May 18, 2011

Cornel West peeved Obama takes him less seriously than Wachowskis did

Chris Hedges writes in TruthDig about the cruel disillusionment of Cornel West, Princeton professor of African American Studies and Religion and a star in The Matrix sequels:
The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience. Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan. ... 
No one grasps this tragic descent better than West, who did 65 campaign events for Obama, believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign. He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”... 
“I have to take some responsibility,” he admits of his support for Obama as we sit in his book-lined office. “I could have been reading into it more than was there. 
“There is the personal level,” he says. “I used to call my dear brother [Obama] every two weeks. I said a prayer on the phone for him, especially before a debate. And I never got a call back. And when I ran into him in the state Capitol in South Carolina when I was down there campaigning for him he was very kind. The first thing he told me was, ‘Brother West, I feel so bad. I haven’t called you back. You been calling me so much. You been giving me so much love, so much support and what have you.’ And I said, ‘I know you’re busy.’ But then a month and half later I would run into other people on the campaign and he’s calling them all the time. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. He doesn’t have time, even two seconds, to say thank you or I’m glad you’re pulling for me and praying for me, but he’s calling these other people. I said, this is very interesting. And then as it turns out with the inauguration I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration. My mom says, ‘That’s something that this dear brother can get a ticket and you can’t get one, honey, all the work you did for him from Iowa.’ Beginning in Iowa to Ohio. We had to watch the thing in the hotel."

Hopefully, the Wests got a good glimpse on their hotel TV of the newly sworn-in President exchanging a celebratory fist bump with their bellhop.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but Fred Reed has reviewed Jared Taylor's new book. To my surprise Reed agrees with Taylor and gives it a favorable review.

Harry Baldwin said...

He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

That's actually rather good.

As far as the phone calls, given the choice I too would prefer chatting with Scarlett Johansson rather than the prattling professor, whatever the latter had done for me.

Kylie said...

From the article: "I said in the world that I live in, in that which authorizes my reality..."

Thank-you for that, Professor.

Anonymous said...

"As far as the phone calls, given the choice I too would prefer chatting with Scarlett Johansson rather than the prattling professor, whatever the latter had done for me."

Scarlett Johansson might have actually given Barry some votes - white women are a notorious swing vote. They are the ones watching Entertainment Tonight, reading People. I'm assuming that some of them sometimes notice whom celebrities endorse.

But whom could West, of all people, swing towards Obama? He's worked for O since Iowa? Doing what?

Anonymous said...

I think I know black psychology more than most people. Based on my experience, yes, West is kinda miffed. But he's also making a public spectacle to fool honkey that Obama is not a radical black nationalist mofo but 'too white'. That will help him in 2012 with white voters.

Kiwiguy said...

*** But we know how the play ends. West is banished like honest Kent in “King Lear.” Emanuel and immoral mediocrities from Lawrence Summers to Timothy Geithner to Robert Gates—think of Goneril and Regan in the Shakespearean tragedy—take power. We lose. And Obama becomes an obedient servant of the corporate elite in exchange for the hollow trappings of authority.
...

“But it became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. ***

Interesting article. Of course West would be particularly annoyed at Summers getting appointed given that he apparently ran him out of Harvard.

Kiwiguy said...

***I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do. But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.”***

Hmmm, these are reasonable points.

Dennis Dale said...

Perhaps there's some guile there; the public distancing certainly helps Barry with middle class whites, hispanics don't care, blacks and progs aren't going anywhere.

Of course CW is just self-centered enough to pout publicly about access. I honestly think Barry, for all his guile, genuinely understands this guy's a potzer. Good for him.
All those poor freshman who've had to humor the professor over the years may understand.

Wandrin said...

"That's actually rather good."

Yes.

.
"I think I know black psychology more than most people."

Well i'd say the dumb ones thought they were electing a black Pharoah who was going to solve all their problems and they're getting increasingly antzy about it.

People like West let wishful thinking get the better of them. The dominance of TV and campaign financing means no one gets to be President unless they are acceptable to the plutocrats. So i think he's genuinely miffed, more at himself for being fooled.

.
"that Obama is not a radical black nationalist"

Well i don't believe he's ever been genuinely radical or a black nationalist but i do wonder what he might do if he gets a second term *and* a lot of black folks like West are goading him and calling him the Whitehouse lawn-jockey. I don't think it would happen until a second term when he has nothing to lose.

.

jody said...

