A Noam Chomsky Christmas
Announcer: We're here at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with MIT
Linguistics Professor Noam Chomsky, to celebrate the warmth and wonder
of everybody's favorite holiday. Dr. Chomsky, at the start of the
Christmas season, what are your thoughts at this time of year?
Chomsky: Well, there's a five-letter word that you're not allowed to say
at Christmas and it's not 'cheer', it's 'class'. Elites have manipulated
this traditional folk holiday of communal cooperation and celebration as
a part of an bitter and unrelentingly waged class war. If you read memos
from department store supervisors you'll see they read like inverted
Maoist tracts, a sort of 'vulgar Marxism'.
Announcer: Erm, and your holiday plans?
Chomsky: Well, my speaking schedule is very limited but I've been making
a point to speak to crowds that are off the beaten path. I'm going to
be speaking to an anarchist collective of elves at the North Pole. Part
of the increasing flow of advertising propaganda targeted against the
working class has been to portray elves as 'cute' and traditional, thus
portraying their labor organizing efforts as going against the holiday
Now, traditional stories like Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"
depict the upper class as becoming benevolent and giving, but in reality
we find that in America we are the least giving, in terms of charity, in
the Western world. You'll see plenty of talk decrying the commerciality
of Christmas but none about people coming together in solidarity to
celebrate, which is what the holiday is traditionally about. I have here
an article from the paper of record, the New York Times, and as usual
it's about what a good job the soup kitchens are doing - incidentally
noting the dramatic rise in the number of homeless patrons.
It's an increasingly Dickensian world, operating ever closer to
the Third World model of a small rich upper class and an increasingly
Announcer: Do you have any holiday gift recommendations?
Chomsky: Well, Santa Claus is portrayed as a paternal manifestation of
the welfare state which will benevolently give gifts to all without
regard. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality the biggest
gift getters are corporate executives, getting both outright grants and
tax breaks while their employees are lucky to get a lump of coal.
Instead, most people will be shopping at these big chain stores,
which make tremendous profit by preferential and illegal exclusionary
deals. These stores are supposedly operating in a free market but it's
anything but that. Further, the volume of their transactions means that
within their organizations, they are a virtual command economy, a
totalitarian top-down structure with no democratic input from their
At this time of increasing sales volume, many are staffed by
temporary workers, who have no benefits or health insurance and can't
afford to get sick. And there's not going to be a good-hearted Scrooge
to pay for your operation like he did for Tiny Tim. God bless us, every
one. We'll need it.
Announcer: Um, cut to commercial.
(this is, of course, a spoof: real Chomsky fun at: www.zmag.org/chomsky/index.cfm)