Monday, September 25, 2006

The Reports of My Death...

Noam Chomsky gained another prestigious place in history the other day when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez inadvertently added him to a select list of famous notables who's deaths have been announced before they were actually dead. Others on the list include Abe Vigoda and Mark Twain, whose famous adage, "The report of my death was an exaggeration" has been quoted in several different variations. Hemingway was reported to have died in a plane crash in Africa, only to be discovered very much alive, though he eventually took care of that, didn't he.


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Move over Oprah -- Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is calling the literary shots this week.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made headlines for his United Nations speech on Wednesday calling President Bush "the devil himself," but a reading suggestion he made in the same speech created a bestseller.

At the United Nations, anti-imperialist Chavez began his speech by displaying a copy of U.S. writer Noam Chomsky's book "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance" and recommended that Americans read it.

By Thursday, the book had risen from backlist obscurity to be the No. 3 bestseller on Before the speech, the 2004 book reprinted by Owl Books was being outsold by thousands of other titles on the online bookseller's Web site.

On Thursday, Coliseum Books in mid-town Manhattan was sold out of the book by the famed linguistic scholar and critic of U.S. foreign policy.

"After the Chavez speech, we promptly sold out," one manager at the store said. "And looking at our computer, it looks like our wholesaler has sold out too."

Popular U.S. television talk show host Oprah Winfrey often creates bestsellers by recommending titles, including classics, on her Oprah's Book Club segment.

Chomsky, who is professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, could not immediately be reached for comment.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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