I’m currently facilitating an on-line class, Be in Love with Yr Life, based on The Book of Mev, with 11 very special people. The other day, I posted a short response to a Barsamian/Chomsky book, and afterwards, going through my files, I found the following letter.
Wednesday 9 October 1996
Professor Noam Chomsky
I hope you are doing well these days. To refresh your memory, since I know you receive hundreds of letters, I invited you to speak at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley a couple of years ago (while a student at the Maryknoll School of Theology in 1990, I did a thesis on your Mideast work). Your visit then was just before the time that my wife Mev Puleo was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Mev died this past January at the age of 32 after a long and excruciating deterioration here in St. Louis. Actually, she took pictures at your talk to us on “Intellectuals and Political Responsibility” — that was the last shooting she did before her surgery. (One of her photos appears in the enclosed review).
Anyway, I have been slow to resume my work since it has been quite difficult to face the loss of wife, partner, and best friend, in addition to someone whose commitment to solidarity was simply exemplary. I am hoping to finish soon my doctoral dissertation for the GTU on Elie Wiesel; your work has been immensely helpful to me as I examine the connections between Wiesel’s work of memory and his august status in the U.S. intellectual and political community. (I’ve recently written Professor Shahak to see if he had translations on Wiesel’s reception in Israel, to which you’ve referred). I am hoping to trace the evolution of Wiesel from “unworthy victim” to most “worthy victim,” in your and Ed Herman’s classification. You were the first person I’d ever read who dissented from the strong Christian consensus that Wiesel is a prophet of our times. Read the rest of this entry »