Permit the cliche, but rumors of Noam Chomsky's death have been greatly exaggerated. Two days ago we reported on Hugo Chavez's speech to the United Nations in which he called US President George Bush "the devil" and complained that the smell of "sulfur" still permeated the air around the podium where Bush spoke. But that wasn't the only curious statement that came from Chavez that day. At another point during his speech, Chavez held up a copy of Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance, urging his listeners to read the book rather than watch movies, which "make people stupid." The Venezuelan president also expressed regret that he was not able to meet Chomsky before the famed linguist's death.
One problem--Chomsky's not dead. Reached at his house in Lexington, MA, the 77-year-old told the New York Times that he is not only still alive, but working as hard as ever. Indeed, although he's retired from teaching, he still commutes to his office at MIT and is currently working on a new book (Mr. Chavez will undoubtedly be thrilled to hear about this last point). Being name-checked by the Venezuelan president does appear to have its advantages, however--Hegemony or Survival went from 160,722nd place on Amazon.com's rankings list to number seven, virtually overnight.