If sketchy in other regards, Brother West is never anything but expansive on how Cornel West feels about Cornel West. He is deeply committed to his committed-ness, and passionately passionate about being full of passion. Various works of art, literature, music, and philosophy remind West of himself. He finds Augustinian humility to be deeply meaningful. This is mentioned in one sentence. His taste for three-piece suits is full of subtle implications that require a couple of substantial paragraphs to elucidate.
From Scott’s IHE evisceration of Cornel West’s latest effusion. Recommended.
Update: I want to be finished with this, but probably should respond to Edward Champion’s pissy little attack on Scott, since I helped launch this snowball down the hill in the first place. The bit about Scott not having published a book is fair enough, as far as it goes (which isn’t very far). But the bit about how Scott is “a man who doesn’t even possess a bachelor’s degree” is not. Academic credentialism is a pretty shitty substitute for argument – and if Champion disagrees and really wants to play that game, he should perhaps cough up a bit more about his own academic accolades and accomplishments for those (like himself) who care about these things. The crack about how:
his crude and lifeless essays have proven so soporific that, in 2004, the National Book Critics Circle awarded him the dubious Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing for his unadventurous pursuits. It was a questionable distinction, enervated by the fact that only a handful of out-of-touch elitists actually care about this dubious accolade
acquires a somewhat different resonance if one knows that Champion ran against Scott to be elected to the board of aforesaid organization – and lost. One can only presume that their failure to elect him by acclaim is Complete and Sufficient Evidence of their out-of-touch-eliteyness.
Champion is a bit of a sad sack – a gnawer-over of scraps of literary carrion disdained by larger predators and snarler at those whom he fears might take them away from him. And furthermore a writer possessed of a wavering and uncertain grasp of the English language (viz. the rummy use of ‘enervated’ in the passage above) and perpetrator of such metaphors as “a superficial conclusion distressingly reminiscent of a teabagger’s uninformed protest.”
Update 2: Scott responds to the fried chicken nonsense in his new IHE column.