"To my surprise Reed agrees with Taylor and gives it a favorable review."

fred is generally in agreement with taylor's position. he regularly laments the decline of historic america. he often writes about "where stuff comes from" topics and how white guys came up with almost everything. he regularly notes the coming demographics of the US, pointing out this means china will easily win the future. he was a police reporter in washington DC and understands the destructive nature of a large african population at a deep, infrastructural level. and he's nominally OK with ashkenazi jews. so the two guys have a lot in common.

jody said...

the matrix movies themselves were, from at least one perspective, a liberal's ludicrous inversion of reality. a technological resistance to overwhelming supercomputer intelligence is organized by a primarily african population? that always made me crack up when the camera showed the crews and command centers and garages and the highest ranking military commanders and politicians. that's merely a liberal dream. no jumble of random people like that could build and maintain a city sized outpost of year 2100 technology. it would be like trying to resist cameron's skynet with brazil level resources.

of course in the matrix world the resistance has to take every "free" human they can get, more free humans is always better, but come on. with a pool of talent like that to draw from, they would just be hiding in the sewers, working on not starving, and lucky to have electricity. i guess all the chinese and indian humans were killed and never hooked up to the matrix? seems like the resistance would be primarily chinese.

sometimes even science fiction writing can't escape the reality in which the writers lived. the wachowski's live in the united states where it's white black, white black, white black, 24 hours a day, and no other groups figure prominently into daily psychology. compare this with material like starship troopers, where the main character is juan rico, either a mestizo or a filipino (not sure) due to the future heinlein already anticipated all the way back in 1959.

Chicago said...

He tried to insinuate himself into the White House with some "you owe me" routine but it didn't work.
Thanks for the help but under the bus you go. If Obama can throw his own family members and his favorite reverend under the bus then certainly anyone else can get a spot there too.
West was promoting himself while rallying for Obama, trying to make himself the co-feature of the events. Obama is a maneuverer himself and can spot a self-aggrandizer trying to hitch a ride, which is baggage he doesn't need.

tommy said...

Funny review of the Matrix vs. Blade and how adding Cornel West to your movie can positively impact NYT reviews.

Anonymous said...

Corndog is cooked?

Anonymous said...

"the matrix movies themselves were, from at least one perspective, a liberal's ludicrous inversion of reality"

It was Marx meets Calvin Klein meets Pop fascism.

beowulf said...

Steve, actually I think West makes some interesting points--
I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men... It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin.

That reminded me of your post:
To be black enough is tied up in Obama's mind with being liberal enough. As someone raised by whites far from the black mainstream, Obama lacks the freedom to be politically unorthodox enjoyed by men of such iconic blackness as James Brown and Wilt Chamberlain, both of whom endorsed Richard Nixon in 1972.
http://www.vdare.com/sailer/080120_obama.htm

Which makes this scene rather interesting:
“He makes a bee line to me right after the talk, in front of everybody,” West says. “He just lets me have it. He says, ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself, saying I’m not a progressive. Is that the best you can do? Who do you think you are?’

Its boorish for any president to lose his cool and berate one person in a crowd. But the subtext of "I'm not a progressive" for Obama is "I'm not really black". And that's exactly how Brother Cornel meant it.
“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want...

agnostic said...

Only going to blab on here because this is the second reference to a movie as "liberal" or "left-wing" when that has little to do with it.

The Matrix was not a heavily liberal movie. It was one of a series of movies starting in the early-mid 1990s that preached unplugging yourself from the structure of society.

However, this was not like Dirty Harry or the platoon in Aliens who do so in order to protect a larger community or nation or planet, unfettered by red tape, but only to free yourself and maybe a couple people close to you. "Humankind" in The Matrix is like five other people.

The movies here are The Fugitive, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, Falling Down, The Matrix, etc. Taken was like this, after its heyday.

This was the same trend that brought right-winters to watch X-Files, home-school their kids, live in gated communities, or join / follow the goings-on of the militias.

That movement was defined more by being a paranoid hermit, not so much by left vs. right, liberal or conservative, etc. Those movies show the mindset -- trust no one, because there's always the person who you least suspect on the inside who will betray you.

The earlier movies dealt with the risk of betrayal as the sunk cost of trusting others when forming a team, not a cause to shrink away from society. Ash betrayed the crew in the first Alien movie, then Burke did in the second one, and that didn't stop them from staying tight and fighting together.

The black engineers, etc., in The Matrix does give it a silly liberal touch, but it's a movie that the '90s right-wing conspiracy crowd would have loved.

Anonymous said...

seems like the resistance would be primarily chinese.

No. Chinese are The Matrix.

Anonymous said...

I guess Obama also realizes that Cornel West is an idiot.

Have you ever heard West speak? He speaks in that way black people do, where they use all these words and constructions that you know they don't really understand or know the meaning of, but they're able to string it together just enough so that they're able to plausibly deny that they don't know what the hell they're talking about, and you're too polite or chicken or disinterested to point out. Only more so and with even bigger words.

dearieme said...

Bellhops know things. Or have I wandered onto the wrong thread?

Simon in London said...

