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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

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Sunday 06 November 2005

Counterpunch on Brockes

Yesterday, I mentioned Emma Brockes smug and inept interview of Noam Chomsky. Today, I note (via Dead Men Left), Alexander Cockburn's excellent piece on Brockes' "fakery":

Brockes is claiming that Chomsky had, in reference to Srebrenica, put the word massacre in quotation marks, thus deprecating the idea that it was in fact a massacre. There's no other way to construe the sentences. Here's "massacre" in its quote marks and then in the next sentence "Chomsky uses quotation marks to undermine things he disagrees with" Next comes Brockes' summary of Chomsky's position, identified by use of the "witheringly teenage" quote marks: "Srebrenica was so not a massacre."

Now this is no little parlor game Brockes is engaged in here. For Guardian readers, a man who denies that a massacre took place at Srebrenica is not one who deserves to be voted the top intellectual on the planet. The opening headlines set Chomsky up, and the quote marks round the word massacre knock him down.

But there's no sentence in which Chomsky has ever suggested with the use of those quotation marks that a massacre in Srebrenica did not take place. There are passages, easy to find , in which Chomsky most definitely says it was a massacre. Brockes is faking it.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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