Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chavez and Chomsky

Hugo Chavez yesterday gave the most entertaining--and undiplomatic--address so far in the 61st General Assembly's general debate. It was also apparently the most vigorously applauded.

While the UN website that provides links to video and text for all of the speeches to date curiously says "text not available" next to the listing for President Chavez, the New York Times offers a summary and a few choice quotes. According to Helene Cooper's story, applause for Chavez "lasted so long that the organization’s officials had to tell the cheering group to cut it out."

What did Chavez say that fired up his cheerleaders? It might have been this unsubtle reference to President Bush, who spoke on Tuesday:

The devil came here yesterday, right here. It smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.

Sticks and stones, W, sticks and stones.

During the speech, Chavez held up a copy of Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky and recommended it to his audience. (And I thought my product placement ad for Seeking Security in an Insecure World during yesterday's Founder's Day Convocation at Pepperdine was good.) Later, according to the Times, at a news conference, "He suggested that Americans read Mr. Chomsky’s book instead of spending all their time 'watching Superman and Batman' movies."

That, Mr. Chavez, is going a bit too far.

[Update: You can see the portion of the speech in which Chavez recommends Chomsky's book here on YouTube. FP Passport provides a photo and a brief comment on the speech's impact on the sales rank for Hegemony or Survival.]