I understand the disillusionment of the black nationalists that Obama (sensibly for him) went with the Jews, not the blacks. It's probably a good thing for the rest of us though. As a place to live, New York seems a lot preferable to Zimbabwe.

Black women should still turn out for Obama in 2012. I guess the main question is whether Obama can be spun as black-nationalist enough that black men will turn out for him again. Maybe not, but if he can pick up/retain enough other Left groups he can still squeak home against a weak Republican opponent. And the GOP field looks pretty weak.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Have you ever heard West speak? He speaks in that way black people do, where they use all these words and constructions that you know they don't really understand or know the meaning of, but they're able to string it together just enough so that they're able to plausibly deny that they don't know what the hell they're talking about, and you're too polite or chicken or disinterested to point out.

E.g., Kingfish, "Da hypotenuse of dis heah confabulation..."

Is Obama really just uncomfortable around blacks? He didn't appear to be having too good a time on the family's Grand Tour of Africa. Judging by his executive hires, he's most at ease around Jews and white women. Quite the contrast with the affable Bill Clinton, a Southern white.

slumber_j said...

dearieme said...
"Bellhops know things. Or have I wandered onto the wrong thread?"

Okay: that's both very funny and a very good point.

Anonymous said...

My dear brother West sounds as if he is not as smart as he thinks he is. Either that, or Obama in person is a flim-flam man of Clintonesqe talent.

DCThrowback said...

We are overvaluing the influence of Professor West, especially since by telling the truth (the black mascot quote, listed by Harry Baldwin above, is **gold**), he will now be marginalized.

And let's be honest - what %age of blacks are going to vote for Obama in 2012? 95%? 98%? He has done nothing for them, will continue to do nothing, but, since he is "one" of them, I'd rather be screwed by him than by anyone else.

West is an egoist who finally got truth after he was shunned and disposed of when he was no longer of use to the President. Liberals will now slander him for being a truth-teller much like Bruce Bartlett was slandered by neo-cons for repeatedly telling us all W was a government-growing fool.

As Steve has mentioned, the closer you are the to the truth, the more fercious the blowback.

Thanks to Tommy for the Matrix review. Hilarious stuff. The Elvis Mitchell quotes from the NYT are hilarious. Question: more obtuse or ignorant group of people...MSM sportswriters or MSM movie critics?

Anonymous said...

Some people are making the reasonable point that the blacks aren't going anywhere. That's over simplistic. They could stay home.

Obama won because a huge chunk of the GOP base stayed home, which allowed the younger and/or black votes to overtake them.

The GOP won't have that problem this time. The Dems need their bases to come out to vote, and that won't happen if he gains a reputation as someone who won't look out for them.

But what struck me about this is that it's just appalling politics on the part of Obama. You thank the people who do things for you. Period.

A quick thank you call is a basic of campaigning. Inaugeration tickets are a reasonable payback to someone who has done 65 campaign events for you.

Otherwise you get people breaking the Eleventh Commandment and allowing your opponents to say "Oh, even X is disillusioned".

Obama's the ultimate Affirmative Action President. Generally, people have those kinds of blunders burned out of them by the time they reach national level, or else they hit the glass ceiling.

Formerly.JP98 said...

"The moral philosopher Cornel West"

The who is a what now?

Aaron Baugher said...

Do black people really talk like that, calling each other "dear brother" all the time? I thought that was just a joke from blaxploitation spoofs like Undercover Brother.

Claverhouse said...

'Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan. ...'


Well, at least Obama is not a cynical product of the Chicago political machine.


On the other hand, I'm looking forward to the Metropolitan Opera's viciously daring update of Faust with Barack as the hapless hero.


Hillary Clinton as Marguerite.

Michelle Obama said...

Who whose disillusions and brused-ego West going to vote for in 2012? Obama or Romney?

Cornel is a narcissitic marginal huckster who only appeals to the margins of the core. He brings nothing new to Obama and takes away from the massive white swing vote.

I don't like Obama, but I have a hard time thinking the neocons are going to put up anyone else I could vote for.

Obama's treatment of West shows him to be a craven opportunists which is about the best one can hope for in a national Dem pol these days.

Polichinello said...

The moral philosopher Cornel West...

I simply cannot read this without laughing.

Kylie said...

"Bellhops know things. Or have I wandered onto the wrong thread?"

The thought of West being demoted from professor to bellhop is delicious.

I can just hear him now, using that black preacher singsong to harangue white guests who don't tip him enough.

Anonymous said...

If you enjoyed Amos and Andy you'll love Obama and Cornell

Anonymous said...

CW is about any publicity he can get-anyway he can get it. Period.
The term "academic" these days refers to people so low they're sucking canal water.

Anonymous said...

I always confuse WEST with that Dyson guy.

What's the difference between the two?

Anonymous said...

"Of course CW is just self-centered enough to pout publicly about access."

