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Chomsky speaks

Noam Chomsky spoke yesterday at his alma mater. Sadly or happily, depending on how one views Chomsky in these parts, he is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Daily Pennsylvanian article about the talk labelled him a "dissident" which, I suppose, is true; however, "dissident" is tradionally used to describe those who critique a totalitarian state. As in one of the Oxford English Dictionary definitions: "In political contexts, one who openly opposes the policies of the government or ruling party, esp. in a totalitarian system." I don't think Chomsky qualifies as a "dissident."

After the talk, two Penn students were allowed to speak to the crowd and encourage its members to sign a petition advocating that Penn disinvest from its endowment all holding it has in Israel. Chomsky became the first Penn alum to sign on. I realize that Penn disinvesting from Israel is about as likely as it making me a full professor tomorrow, but I'm still speechless.


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