The NYPL Podcast
Podcast #177: Noam Chomsky and Wallace Shawn
The New York Public Library Podcast features your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers in smart talks and provocative conversations. Listen to some of our most engaging programs, discover new ideas, and celebrate the best of today’s culture.
Today on the show: MIT linguist, philosopher, and political theorist Noam Chomsky, in conversation with actor Wallace Shawn. For those who only know Shawn as perhaps Vizzini from The Princess Bride or Mr. Hall in Clueless, don't forget that he is also the son of famed New Yorker editor William Shawn, an accomplished playwright, has at times written political commentary for The Nation, and once even did a translation of Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. Among his intellectual heroes? Noam Chomsky.
Agree or disagree with Chomsky—and there is ample reason to do both—anyone of any ideological bent might at least find much to admire in his approach to thinking—which is to say that he does it with depth, rigor, and a reliance on data. When roughly 60% of news consumers get their news entirely in headlines and the same number share stories online that they haven’t read, it turns out that’s not such a small deal. On top of that, Noam Chomsky is also pretty funny. You'll want to hear him explain what he means when he says, “The history of life on earth refutes the claim that it’s better to be smart than stupid.”
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