West has a whole chapter in his book Democracy Matters about his dust up with then Harvard president Larry Summers that made him feel slighted enough to leave for Princeton. He'll pout publicly about any slight to his ego, even years after the fact.

Anonymous said...

"I guess Obama also realizes that Cornel West is an idiot."

No, Obama knows that his field is politics and West's is academics. If Obama had chosen academics, he would be talking like West, and if West had chosen politics, he would be acting like Obama(and 'dissing' the hypothetical radical academic Obama).

What is a plus in politics is a negative in academics, and vice versa. Academia is far left, and so West has much to gain by his BAD BROTHA antics. Priviliged white leftists wanna flatter themselves that they don't just go for uncle toms but for real badass black radicals, and West, though a phony punkass fool, plays that role to the hilt. Mixing bad brotha antics with intellectualism, he flatters himself and white radicals that a black guy can be both mind and soul.

It's the radical chic thing. Since success in academia means flattering the vanity of white 'radicals', West has played it smart and risen very high despite his low intellectual credentials.

Politics, otoh, depends on winning the votes of many people who are not radical, and Obama cannot play West's game. But purely on a personal level, Obama kinda wants to. I think Obama's biggest frustration has been havng to suppress the part of himself that wants to talk (haute)badass like West or Dyson. He's had to play 'above it all'. So did MLK, but at least in private life, he got to act like one wild mofo. Obama otoh, in public and private, has had to be very proper and respectable. IT's like he's controlled and watched like royalty all the time. He cannot let loose.

In a way, kings and aristocrats were the most unsatisfied people on the planet. Just watch the movie THE SUN(about Hirohito). It's like he almost feels liberated when Americans pry him loose from his high-falutin emperorship.

West's style is demagogic while Obama's is neo-aristocratic. Form, manners, propriety, etc all matter to Obama's image.
Through Western history, though kings and noblemen sometimes gave inspiring speeches and all that, they had to stick to ceremoniality. They had to live up the expectations of their station in life. A king or nobleman, no matter how powerful, could not just let loose and rant like he wanted to and speak his mind. He could not rock and roll. He had to act as though he was 'above it all' and dignified and elevated all of the time.

This changed with the rise of modern politics. Lenin, Mussolini, Trotsky, and Hitler screamed and ranted all they wanted. They were popular cuz they seemed natural, liberated, and liberating of the spirit of the people and national power that had been repressed/suppressed for so long. The Old Order didn't just keep a lid on the mass energy but on the style of leaders. A king was subservient to authority attached to the long line of kings. He might have the divine right to rule, but he could not act the god of the people. He could stand solemnly still above the people but he could not swagger and holler, CAN YOU DIG IT?? CAN YOU DIG IT???

Anonymous said...

The paradox of modern politics is the very figures who did most to liberate mass passions and the style of rule(charismatic, energized, aggressive, rock n roll-ish)also turned out to be the biggest tyrants and mass murderers of all time. But then, the energies unleashed by Elvis, Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin(via liberational rock n roll) were more anarchic and dangerous than those unleashed by Mozart or Cole Porter. WE WILL ROCK YOU and PURPLE HAZE are more threatening than a Haydn Sonata. To be sure, Wagner was kinda like the first rock star with the violent passons he unleashed. In contrast, older classical music, though repressive of vulgar mass passions, was also repressive of the ego of the elites. The unspoken deal between elites and masses was, 'the masses remain on bottom and elites on top, BUT elites rule by tradition and morality than by wild barbarian passion.' The new politial order of radical mass politics--communism and Nazism--offered liberation to the masses but also no brakes on how rulers could rule. Lenin and Hitler weren't part of any tradition or body of laws; they made it up as they went along.

West, as a ranting radical, is very much in the mode of modern demagoguery while Obama, trying to be presidential, harks back to aristocratism. Though Founding Fathers founded a republic, their template of neo-aristocratism in 'being presidential' remains to this day, which is why people don't want Donald Trump as president and was upset when Nixon acted like a gangster, Carter like a preacher, Clinton like a pimp, and Bush like a beer buddy. Ironically, a black guy has been trying to restore 'presidentiality' back to the office.

So, West's attack on Obama is in the manner of Lenin mocking the Tsar or Hitler poking fun at German aristocrats with their pompous airs but lack of radical will.
Of course, West is envious of Obama's power, and Obama is envious of West's rock n rolling thrill-kicks.

Thripshaw said...

I've lived in and around Princeton most of my adult life, and have seen Cornel West many times on the street. He used to come into a record shop where I worked in the early 90's. One weird thing about West is that he always wears a black suit like in the linked picture. I have seen him on 90+ degree summer days wearing that stupid "look at me I'm a professor" outfit. For brother Cornel, everyday is Halloween.

The guy gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "empty Black suit."

Anonymous said...

