Shocking Updates on Noam Chomsky’s Health: Is This the End of an Era?

Concerns regarding Noam Chomsky’s health surfaced after the UK-based outlet Media Lens posted on Facebook on June 7. They stated: “No doubt like many other people around the world, we have been surprised and profoundly concerned that Noam Chomsky has not commented publicly on current events; in particular, the Israeli genocide of Palestinians.” Media Lens then shared several updates on Chomsky’s condition, sourced from Reddit posts by his former assistant Bev Stohl, suggesting that “it is very unlikely he will return to the public eye.”

1.Concerns Mount Over Noam Chomsky’s Health: What We Know So Fa

2.Is Noam Chomsky Stepping Back? Health Concerns and Public Absence

3.Noam Chomsky’s Silence Explained: Health Issues and Family Privacy

4.Public Reactions to Noam Chomsky’s Health News: Praise and Controversy
5.Noam Chomsky: The Life and Legacy of a Revolutionary Thinker

Chomsky, who mentioned in one of his last media appearances in April last year that he “first started talking publicly about the criminal nature of Israel’s actions in 1969” and regretted not speaking out earlier about the “repression” of Palestinians, has been absent from public view for the past year. Chomsky, who was known for regularly responding to emails, has not been engaging in such communication since last June.

Stohl, who worked as Chomsky’s office manager at MIT for 24 years until her retirement in 2017 and authored the 2023 memoir Chomsky and Me, addressed a Reddit user’s query about Chomsky’s condition in September: “He was active through mid-June. I know it’s hard not knowing for sure what’s happening. He is taking a much-needed rest after a very stressful time.” In January, she commented on another Reddit thread, stating that her former boss “remains out of commission” due to “a medical event last June [that] has necessitated his pulling back completely. I wish I could be more specific.”

On February 5, Stohl posted on Reddit, indicating she was in contact with a close family member and that Chomsky “is still with us, now watching the news (he doesn’t look happy about what he’s watching). I will answer basic questions and give you updates as the family member I’m in touch with feels comfortable.” On April 23, she added: “Noam has not made significant progress, I’m sorry to say. I doubt he will be able to return to the public eye, as he is not communicating much if at all.” In a since-removed April 25 comment, she noted: “His ability to speak is complicated by factors I can’t yet disclose. When the relative I’m in touch with visited him a month ago, he did not communicate with her. He is not ambulatory. I’m not sure for how long this will go on. He is not in pain.” She later edited the post to emphasize that Chomsky’s “family is very private” and she will “no longer be adding to this discussion.”

Stohl, in a statement sent to TIME after publication, expressed regret that Media Lens “exposed” what she said “was never intended to be revealed to the public.” She added that Chomsky’s “family does not want anything revealed aside from the fact that Noam is out of the public eye for medical reasons” and stressed that it is up to them to decide when and how more information is shared. Neither Chomsky nor his wife and correspondence manager Valeria responded immediately to TIME’s requests for comment.

Social Media Reactions

Although Chomsky’s health status has yet to be confirmed, speculation about his condition has sparked both praise and criticism.

Nathan Robinson, founder and editor of socialist magazine Current Affairs, is among several leftist media figures who have paid tribute to Chomsky. Robinson, who co-authored with Chomsky the forthcoming book The Myth of American Idealism: How U.S. Foreign Policy Endangers the World, said on X: “So many thousands of people have stories about how he has changed their lives. He certainly changed mine.” (Robinson told TIME he had no other information to share than what’s already public.)

British-American journalist Mehdi Hasan posted to his 1.5 million X followers: “Sending prayers Noam’s way. There has been no one else like him in our lifetime.”

Jon Schwarz, a former senior writer at The Intercept, described the Facebook post by Media Lens about Chomsky’s condition as “extremely distressing” and urged people to “focus on gratitude for everything he’s given us for so long.” Meanwhile, Aaron Maté, a Canadian journalist for the far-left site The Grayzone, thanked Chomsky “for a lifetime of immeasurable service to humanity.”

Scottish activist and publisher of literary journal Rebel Inc. Kevin Williamson posted on X: “An intellectual giant in an age of confusion, misinformation & soundbites.”

“Chomsky is best we’ve ever had or ever will have,” added Sam Haselby, senior editor of Aeon Magazine. “Toni Morrison wrote it’s great good fortune to miss someone before they’re gone.”

However, others have used the attention on Chomsky to criticize his controversial stances. Ukraine-based policy analyst James Rushton posted on X: “Incredibly sad to hear Noam Chomsky has apparently denied his last genocide.” Australian political activist Drew Pavlou added that Chomsky “managed to outlive most of the victims of the Cambodian Genocide by about 45 years.” Chomsky has been accused of defending the brutal regime of Pol Pot and downplaying the massacre of Bosnians.

1.Concerns Mount Over Noam Chomsky’s Health: What We Know So Far

  • This heading sets the stage for an article that delves into the rising worries about Noam Chomsky’s health. It suggests that the article will provide a comprehensive overview of the current information and rumors surrounding his condition, offering readers an in-depth look at what has been disclosed.

2.Is Noam Chomsky Stepping Back? Health Concerns and Public Absence

  • This heading hints at an exploration of whether Noam Chomsky is retreating from public life due to health issues. The article would likely examine his recent lack of public appearances and responses, correlating them with his health status, and discussing the implications of his potential withdrawal from public engagements.

3.Noam Chomsky’s Silence Explained: Health Issues and Family Privacy

  • This heading indicates that the article will address the reasons behind Chomsky’s recent silence, particularly focusing on his health and the desire for family privacy. It suggests a narrative that combines factual updates with an understanding of the personal and familial dimensions of his situation.
4.Public Reactions to Noam Chomsky’s Health News: Praise and Controversy
  • This heading points to an article that gathers and analyzes the varied public reactions to the news about Chomsky’s health. It promises a balanced look at both the commendations and criticisms he’s received, highlighting the polarizing figure he remains in the public eye even amid health concerns.
5.Noam Chomsky: The Life and Legacy of a Revolutionary Thinker
  • This heading suggests a broader retrospective article on Chomsky’s life and legacy, framed by the recent concerns about his health. It would provide a detailed account of his contributions to linguistics, political activism, and social commentary, underscoring his enduring impact on various fields.

Who is Noam Chomsky?

Noam Chomsky, born Avram Noam Chomsky to Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia in December 1928, is one of the most cited scholars in modern history. He joined the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955 and became an emeritus professor in 2002 until he moved to the University of Arizona in 2017 as a laureate professor. Though Chomsky is credited with revolutionising the field of linguistics, he became better known to the wider world as a prominent anti-war activist and prolific social and political commentator, noted for his criticism of capitalism and American imperialism.

Chomsky “has described his own politics variously as anarchist, anarchosyndicalist, and libertarian socialist,” according to a biography on his website. He rose to prominence as an outspoken opponent of the US involvement in the Vietnam War and went on to write or co-write dozens of books, including his Orwell Award-winning 1988 critique of mass media Manufacturing Consent. In 2005, Chomsky was voted the world’s top public intellectual in a global poll.

Chomsky recently came under scrutiny for his reported association with financier and convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, whom Chomsky said he “met occasionally” to discuss geopolitics and consulted for help moving money between his own accounts.

In June 2023, British journalist Piers Morgan asked Chomsky, during what may have been his final media appearance, “If you could write your own heading on your own tombstone: ‘Here lies Noam Chomsky. He—’ What would you like the rest of that sentence to say?”Chomsky replied: “He tried his best.”

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