seen video of Foucault before. Strange. And strange how it changes your sense of someone once you have seen footage.

2) I found myself wondering, as I watched this, if my own work / ideas / findings could be spelled out as succinctly as Chomsky and Foucault do here. That’s not normally how we think (are taught to think) about things in the subfield of “theory.” Can’t just read extracts. Summary doesn’t do justice. There is a point to be made performatively by not reducing to the sound bite. Right? But – oh is it ever obvious, I know – there’s something to this. How many of us could pull it off today?

(Quite possibly I’m just sharing the echoes of what it’s like to draw near the end of (a first draft of???) your first book. Which is my day job, right now. I’m cramping crazily on the last few pages – there’s so much more to be said! Why can’t I stop hiding behind the particulars and just say what it is that I’ve been samizdating all along? Would it even work? Is there a point? Or just hithering thithering ambiguity / complexity?

The next book, I hope, will be simpler….)

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 6, 2006 at 10:53 pm

Posted in teevee, theory

3 Responses

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  1. A beautiful moment captured here for posterity. Given the rigid divide between the neo-conservative & neo-liberal world in which I circulate and the less cocksure 19th-century capitalist world in which my research circulates, I sometimes forget that some voices of thoughtful radicalism exist in the world of video.

    I find the youth, vigor, and eloquence of Foucault here quite irresistible (the photographs I know always paint him as powerful but aloof). But the most endearing aspect is the way that this discussion between Chomsky and Foucault works precisely as would a discussion about Chomsky and Foucault–say, in a Theory class. Is it possible to model a utopian society from within our current discursive formation or are we limited for now to more modest acts of resistance and pleasure?


    July 7, 2006 at 9:36 am

  2. Yes, Pollian (hey!)… That’s what appealed to me too. One would expect all sorts of hedging – but I’m not sure anything’s really lost in the translation.

    Our dual desires, stances: Chomsky’s attempt to build something up, Foucault’s suspicion that the very gesture is bound to repeat the problems that we are attempting to correct in the first place.


    July 7, 2006 at 2:00 pm

  3. As a (sad? humorous?) contrast, I just stumbled across a slightly more recent Chomsky interview:


    July 9, 2006 at 8:57 am

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