"I always confuse WEST with that Dyson guy.
What's the difference between the two?"

West looks like a black Groucho Marx.

Svigor said...

Some people are making the reasonable point that the blacks aren't going anywhere. That's over simplistic. They could stay home.

Obama won because a huge chunk of the GOP base stayed home, which allowed the younger and/or black votes to overtake them.

The GOP won't have that problem this time. The Dems need their bases to come out to vote, and that won't happen if he gains a reputation as someone who won't look out for them.


Yes. If the GOP nominates someone better than McCamnesty, the GOP turnout should be significantly higher than it was for McCain. Yes, Obama will get the incumbent boost, but I doubt Dem turnout will be better than 2008. On the face of it, the election is the GOP's to lose. The big wild card, obviously, is how much mind-bending the media does for Obama. And how much mind-bending the media wants to do for Obama.

Truth said...

"What's the difference between the two?"

Well, one's a rich, internationally famous, Ivy-leagued PHD who makes more money, has more publications and gets more acclaim and attention from beautiful white women than you...no, wait that's both of them, nevermind.

Anonymous said...

"Do black people really talk like that, calling each other "dear brother" all the time? I thought that was just a joke from blaxploitation spoofs like Undercover Brother."

West professes to be a communist so maybe it's like a variation of 'Dear Leader'(North Korea).

Anonymous said...

This is what passes for black intellectualism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbXnOwLQIrE

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9srjQNH6n00

Afro-Marx. Look at the beard. What a phony.

Anonymous said...

Should it worry me that I find myself agreeing with a lot of West's political criticisms of Obama? I think West's just reached the part of the novel where he looks into the window and sees the humans and pigs arguing, only he can't quite tell them apart anymore.

tagalong said...

Svigor:

Obama's big problem is that he will have to run on his record. Lots of people, including me, voted for him last time, hoping to see some real changes in the country's direction. Instead, we're still blowing up every mud hut and goat in Afghanistan (and we've even expanded our campaign of blowing shit up with missiles that cost more than their targets in Libya) , the homeland security bureaucracy has gotten worse and more intrusive over time ("Sir, I'm going to touch your leg now."), we've effectively backed our biggest banks with unlimited taxpayer funds (unofficially--sort of like Fannie and Freddie before they went bankrupt and we bailed them out). Even electing a black president hasn't made our national discussion on race any less dumb. Our media is perhaps even more co-opted and dishonest now than under Bush. Our massive deficit and visibly declining empire are still massive and visibly declining, respectively.

The GOP's main problem is, most of their serioius opposition to Obama is that he's a Democrat instead of a Republican. I mean, other than Ron Paul, when's the last time you heard a Republican plan to end the bomb-the-third-world gravy train, or the porno-scanners-and-blue-gloves gravy train? Those fuckers probably want us to get into a couple *more* wars, expand domestic spying even more, and wipe themselves with whatever bits of the constitution they didn't use up last time they had power. Do you want the white arsenic or the potassium cyanide?

I'm anticipating a nice calm evening next election day watching DVDs or reading a book. Or maybe voting third party.

l'infâme said...

He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

wow. it only took him 3 years to figure it out.

Simon in London said...

Obama has a PhD?

Anonymous said...

it's strange, steve at times seems to suggest that Barack Obama is a "race warrior," someone who has mostly the interest of his own balck folks in mind
at other times, he's suggesting that Obama doesn't care about anyone or any issue
he's only aa careerist... a political opportunist.
i'm going to write Steve and ask him to explain
i guess its safe to say that Steve is a hater.
why is Steve a hater is the more intereseting question, does he just hate successful black men?
he seems to be very critical of the black elite.

Anonymous said...

wow, many of your commenters are lot more insightful than even you!! and with much less snark.

Rev. Right said...

Svigor: "The big wild card, obviously, is how much mind-bending the media does for Obama. And how much mind-bending the media wants to do for Obama."


Whatever it takes .

David said...

Obama is now officially a one-term president.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110519/ap_on_re_us/us_obama_mideast

helene edwards said...

I say again, one of the best entertainments available is Leon Wieseltier's skewering of West's "scholarship" in The New Republic. Worth 5 bucks.

helene edwards said...

@DC Throwback: whaddaya mean Obama's done nothing for blacks? Haven't you been reading Steve's posts about the Justice Department? Permanently sicking the world's largest law firm on businesses is a big deal in real dollar terms for average blacks, not to mention health care "reform," which will be easily manipulable into a largely black entitlement.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that a quick "call back" to Cornel West turns out to be anything but quick, so Obama thought it best to procrastinate.

Sanjay K said...

Poor Cornel. I guess he'll just have to console himself with a six figure salary, undue adoration, and lucrative deals thrust upon him.

Cameron P said...

"'seems like the resistance would be primarily chinese.'

No. Chinese are The Matrix."

