There used to a half-serious joke that once Michael Jackson’s skin turned White and his nose started falling off, it wasn’t the real Michael Jackson. The real Michael was sick or locked away somewhere and this freakish clone of him was the one being wheeled out to the public.
Is that what happened to Cornel West? There’s a guy running around who looks like him. He sort of sounds like him if Cornel West only talked about how much he despises President Obama. He even wears the only suit in West’s closet. It’s too bad it isn’t a clone of Cornel West trashing his own rep while he trashes the president. It would be even easier to dismiss him as a bitter hater than it already is.
West’s latest in a series of tiresome tirades short of any intellectual insights, but long on street-level smack talk came in an interview with Tavis “Sub-Prime” Smiley, the Iago to West’s Othello:
Smiley: “What’s your sense of how the media, and not just Fox News but beyond that, your read as you’ve been watching this, how the media handled this case?”
West: “I think that it’s been decrepit though, brother. I mean, you get a focus on some of the upper middle class folk. I mean, what I call the ‘rent-a-negro’ phenomenon on MSNBC.”
This is almost funny. West snipes at his former allies, Rev. Al Sharpton and Michael Eric Dyson (and longtime adversary, Melissa Harris-Perry) for appearing on MSNBC (a network that has given West plenty of face time) while his best buddy Smiley has whored himself out to such corporations as Wal-Mart, Exxon, Wells-Fargo and McDonald’s. This does not trouble West as he is represented by Smiley for book publishing and speaking engagements (West earns up to $25,000 to speak).
In other words, if you got the cash, you can rent West and Smiley’s ashy asses. If MSNBC came calling and offered West and Smiley a show, how fast would they run not walk to sign on the dotted line?
The dizzying descent of West as an intellectual has been rapid and sad to behold. West has permitted the unscrupulous Smiley to co-opt him into a sustained and relentless campaign of negativity and baseless criticism of President Obama and any Black person who doesn’t share West and Smiley’s opinion.
The roots of West’s rage trace back to when Obama’s first inauguration. West was angry Obama hadn’t personally thanked him for his support and ensuring West was invited to the inauguration.
“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.”
“What it said to me on a personal level,” he goes on, “was that brother Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to? That was on a personal level.”
What that says to me is the only thing bigger on Cornel West than the gap between his teeth and his busted-ass Afro is his ego. It’s as big as outdoors and Dear Brother Cornel likes to have his ego stroked frequently and often.
I respect Dear Brother West. I bought Race Matters by the Dear Brother because race does matter and so did his observations.. I watched the Dear Brother on television and heard the Dear Brother speak when he came to town. I believe the Dear Brother is one of our greatest thinkers.
When the Dear Brother bothers to think. He stopped doing that when he let his ego, the only thing larger than his ‘fro, slip off the leash and he turned himself into a vicious, hypocritical, small-minded hater and it seems to be no coincidence the descent from renowned intellectual to annoying crank came when another blood enemy of Obama began whispering sweet nothing in the acclaimed academic’s ears.
West hasn’t written a meaningful book, penned a useful article or expressed an original thought since 2008 when he got butthurt over Obama not kissing his ass or give him a position of prominence in his administration as he did with West’s nemesis from Harvard, Larry Summers.
Seriously, isn’t Cornel West starting to look like a hip-hop Hobbit?
It seems the longer West hangs around Smiley the crazier he sounds. Smiley’s enemies (Obama, Al Sharpton, Tom Joyner, Melissa Harris-Perry, Michael Eric Dyson) have become West’s enemies. By lending his diminishing clout to Smiley, West only diminishes his own reputation and enhances Smiley.
West needs to put several time zones of distance between himself and Sub-Prime Smiley and get back to thinking like an intellectual instead of babbling like a damn fool. If West were as smart as he believes himself to be, he’d realize Smiley is playing him the way a pimp plays a ho.
- ANALYSIS: Is Anyone Black Enough for Cornel West? (blackamericaweb.com)
- Cornel West Uses ‘N-Word’ to Describe Black Leadership’s Deference to Obama (cnsnews.com)
- Cornel West and Tavis Smiley do a disservice to African Americans | David Dennis (guardian.co.uk)
- Cornell West Calls President Obama “A Global George Zimmerman” (kysdc.com)