In 1995, The New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier charged him with opportunism, crass showmanship, and lack of scholarly seriousness. Wieseltier specifically dismissed West's books as "almost completely worthless" because, he said, they are "noisy, tedious, slippery ... sectarian, humorless, pedantic and self-endeared."
In 2000, economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers became president of Harvard. Soon after, Summers held a private meeting with West, where he reportedly rebuked West for missing too many classes, contributing to grade inflation, neglecting serious scholarship, and spending too much time on his economically profitable projects. Summers reportedly suggested that West produce an academic book befitting his professorial position, as his recent output had consisted primarily of co-written and edited volumes. According to some reports, Summers also objected to West's production of a CD, the critically panned Sketches of My Culture, and to his political campaigning, including an alleged three weeks to promote Bill Bradley's presidential campaign. West contended he had missed only one class during his tenure at Harvard "in order to give a keynote address at a Harvard-sponsored conference on AIDS." Summers also allegedly suggested that since West held the rank of Harvard University Professor and thus reported directly to the President, he should meet with Summers regularly to discuss the progress of his academic production.
Summers refused to comment on the details of his conversation with West, except to express hope that West would remain at Harvard. Soon after, West was hospitalized for prostate cancer. West complained that Summers failed to send him get-well wishes until weeks after his surgery, whereas newly installed Princeton president Shirley Tilghman had contacted him frequently before and after his treatment.
In 2002 West left Harvard University to return to Princeton. West lashed out at Summers in public interviews, calling him "the Ariel Sharon of higher education" on NPR's Tavis Smiley Show. In response to these remarks, five Princeton faculty members, led by professor of molecular biology Jacques Robert Fresco, said they looked with "strong disfavor upon his characterization" of Summers and that "such an analogy carries innuendoes and implications... that many on the Princeton faculty find highly inappropriate, indeed repugnant and intolerable."
>>7651724 >West complained that Summers failed to send him get-well wishes until weeks after his surgery, whereas newly installed Princeton president Shirley Tilghman had contacted him frequently before and after his treatment. lel muh prostate get-well wishes
>>7652236 i wouldnt go as far to say there's no coherent thread in what hes saying, in fact i quite like how he tries to tie seemingly unrelated things into his ideal, like the bit about plato and the flute. But he does seem that hes trying to hard to impress
>>7652657 They are pretty fine constructs in my opinion. I choose racism ironically of course, but I am committed to irony so my racism is almost indistinguishable from unironic racism. I wouldn't call a guy a nigger to his face as I am not so committed to irony that I will get my face punched, but I will sigh whenever someone mentions immigration.
>>7652663 It certainly seems to be component of his thought, but he seems more interesting than most who support those ideas. I'd have to read his political works to make an adequate judgement; there wasn't enough in the video for me to do so.
Also while he had a few clever lines, his speaking style generally annoyed me.
>>7652236 >There's no coherence or genuine thread of work going through what he's saying. He's just repeating flowerly language he read in other books. That's every French philosopher m8. True philosophy's been dead for half a century
I like the way he joins up anti-racist struggle and class struggle.
>Progressive organizations often find themselves going around in a vicious circle. Even when they have a great interest in antiracist struggle, they are unable to attract a critical mass of people of color because of their current predominately white racial and cultural composition. These organizations are then stereotyped as lily white, and significant numbers of people of color refuse to join.
>The only effective way the contemporary democratic socialist movement can break out of this circle (and it is possible because the bulk of democratic socialists are among the least racist of Americans) is to be sensitized to the critical importance of antiracist struggles. This "conscientization" cannot take place either by reinforcing agonized white consciences by means of guilt, nor by presenting another grand theoretical analysis with no practical implications.The former breeds psychological paralysis among white progressives, which is unproductive for all of us; the latter yields important discussions but often at the expense of concrete political engagement.
>We must frankly acknowledge that a democratic socialist society will not necessarily eradicate racism. Yet a democratic socialist society is the best hope for alleviating and minimizing racism, particularly institutional forms of racism. This conclusion depends on a candid evaluation that guards against utopian self-deception. But it also acknowledges the deep moral commitment on the part of democratic socialists of all races to the dignity of all individuals and peoples, a commitment that impels us to fight for a more libertarian and egalitarian society. Therefore concrete antiracist struggle is both an ethical imperative and political necessity for democratic socialists. It is even more urgent as once again racist policies and Third World intervention become more acceptable to many Americans. A more effective democratic socialist movement engaged in antiracist and anti-imperialist struggle can help turn the tide. It depends on how well we understand the past and present, how courageously we act, and how true we remain to our democratic socialist ideals of freedom, equality, and democracy.
I actually have quite a bit of experience with Dr. West. In high school he helped me write a paper for an ethics class on Thomas Aquinas' connections to Aristotle. Smells great, gives everyone hugs, and calls everyone brother. Really good guy, though I haven't read too thoroughly into his politics.
>>7654406 He's not a noted scholar. He's a token nigger who has read a few books, just like Judith Butler is a token dyke. Nobody will be reading Cornel West in twenty years time, let alone a century from now.
Anyone have recommendations for a good book of his? I've only seen him in the video with Zizek. He didn't get to speak much as usually happens so I didn't get much of an impression. I liked the quote I responded to above but this >>7651724 does worry me a bit, if that's true he sounds like a scumbag.
>>7654620 Don't you dare fucking denigrate Summers' role in the Asian Financial Crisis and the Russian Financial Crisis. He is a fucking monster. He is a demon with horns. Anyone he dislikes should be looked on favorably.
Read "Race Matters" for sure. There's an anthology of his essays called "Cornel West Reader" which is great. Unfortunately he's been way more activist than academic lately and hasn't written a book in a long time.
Some of the criticisms levied against him as in the Dyson article are somewhat valid, but he should never have been made a pariah for all he's done. I think a lot of his more outlandish behavior/statements in the last decade are just him lashing out at all that unfair pressure.
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