No, liberalism/socialism/communism is the real matrix

elvisd said...

"This changed with the rise of modern politics. Lenin, Mussolini, Trotsky, and Hitler screamed and ranted all they wanted. They were popular cuz they seemed natural, liberated, and liberating of the spirit of the people and national power that had been repressed/suppressed for so long. The Old Order didn't just keep a lid on the mass energy but on the style of leaders. A king was subservient to authority attached to the long line of kings. He might have the divine right to rule, but he could not act the god of the people. He could stand solemnly still above the people but he could not swagger and holler, CAN YOU DIG IT?? CAN YOU DIG IT???"

I can dig it, brother. Good description of 20th century politics.

rockets redglare said...

OK I'll bite: Truth, post some evidence that even one beautiful white woman ever had any interest in Cornel West.

Truth said...

Do you really believe that Dr. Cornel hasn't tuned up a bunch of his plaid miniskirt wearing, New England Prep school students?

Anonymous said...

I was watching YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY--best Weir film, best Gibson film, best Weaver film, one of the best political films, and a great love story--again, and it got me thinking. The Billy Kwan character is kinda like West--though Kwan is a helluva lot more decent than the show-off clown West. Intellectuals are big in the head but small in power, like Kwan's physique. Intellectuals often have big ideas but not the force to realize them; therefore, the frustration. Since they live with ideals, they are purer. But their purity becomes a kind of radicalism, a holier-than-thou arrogance, and even a kind of mad power-lust. Unable to accept the world as it is--or rejected by world for what they are--, they want people and the world to be better than it/they could ever be. Kwan, in this sense, is both the most humane/humble and most monstrous/megalomanical figure in the movie. He wants to serve but he wants to bend the world to his service, to his will. Cornel West also suffers from intellectual complex, though I think West is more pimp-hustler than a thinker.

Another thing that struck me was the subject of Indonesia. Prior to seeing this movie, I didn't know what or where Indonesia was. But the film was so mesmerizing, I looked for stuff on Indonesia and even sought out people from Indonesia(and met a few).
Another memorable film set in Indonesia, MERRY X-MAS MR. LAWRENCE, got me even more fascinated in the strange exotic country.

How does this tie in with Obama? Though it might be said that Obama is consciously black and doesn't much talk or think about his Asian-cultural origins, he could be channeling something of Indonesian culture in his political style and even in his personality. What's most striking about Indonesian culture is ambiguity. As Kwan says in an early scene in YOLD, Indonesians think, feel, and live in a world of shadows, a world of double-meanings.
Of course, there is a two-faced slippery side to black-American consciousness, but Obama's style isn't typically black. If blacks are known for their color and buzz, Obama is sometimes known for his silences.

Watch this interview with an Indonesian guy, and what's striking is the amount of time he takes when answering questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEIQ2it9YQQ

And he never gives a simple answer but ones that can be interpreted in many ways. I wonder if Obama picked up something like this style from his step-father and Indonsian culture in general: that it's sometimes better to take a breather, appear contemplative, avoid sharp clarities and contrasts. This can be frustrating--and I think Rose gets a bit tired during the interview--, but it can also impress a lot of people with a kind of faux-mysticism or put-on thoughtfulness. Instead of revealing what you really are--which may not amount to much--, the trick is to reveal shadows so that people may see more than what's actually there.

On the one hand, the history of Indonesia was one of the most violent in the 20th century: Japanese invasion, war of liberation against the Dutch, the horrific bledshed in 65 following failed communist coup, East Timor, massive riots following the financial crisis, etc. Yet, in other ways, it gives off the impression of a place lost in time, in a kind of trance. A tropical nirvana of sleepy tranquility.
And there is that kind of exoticism in the Obama persona and phenomenon. So, on some subtle level, Obama may owe more to Indonesianness than he lets out.
There is an element of repressed black rage in Obama but also a relaxed sunniness that is less African than Indonesian. There is a tropical-Southeast-Asian calmness, a quality lacking in most black figures--even gentle ones. Cosby is a gentle black guy, but he's fully black. But there is a kind of X-factor mystique about Obama that one cannot quite put a finger on. Without his Indonesian experience/connection, he might have lacked his element.

Anonymous said...

Also, the cult of personality around Obama owes something to Third World politics, and given that so many Western Progressives used to idolize one Third World leader after another as the great savior of the oppressed/exploited around the world--only to be disappointed by them all--, Obama could be yet the latest reinvention of this myth.

