Annals of Shrill Self-Importance

BD_cornel.jpgThe Globe had a story yesterday on Cornel West, the black scholar whose spat with former Harvard head Larry Summers prompted him to decamp the World’s Greatest University for Princeton a while back. Those with long memories will recall that a key point of contention between West and his old boss was a hip-hop album the former released called Sketches of My Culture. Summers claimed this wasn’t what he has in mind when he spoke of scholarship, West countered that Summers was a racist.

Now West has a new album out, “Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations”—a title that sounds like it was created by a committee of New Agers. West told the Globe that his new boss, Princeton Prez Shirley Tilghman is expected to dig the new CD. “I think she’ll be much more open than Brother Summers. The hip-hop scared him. It’s a stereotypical reaction.”

Of course, why else would someone object to the work of Cornel West? It must be fear! Well, if that’s the case, it’s fear of the worst hip-hop lyrics since Mase. Here’s a sample: “Mercy mercy me / We got a crisis in our ecology / A system of legalized bribery / Normalized corruption / Leadership of bona fide mediocrity / Certified mendacity / What we gonna do?”

Bona fide mediocrity indeed. He’s all yours, Shirley.