Celebrating Chomsky’s birthday

Week two of SFI passed uneventfully. It continues to be excellent although we can’t help but sit there letting about 70% of it wash over us as incompressible. It seems that usually someone or other understands what the teacher is saying and that manages to carry the class forward. It’s very interesting trying to learn a new language. I think I’m still in awe of myself trying and can’t quite believe I ever will. But nothing ventured, nothing gained…
Although it feels like a mountain to climb, it is an excellent excuse for reading kids books and last night I branched out into film and tried to watch Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking). Perhaps not surprisingly I could really only make out a couple of words!

It’s now turned icy cold here which is a relief after all that horrid rain. Braving the cold on Thursday night I took the ferry across to Lindholmen and met up with K and friends to watch Manufacturing Consent – a film all about Chomsky and seeing as it’s his 80th birthday coming up, we ate cake to celebrate. Although he is one of the leading intellectuals of the day and certainly has some of the best politics, I don’t think there is much in the way of films about him. I think this one is a good attempt to introduce people to ‘Chomsky the political activist’. Chomsky himself if somewhat ambivalent about the film, in part because he feels the medium of film is prone to heroizing. He says he regularly receives letters asking how people can ‘join his movement’, which is of course frustrating when he is just one person in a whole diverse sea of people working towards a better world. I think the fact that he is a professor at MIT, articulate, white and male gives him a certain credibility to begin with but also he is extremely hardworking and in the public eye and that in itself is going to lead to a certain amount of admiration. So while he isn’t the figurehead of any movement he is certainly able to analysis, collate and present evidence that is used to support anarchist interpretations of theories of power, propaganda and control – which is something that makes anyone read his work feel less isolated in their own interpretation of the world and more empowered to try and change it for the better.

On Friday after work I met up with Karin at Botaniska and walked around the wooded laked area behind it. It was cold but beautiful and the pearly white deposits of frozen water sparkled on the trees and the heather and the frozen ice shapes on the lakes and puddles made the world seem calmer and stiller. There was hardly anyone there and we spent a couple of hours wandering around and stiffening up in the cold before coming back to the flat for a well earned fika.

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