I'd never heard of Sukarno prior to seeing YOLD, but I soon read THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SUKARNO. Though I haven't read DREAMS FROM MY FATHER and though Sukarno and Obama are very different kinds of personalities, I wonder if Obama read Sukarno's book, if only because his mother lived in Indonsia and may have introduced to him to stuff about that country. Though Sukarno's book cannot taken as fact, it has to be one of the most entertaining political autobios ever.
There's the massive ego and celebrity vanity but also the genuine charm and a kind of sentiment. Anyway, Sukarno was one of the most ambiguous Third World leaders, the cause for both his meteoric rise/mystique and his tragic downfall. Unlike most Third World leaders who took a clear side between US and USSR, capitalism and communism, secularism and spiritualism, Sukarno aspired to be the perfect fusion of all noble things. He called his ideology NASAKOM. It supposedly combined nationalism, Islam, and communism. He earned the support(and suspicion)of all sides. And despite his anti-Western rhetoric, he wasn't ready to throw in his lot with the Soviet Union or Red China. And among the leaders he admired most was John F. Kennedy. And he remained close to Muslim generals who preferred close ties with the West and dreaded communism. All of this led to some people calling him a communist, some people calling him a fascist, some people calling him a revolutionary, some people calling him a reactionary. But he probably wanted to be respected and loved by all sides. Talk about vanity.

Obama, like Sukarno, tries to juggle lots of things and impress people as being the higher fusion of all the things that make America(indeed the entire world)great--and of course the media complies; not long ago, Time magazine ran a cover showing Reagan with his arm around Obama. During 2008, it also ran Obama made up like FDR.

Maybe there's something strange in the air in Indonesia. Julie Taymore the visionary director of musicals and cinema also grew up in Indonesia.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-45D-tF0gA

Coincidentally, she did the designs for LION KING the broadway musical, which is almost like a cartoon telling of the Obama myth.

Indonesia is a place of great diversity, a place between East Asia and South Asia, with a history of invasions by the West(Holland) and Japan. It was also one of the closest allies of US during the Cold War--and prior to that, one of the great hopes for the radical left. It has elements of high culture and primitive cultures. In its mixed-upness, shifting shades of meaning, and multi-faceted history, culture, and politics, maybe it had a deeper albeit subtle impact on world affairs than we have yet to recognize. We are all Indonesians now.

Steve Sailer said...

Year of Living Dangerously was my first choice for romantic chemistry between the leads: who needs Bogart and Bergman when you've got Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver? Of course, nothing is more subjective than rating romantic chemistry.

The problem with YOLD is the soundtrack has so much random background noise on it to give a realistic effect of just how noisy Jakarta is that it's hard to hear the dialogue. But now you can watch it with the closed captions on.

Anonymous said...

The funny irony of this is that West's ragging on Obama is kinda like Ann Dunham's ragging on her Indonesian hubby for being a 'sell-out' to the Western Imperialists.

Well, I'll be. So, Obama's spiritual father turned out be none other than Mr. Soetoro.
I expect the revised edition of DREAMS FROM MY FATHER to be quite different. (And maybe the next controversy will be OBAMA WAS BORN IN INDONESIA.)

history clerk said...

West. Gates.
I'm beginning to think there is some sort of conspiracy to promote the dopiest and/or meanest, chippiest-on-the shoulder, blacks they can find, to the public forum. Because I knew a fantastic black American history professor. Wonderful person and a fine scholar, without a chip to be seen anywhere. They did interview him for the Civil War series (Ken Burns) where he appeared very briefly, but I don't know if he got any other large-scale recognition. He was by far the nicest professor in that department. I remember him when the "magic negro" syndrome gets too annoying, because I actually knew a real black in academia who was fantastic, and the best among his peers. Come to think of it, the only woman in that department was also an unusually popular, well loved and known-in-her field of material culture. Which brings up how so many of the prominent women are not really very good, while the ones that are, get little attention.
I guess it's a case of the squeakiest and nastiest wheels getting all the attention.

Anonymous said...

Another strange coincidence between YOLD and our current politics. Though Weaver is an attractive woman and Michelle Obama is not, there are certain similarities. Both are big women and have prominent jaws.

Kylie said...

"Year of Living Dangerously was my first choice for romantic chemistry between the leads: who needs Bogart and Bergman when you've got Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver?"

It might not be my first choice but it definitely makes my Top 10. Weaver and Gibson are wonderful together: romantic, erotic, impetuous, tender and above all, believable.

"The problem with YOLD is the soundtrack has so much random background noise on it to give a realistic effect of just how noisy Jakarta is that it's hard to hear the dialogue."

I don't find that a problem. All the noise that surrounds them just emphasizes their intimacy, the feeling that despite whatever is happening around them in the real world, what's really important to them is their own private world.

The Year of Living Dangerously

Anonymous said...

So, in the world of Cornel West's Matrixploitation fantasy, Obama isn't Neo but one of those evil Albinos?

Wandrin said...

"it's strange, steve at times seems to suggest that Barack Obama is a "race warrior," someone who has mostly the interest of his own balck folks in mind"

All black politicians have to act "race warrior" whether they believe it or not.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

Do you really believe that Dr. Cornel hasn't tuned up a bunch of his plaid miniskirt wearing, New England Prep school students?"

