When Chomsky wept

When Chomsky wept – Salon.com.
“And, as 40 years earlier, I was above all struck by his unrelenting work. He spent almost all his time reading, writing, being interviewed in person or over the telephone, speaking and, in an act of generosity for which he is particularly known, continually answering an unending stream of emails — often for as much as five or six hours a day.

And, I discovered, he continued to speak widely all over the country and world, to the point where his schedule is usually filled up years in advance. At age 82 he kept a schedule that would overwhelm someone 40 years younger.

I was also struck by his asceticism. When I telephoned him I realized he had the same phone number and lived in the same modest suburban home as he had 40 years ago. He wears jeans, and has virtually no interest in food or material possessions. He is periodically visited by friends and family, but engages in no other leisure-time activities.

I was particularly moved one night as I was sitting opposite him at dinner, struck as usual by the enormous distance between what Noam knows about U.S. leaders’ slaughter of innocents around the world and what the public realizes. I suddenly thought of Winston Smith from Orwell’s “1984,” who sees little hope of changing society and focuses only on trying to remain sane and commit to paper the truth in the hope that future generations will remember it. I told Noam that to me, at that moment, he represented Winston Smith to me.

I will always remember his reaction.

He just looked at me.

And smiled sadly.”

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