Noam Comes to Chico
One of my most interesting experiences in Chico was the opportunity to shepherd Noam Chomsky around. We exploited him not stop. He gave 3 consecutive 1 1/2 hour lectures on foreign affairs, journalism, and politics, besides meeting with students and faculty for meals, and attending a late night reception. The next morning he was telling me what he read afterwords.
I just learned that he has published his own short recollection.
“In fact, during the Gulf War I dropped my scheduled speaking engagements and accepted invitations to talk in the most reactionary parts of the country I could find — just because I was curious what I’d see.
For instance, there’s a college in northern California called Chico State, which is where guys like Reagan and Shultz send their kinds so they won’t be infected by “lefties” at Berkeley. The place is right in the middle of four hundred miles of cornfields, or whatever it is they grow out there, a million miles from nowhere, and when you fly in you land at an airport that’s about half the size of a house. Well, when I landed there, a student and a faculty member who were like the two radicals at the school came out to meet me. And as we were walking to the car, I noticed we had to go a pretty long distance, because the airport was surrounded with yellow police tape. So I asked these guys, “What’s going on, are they rebuilding the landing strip or something?” You know what they said? “No, that’s to protect the airport from Arab terrorists.” I said, “Arab terrorists in northern California?” But they thought so. And when I got into the town, everybody was walking around in army fatigues and wearing yellow ribbons, saying “If Saddam comes, we’re going to fight to the death,” and so on.”
Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power.