“If you’re not first, you’re last”
—Ricky Bobby’s father, Talladega Nights
“It’s hard to hate from up close”
“The beauty of our system is that it isolates everybody. Each person is sitting alone in front of the tube, you know. It’s very hard to have ideas or thoughts under those circumstances. You can’t fight the world alone.”
It was all very well to say “Drink me,” but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. “No, I’ll look first,” she said, “and see whether it’s marked ‘poison’ or not.”
—Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland
Hours after almost everything I write (or even think), I come to detest the person who wrote the words. I do not often correct myself explicitly, although I try to overload what I do with the opposite from then on, until a happy liberal medium is struck. But this time I felt truly out of bounds in my criticism of the great Noam Chomsky, a man worthy of admiration and one of America’s greatest heroes.
Yes, Chomsky may only be second place in American intellectualism, but that by no means makes him worthy of the attacks I put upon him. Originally I had penned a piece that just proclaimed my praise for Mertz. But openly declaring love for someone (let alone another man like Mertz) seemed all too radical for me, even as I pretended to be the most radical person in the room. I therefore buried my love in useless hate…