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Writers & Company: Noam Chomsky, linguist and thinker

Highlighting books and their authors, new works and old classics, fiction and non-fiction, the CBC Radio program Writers and Company is devoted to the world of reading. Hosted by thoughtful and knowledgeable broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel since its creation in 1991, the program features the best in the written word from Canada and around the world.

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The New York Times called him "the most important intellectual alive." Noam Chomsky's field is linguistics, but he's better known for his ideas on society, politics and the media. Chomsky's political awareness started when he was young: at age 10 he wrote about the Spanish Civil War for a school newspaper. In this wide-ranging 1994 interview on CBC Radio's Writers and Company, Chomsky talks about his decision in 1964 to eschew a comfortable professor's life in favour of devoting himself to civil rights and the antiwar movement.
• In 2003 Chomsky told the New York Times: "I don't like the intellectual label. In the academic world, most of the work that is done is clerical. A lot of the work done by professors is routine."

• During a 2006 speech at the United Nations, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez brandished Hegemony and Survival, Chomsky's critique of U.S. foreign policy, and exhorted people to buy it. (His plug propelled the book's sales considerably.) Chávez also said he regretted that he hadn't had a chance to meet Chomsky before he died. However, Chomsky was still alive - though retired from full-time teaching - and remained so as of 2008. 

Medium: Radio
Program: Writers & Company
Broadcast Date: March 27, 1994
Guest(s): Noam Chomsky
Host: Eleanor Wachtel
Duration: 50:08
Photo: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

Last updated: June 20, 2014

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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