NOAM CHOMSKY: The Imperial Presidency: CD

Okay, look: I would never bag on AK Press (or Chomsky himself) for putting out discs like this. But I’ve always viewed political lectures and spoken word CDs the same way I view comedy albums: you listen to it once and then, if your friends are over and you’re drinking beer, you slap it on (though I can’t honestly see slapping this one in when we’re all drinking Pabst and shooting the shit). Point is, those types of albums generally garner a listen or two, and then I forget about ‘em. Chomsky, by now pretty much the godfather of the punk soundbite, is an experienced lecturer, obviously, and his presentations are complex. Guy’s a linguist; the stuff’s wordy, you know? For me, I’d rather have a book of the same material to pore over; I could take my time and decipher just what the hell he’s getting at, a line at a time. On this disc, I made it to the third track (“Rescinding the Geneva Convention”) and I was already lost, trying to decipher what he’d said four sentences before. Anyway, this disc is subtitled “Sovereignty, Terror, and the ‘Second Superpower’” and is Chomsky’s most recent dismantling of the War on Terror, the concept of “pre-emptive war” and a pointed comparison between the Bush Administration’s agenda regarding “terrorist threats” and what their underlying priorities actually are. I figure I’m probably just a bit slower than the average guy, but if you’re going to put this one in the CD player, sit close: you’re gonna want to hit the pause button and let certain statements sink in to the gray matter before you move ahead. Personally, if I had to choose a format, I’d take the print version of this thing any day.

 –keith (AK Press)