August 13, 2007

Another Academic Breakthrough

As you might well imagine, dear reader, the scholarly world is all atwitter. Throughout the hallowed halls of academe, ivy-covered professors can’t stop whispering about a brand-new landmark work. Many claim that this magnum opus will forever alter the intellectual universe.

We refer, of course, to “Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations.” And what, you may reasonably ask, is “Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations”? Why, it’s Cornel West’s new rap album.

You know Cornel West, dear reader. He’s the Buckwheat-coiffed black pseudo-scholar who bolted from Harvard University to Princeton University in 2002 when Harvard president Larry Summers criticized his first effort in the realm of so-called “hip-hop.”

Decades ago, West wrote serious articles on philosophy. But, having Mau-Maued his way to the academic stratosphere, he has long since abandoned serious research for all sorts of ridiculous politicized grandstanding. As such, you’re more likely to see West at a political protest or rap concert than an academic conference.

If you ask us, it is to Larry Summers’ eternal credit that the absurd West left Harvard during his tenure. But clearly Joan Anderman, a staff writer for The Boston Globe, thinks otherwise. In the August 12 number of said paper, Ms. Anderman offers “Returning Rap to its Roots,” a pathetically fawning profile of West’s latest “hip-hop” foray.

The kicker to this article reads: “On second album, Cornel West gets a little help from his friends.” Who, you might wonder, are the friends? Do Harvard’s Harvey Mansfield and Princeton’s Peter Singer add a few raps of their own? Maybe Princeton president Shirley Tighman performs a little “human beat-box”?

Ah, no. As Ms. Anderman coos: “What does it take to get Prince, Talib Kweli, Andre 3000, KRS-One, Jill Scott, Rhymefest, and the late Gerald Levert on one album? It takes one man: Cornel West.” Gee, that is some academic accomplishment. No wonder Princeton offers West a big salary.

Surely the most inane part of Ms. Anderman’s puff piece pertains to West’s discussion of Princeton president Tighman’s likely reaction to his rap album. Ms. Anderman quotes West:

“I think she’ll be much more open than Brother Summers,” he says. “The hip-hop scared him. It’s a stereotypical reaction.”
These are quite possibly the dumbest, most self-serving remarks ever uttered. West wants to blame “Brother Summers’” negative reaction to his un-scholarly garbage on racism.

Although Ms. Anderman, of course, lets this ridiculousness remain unchallenged, its obtuseness is clearer than day. Just imagine West produced a bluegrass album instead of a rap LP. Would “Brother Summers” have reacted with glee? Obviously not, but West must play the race card to justify his pernicious shenanigans.

As if it weren’t sufficiently clear years ago, West’s latest activity demonstrates that he’s a pseudo-scholar and panjandrum tired of the rigors of producing serious intellectual work. He’s an embarrassment to Princeton and an embarrassment to the black community. Surely the most prominent black professor in the US ought to be known for his scholarly contributions and not his collaborations with “Rhymefest.”

Posted at August 13, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack