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Why the Chomskians Are Mistaken
40. The hollow self-justification by supporters that these doctrines must be valid, because their promulgator is the most often cited modern author in scholarly literature. This appeal to numbers rings false both in itself but also because of the circumstances surrounding most scholarly work. Virtually all fields of study are to one extent or another grounded in language, and it is therefore natural that scholars in all these areas will seek to ground their own studies in some reflections based on the study of linguistics. Since there has allegedly been only one major theory of linguistics accessible over the past several decades, it is scarcely surprising that scholars would have found their way to its available sources and felt obliged to quote from them.
41. The question of whether TGG is in fact a linguistic theory at all or has rather become something far closer to a religious cult. It certainly puts forward what appear to be cult-like beliefs and specializes in a form of compulsory indoctrination for all who wish to join its inner precincts. Its ceremonies for anointing the faithful and for casting anathema on non-believers are too well-known to require extended comment. Among devout believers Chomsky is regarded as sage, seer, guru, almost godlike in his omniscienceas one zealot on the newsgroup "alt.fan.noam-chomsky" informed the author: "Chomsky doesn't make factual mistakes. Period."
And one high acolyte named Rudolf Botha has actually written an entire book called Challenging Chomsky, where he portrays his hero as the ultimate chess wizardan incarnation like Ingmar Bergmann's chess-playing Death figure in The Seventh Seal, invariably defeating and destroying all who dare to oppose himand refers to him repeatedly as "The Master."
Botha forgets that both Woody Allen and Bill-and-Ted in their "excellent adventure" easily ran rings around this very death figure and ended up making him quite literally dance to their tune. The truth of the matter is that the chess table over which "The Master" presides, like gambling tables around the world, is a rigged game run by a rigged company, addressing only a small subset of the full problems posed by the totality of written and spoken language. Caught in such a compromised situation, wise players will simply throw the game across the room, destroy the table, and attempt to warn others against ever being forced to play that game again.
Perhaps the ugliest of the Chomskiansthough there are several candidatesBotha takes delight in describing challenges to Chomsky as a "blood-sport" and triumphantly displays the names of those who have fallen to his liege lord like a low-level martinet talking back to the severed heads of his master's enemies skewered on pikes above the castle walls. Perhaps this promising young Igor also scavenges for their other bodily remains by night and collects them to patch together into the TGG Monster that rages through the city in search of victims. But of the eleven voices critical of TGG named on this web page (Aarsleff, Andresen, Dostert, Faust, Hall, Herdan, Koerner, Maher, Mehta, Putnam, and Richards), he mentions only one (Putnam) in the exhaustive index of his fawningly obsequious tribute to "The Master."
Moreover, while allegedly critical of Orwellian excesses in the American media, TGG advocates nonetheless practice their own variety of Orwellian propaganda and perpetrate their own form of "Newspeak" for the greater glory of their creed. Speaking of one scholar critical of TGG, Koerner writes: "Those who believe Maher is right do not belong to the TGG camp, and those who belong to it, stonewall his challenge: they will not read his (or anyone else's) work (unless it subscribes to the basic tenets of TGG); there is a general agreement among them to keep silent about such non-TGG work, and students are asked by their teachers to ignore it."
42. The easily discoverable truth that even those who imagine they subscribe to these cult doctrines often do not have the foggiest notion of what they contain and are unable to explain what they mean beyond rote and rudimentary repetition (and they often make mistakes even doing this).
43. The supposed authority of Aristotle was long ago abandoned by all schools of learning taking themselves seriously as sciences. All but one, that is. It cannot be promising that TGG still hearkens back to the doctrines of Aristotle as a major basis for its own belief system. For confirmation of this matter, see once again the author's piece The Emperor's New Linguistics elsewhere in this section of this website.
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This piece is Copyright © 2000
by Alexander Gross, with specified
portions Copyright © 2000 by
Sergio Navega. It may be
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