12.15.2008

The Spirit Moves in Mysterious Ways; Or, "Doesn't that hurt?!"

They said not to film Dr. West, so I didn't -- but look at this undoctored picture I caught with my camera phone -- that's his arm, bending like Gumby's. Awesome. Most memorable quote: "The cross is always higher than any flag." My overall impression is that this man "gets it," but he's getting old. He talked a little tonight about how each generation must find its authentic voice by engaging in an ever-renewing dialogue with the voices of the past (pretty standard protestant theology, I suppose)... he cited Snoop Dogg as a good example of a dude who's found an authentic, original voice.

That's true, but that example sort of dates West in my view. It's not his fault. He must be getting up onto 70 -- but the dialectic is already bouncing in another direction. In any case, he's gotta be one of the most entertaining old men alive. It was good to see and feel Charlotte's young and wise out for a night of intellectual stimulation.

6 comments:

fenhopper said...

oh so now he gets it. what changed in you?

Casey said...

Well, when you're the racial minority in the room, you have different feelings...

Surprise!

No, really: If you're referring to my somewhat harsher treatment of "Dr. Scarf-neck" on Mxrk's blog not long ago, I don't see it as a contradiction. As a rule, people hit their stride in life around 40-45... that's when I look for someone to be a) speaking in their authentic/tr-e voice, and b) speaking to society in the way that matters most at the time that matters most.

For Cornel West, who was born in '53 (I would've guessed '43, but whatev), that means he was droppin' it like it was hot all through the '90s.

But as HE said himself last night, the dialogue rolls on... I guess I see Barack's "inclusionary" rhetoric as the next stage in the development of African American though in this country. That's not to take anything away from West, it's just to lean toward the future.

West talked about Jesus and the Roman oppression of the Jews a little bit last night. I share views with him there in understanding African American experience in America as running loosely parallel to Jews in the Roman Empire... but whereas John the Baptist might've preached fire and brimstone (something like Malcolm X), Jesus' message of love... and his message was not just for other Jews, it was for Romans who were willing to admit that Rome had done wrong. And everybody else, too.

So, yeah. Did I just compare Obama to Jesus? Lordamercy.

Casey said...

"...African American thought in this country..."

Casey said...

Also, the preacher that came on for ten minutes before Dr. West talked for a while about "Divine dissatisfaction." I liked that a lot... it gave a holy name to my perpetual unwillingness to be completely comfortable with anything. And West kinda picked up on that in his speech, which made me feel warm and fuzzy.

Mxrk said...

There are few public speakers as fascinating as West. I like Noam Chomsky a lot, but he's got that monotone delivery and he never really get riled up.

fenhopper said...

is it any wonder he's my hero?