Monday, March 15, 2010

Robert B. Parker

The very talented novelist Robert B. Parker was best-known, certainly, for creating the character of Spenser, the Boston private detective. Mr. Parker died in January, at age 77.

After he passed away, I re-read his first novel, The Godwulf Manuscript, published in 1973; I’d originally read it thirty years ago. It was just as enjoyable, revisited.

I think my favorite books by Mr. Parker are his earlier Spenser titles—in addition to The Godwulf Manuscript, books such as The Judas Goat, Mortal Stakes, and Looking for Rachel Wallace come to mind.

Mr. Parker was a skillful—and wonderfully entertaining—writer.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chomsky, America, Israel

I was browsing through Facebook recently (if you're not careful, you can waste a lot of time doing so), and looked at the page of someone I knew decades ago. In her list of favorite Facebook pages, she included a page about Noam Chomsky.

A number of people (largely on the left, though I am sure he has a significant number of right-wing fans as well) think of Noam Chomsky as brilliant; they regard him as a hero.

I am not in that camp. I think of Noam Chomsky’s ideas as being morally blind, dangerously misguided, frenetic, imbued with distortion.

His animus toward the United States, and its foreign policies, is tiresome, relentless—and routinely offensive. (In a November, 2001 interview, for example, he referred to the United States as "a leading terrorist state.") His obsessive hostility toward the state of Israel—rooted in a cartoon-like apprehension of the Middle East conflict (his views of the United States are similarly cartoon-like)—I have long found repellent.

Also repellent: an event currently underway, worldwide, known as “Israeli Apartheid Week.”

Here are two essays about the latter subject. The first is from Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. The second is from Canadian columnist Leonard Stern.