Noam Chomsky

In the diamond at the heart of the moon: Sixty-nine notes on the US elections, part 1

by Sam Truitt

Photo of a photo from a wall in Omar Perez’s apartment in Havana

Sam Truitt
In memory of David Graeber (1961–2020)

1.   two three four … / what are we fighting for?
2.   Is poetry’s role to keep open a human possibility until all may join? Isn’t that what the confounders sought?
3.   “Election” means something like the state or act of picking out or choosing.
4.   An election illuminates the space between us.
5.   “Election” shares the same cognate (Latin eligere) with “elite,” meaning “chosen people,” the adjectival use of which Byron introduced into English in a passage in Don Juan (Canto 13) recounting a party:

With other Countesses of Blank — but rank;
At once the lie and the elite of crowds;
Who pass like water filterd in a tank,
All purged and pious from their native clouds …


The Chomskybot, which I've been using for years, recently located to a new server. So I've changed my links variously and found a renewed fascination for what it does to and with the language of Noam Chomsky. Chomskybot takes sentence parts from Chomsky's linguistics writings and organizes them into randomly formed paragraphs.

It works by what its programmer and others call the “American Chinese Menu” principle, viz. One from Column A, One from Column B. There are four sets of phrases: Initiating Phrases, Subject Phrases, Verbal Phrases, and Terminating Phrases The program, called ”Foggy,” simply selects one of each, at (pseudo-)random, and then strings them together into a sentence. Five sentences make a paragraph. Foggy never even gets down to the word level; everything is phrases, and most of the phrases don't mean much. “In this,” says the programmer, ”foggy resembles a large proportion of real language.”

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