One reader's rave

"Thanks for the newspaper with your book review. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this terrific piece of writing. It is beautiful, complex, scholarly. Only sorry Mr. Freire cannot read it!" -- Ailene

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Question for Noam Chomsky

I've received an email from Cindy Sheehan, informing me that she will have Professor Noam Chomsky on her radio show shortly and inviting listeners to submit questions for him. I've submitted this one:

"Hi! Here's what I'd like to ask Professor Chomsky:

"'In light of Hustler magazine's long history of offering both editorial and financial support to antiwar causes; in light of the fact that most of their readers, like those of other mass publications, need more not less education about the true US role in the world; and in light of the fact that women have made the most economic, legal, and political progress, as measured by the Gender Equality Index, precisely in those states where publications like Hustler are most widely available* — in light of all this, how can you justify your repudiation of the interview you gave them? How can you put your personal prejudices ahead of both scientific fact and the needs of the antiwar movement?'

"Eric Hamell
"Philadelphia, PA

"* The following can be read at

"'In 1990, findings of more recent research by Dr Larry Baron were published. He examined "the relationship between the circulation rates of soft-core pornographic magazines and gender equality in the 50 American states. Gender equality is measured with the Gender Equality Index (GEX) which combines 24 indicators of the status of women relative to men in the three institutional domains of politics, economics, and legal rights. Multiple regression analysis is used to test the hypothesis that the higher the circulation rate of soft-core pornographic magazines [such as Hustler — E.H.], the lower the level of gender equality. Several additional variables are included in the analysis to control for spurious relationships. Contrary to the hypothesis, the results show that gender equality is higher [my emphasis — E.H.] in states characterized by higher circulation rates of pornography. This relationship is interpreted as suggesting that pornography and gender equality both flourish in politically tolerant societies."' And:

"'Also, in 1991 Cynthia Gentry found no relationship between rape rates and circulation of sexually oriented magazines across metropolitan areas in the USA.'"

My interest in confronting Dr. Chomsky about this arises from an email exchange I had with him -- itself triggered by learning about his repudiation of the interview from a reference on Nina Hartley's discussion board (not safe for some workplaces!). Amazingly, he refused any responsibility to define the terms he used, such as "degrading," in justifying his decision. He also repeatedly misrepresented my plainly expressed positions -- something that particularly tends to drive me up the wall. I can provide a full transcript of our exchange to anyone who's interested.

The interview will air Sunday, October 25 [postponed to November], 2PM Pacific at or 3PM Central at 1360am Rational Radio, Dallas, TX). You can submit your own question for Professor Chomsky by writing Sheehan at

1 comment:

PhillyChief said...

Well I'd like to hear his answer. Interesting statistics, btw.