[Marxism] [Pen-l] Fwd: What It's Like to Be Noam Chomsky's Assistant - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Perelman, Michael MPerelman at csuchico.edu
Mon Dec 21 11:18:03 MST 2015

Chomsky came to Chico years ago.  He gave 3 1.5 hour lectures without a break.  One was on international politics; one on the media.  I don't remember the other one, but they were all exceedingly impressive.  We decided on the subjects shortly before his presentation.  Nonetheless, in his lectures, he would say something like "on July 16 1986, the NY Times wrote: "... he filled in the blanks.  Someone who walked in to the lectures would be sure that he spent many days preparing them.  As we walked across the campus, students would greet him and give him their name.  Chomsky would respond, with something like "Your last message about Palestine ..."  I asked him how many hours per day he corresponds with students from Chico.  He said, an hour or two for correspondence.  We went to a dinner with a few people, then a reception that lasted till midnight.  I picked him up the next day at 8:00 AM.  He then began to tell me about what he had been reading the night before.  Noam Chomsky is AMAZING.

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Mperelman at csuchico.edu
Chico, CA 95929
fax 530-898-5901

-----Original Message-----
From: pen-l-bounces at lists.csuchico.edu [mailto:pen-l-bounces at lists.csuchico.edu] On Behalf Of Louis Proyect
Sent: Monday, December 21, 2015 6:40 AM
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>; Progressive Economics <pen-l at lists.csuchico.edu>
Subject: [Pen-l] Fwd: What It's Like to Be Noam Chomsky's Assistant - The Chronicle of Higher Education

I could see from his work that his memory was a force of nature, and one day I dared to ask him about it. He told me he has what he calls "buffers," or little drawers in his brain that he opens to retrieve conversations and correspondence from as long as 50 years ago. He told me he thought for a long time that everyone had this ability.


I got some exposure to this about a decade ago when I was walking along 120th Street near B'way during lunch when a cab pulled up and Chomsky stepped out on his way to some speaking engagement at Columbia. Since his daughter was a Tecnica volunteer, I thought I'd introduce myself. 
Five seconds after my introduction, he began commenting about what his daughter and other volunteers had done in Nicaragua more than a decade earlier. My jaw dropped.
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