And do you really believe that he got a PhD from an ivy because of his scintillating intellect? An intellect which, as Gnostic pointed out, is nothing more than that of the Kingfisher with a slightly better thesaurus. West is a rank fraud - an affirmative action academic. He is a minstrel-show professor.

And why, "Truth" do you always trot out this "well he's richer than you, so he must be better" line. So society is on the up and up, except when it's not? Just like you always trust the mainstream media when it fits the point you are trying to make, - i.e. DSK is a rapist because the NYT says he is - but otherwise, well, we are all fools for believing that 9/11 was caused by arab terrorists, or that men really did land on the moon, or that cars can't run on water.

I think this is due to your J-school training and debate-squad like promiscuity with facts.

Or perhaps it's just because your a fucking nitwit.

Cranford C said...

"Truth said...
Do you really believe that Dr. Cornel hasn't tuned up a bunch of his plaid miniskirt wearing, New England Prep school students?"

- Have you taken a look at the guy? His mug is ugly enough to slam closed the legs of even the most brainwashed yuppie slut on a 'let's try a black guy' binge...

Truth said...

"And do you really believe that he got a PhD from an ivy because of his scintillating intellect?"

I don't know him, do you?

"West is a rank fraud - an affirmative action academic. He is a minstrel-show professor."

He has a PHD and is rich and famous, you claim to have a PHD and work as a graded government bureaucrat. What's the difference...oh yeah, he's black.

And why, "Truth" do you always trot out this "well he's richer than you, so he must be better" line.

Acquisition of resources has be a way men judge each other since the beginning of agricultural man.

So society is on the up and up, except when it's not?

Bro, it's not my fault you are unsatisfied with your career, but let me give you a little hint -- many white guys in America are rich and well-respected...you just 'aint one of them.

Just like you always trust the mainstream media when it fits the point you are trying to make, - i.e. DSK is a rapist because the NYT says he is

The mainstream media has never said that DSK was a rapist, it has said that he was arrested for rape. And that another woman called him a rapist.

"- but otherwise, well, we are all fools for believing that 9/11 was caused by arab terrorists,"

You are, and it 'aint even close.

"OR that men really did land on the moon"

I'm not sure about that one.

"Or that cars can't run on water."

I've posted two links.

Anonymous said...

Wow. such anger at the prospect that Cornel West may have tapped some white tail although considering his surroundings its close to a mathematical certainty that he has at some point during his life.

Anonymous said...

Obama, deep Dr. West tells us, “has a certain fear of free black men.” Also, this: “[Obama] feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want.”

What’s “Jewish” doing there?

The emphasis on white is just the mirror of West’s race fixation on black. But why the need to expand to “white and Jewish?” Because “Jewish” is the final brush stroke of what West perceives as his indictment of Obama’s sellout. And because anyone who looks to race as the deep answer to anything is always going to brush up against, or slyly invoke, the “Jewish” stereotype along the way. It is, for such minds, ineluctable.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/05/21/rex-murphy-cornel-wests-deep-personal-grudge-against-president-obama/

charlotte said...

"Bro, it's not my fault you are unsatisfied with your career, but let me give you a little hint -- many white guys in America are rich and well-respected...you just 'aint one of them."


I'm trying to determine if this "Truth" ascribes all unfavorable opinions of his heroes as due to envy? West is rich; so are countless worthless individuals. Wall Street banksters make billions while paramedics make peanuts. heck, my plumber is more important and worthwhile than some wall street bankster. The more money somebody makes, as one moves into the nether-sphere of income--chances are, the more truly worthless to society that person really is.
It's why Carnegie, wanting to meet his maker with a clear conscience, built charitable institutions and libraries and tried all his life (unsuccessfully) to give away all his money.

charlotte said...

"Bro, it's not my fault you are unsatisfied with your career, but let me give you a little hint -- many white guys in America are rich and well-respected...you just 'aint one of them."


I'm trying to determine if this "Truth" ascribes all unfavorable opinions of his heroes as due to envy? West is rich; so are countless worthless individuals. Wall Street banksters make billions while paramedics make peanuts. heck, my plumber is more important and worthwhile than some wall street bankster. The more money somebody makes, as one moves into the nether-sphere of income--chances are, the more truly worthless to society that person really is.
It's why Carnegie, wanting to meet his maker with a clear conscience, built charitable institutions and libraries and tried all his life (unsuccessfully) to give away all his money.

Truth said...

"I'm trying to determine if this "Truth" ascribes all unfavorable opinions of his heroes as due to envy?"

Cornel West is not my "hero" he strikes me as a bit of a goofball, but I'm not jealous of him, Grasshopper is.