The Instinct for Cooperation: A Graphic Novel Conversation with Noam Chomsky

Jeffrey Wilson. Seven Stories, $13.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-60980-816-7
This illustrated interview of Noam Chomsky, along with librarians and educators whose work aligns with his theories, delves into political movements and the right to organize, but the talking heads layout rarely takes advantage of the comics form. The volume ends up feeling mostly like an activist coloring book. Its central theme is popular movements and their demise after government interventions: the removal of books from the People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street, Tucson’s 2010 ban on Mexican-American studies curricula in public schools, and so on. Each were shut down by those in power because they were perceived as what Chomsky calls “an excess of democracy.” Chomsky describes how institutions preempt democratic organization by shrinking the size of public spaces and how TV and smartphones “atomize” society. When Wilson confesses that he is crippled with student debt, Chomsky explains how that debt serves to depoliticize campuses and undermine education to create a “slave system.” Though the flow of the book lurches due to halting dialogue, dense text, and copious use of dramatic angles, the interviewees’ words humanize the movements discussed. There is knowledge and inspiration to be found in these pages, but unfortunately the stiff presentation of the transcripts renders them laborious and lecturelike. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2018
Release date: 04/24/2018
Genre: Comics
Ebook - 978-1-60980-817-4
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