Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cornel West - The Jazz Man of Ideas

I was blown away by Cornel West on February 26th at Stambaugh Auditorium. I personally think this was mutual as I think that Dr. West was also blown away by the crowd and the venue. It is not often that we are privileged to hear intellectual discourse such as that Dr. West provided the other evening. The philosophical conversation is something that is often missing from our day to day lives. After listening to his lecture the positive energy in the auditorium was palpable. The issues he discussed are those that concern many of us. If you missed it,I'm sorry. However, you may have another opportunity to hear Dr. West.

Dr. West is in a new documentary coming soon called The Examined Life Philosophy is in the Streets. If urge you to seek it out. It would be wonderful if we could get a showing of the film in Youngstown - perhaps we can work on that. After the theatrical opening dvds will also be available and you can get information about that here. There are special rates for schools and institutions as well. Here is a clip from the film.


Tyler said...

I was sorry to have missed the lecture. Thanks for the update and clip.

susie said...

"The jazz man of ideas"
Cornel, what a funky soul!
What an amazing experience!
Loved the trailer, can't wait to see the film! I am THERE for a group showing!

I also watched a few Zizek videos.
Today, mind has been expanded and blown, existentially speaking...

Thank you for your insight.

Dorina Shine said...

I was blessed to have been among an auditorium filled with people looking for the knowledge Dr. West is known for bringing to his lectures. I have never had the opportunity before this one to have been in the midst of any of his profound lectures before and I must say, it felt just like I was hanging out with a philosophical, unique and down to earth Brother, Uncle, Father (I recieved a lot from the positive male connection). It was an entertaining, intellectual night out (by myself, mind you), I will never forget. Then again, I wasn't really by myself, people were all around that I knew from my own community.As a matter of fact, I had the luxury to be seated right next to the photographer that took the pictures for the Buckeye Review. I had fun...hope you did too!!!
Be blessed

susie said...

People keep talking about Cornel!

I wanted to share some reflections that a student of mine wrote about the lecture. They are copied here with her permission. Thank you Melissa!
There are A LOT of like-minded people in our community.
Let's keep connecting and working toward common unity (Thanks elecpencil!:-) Peace.

March 7, 2009

Before going to the Dr. Cornel West lecture I went to the bookstore to check out his most recent book, Hope on a Tightrope. The last section of the book listed all the books and music that influenced him in his life. Everyone should make these lists because these are the things that inspire us and can pull us through the ups and downs of life. Dr. West’s list is a little intimidating with such authors as Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and Dante listed. In person, however, Dr. West is anything but intimidating.
From the initial solid embrace he gave our Dr. Wan-Tatah, West showed real sincerity and humility. He is a truly enlightened man. His intellect is not lofty, it is down to earth and he speaks in a way that everyone can relate to.
He mentioned everyone from Obama to Socrates. He told us it takes courage to examine our lives. He said, “Find movement in the funk!” The evening was very inspiring. Of all the ideas he presented I have picked my two favorites to discuss here.
He made a point about greatness that I have been talking about with everyone I know ever since. He said we have been telling our children that being successful is the most important goal in life. We haven’t been teaching them to be great as well. He said, “Success without greatness means becoming well adjusted to injustice and materialism.” Right on. He followed that with something his grandma said, “Peacocks strut because they can’t fly.” When I look around at all of the media glorifying materialism and sensationalism it saddens me. No one taught them to be great. During the Q & A and the end of the lecture, an eloquent young man asked Dr. West how to meet more likeminded people and cultivate those relationships. Someone taught that young man how to be great.
The other point that is near and dear to my heart deals with racism in America. Recently I had to look at Youngstown through the eyes of my Californian husband. It broke my heart trying to explain (not excuse) the underlying racial discord here. In his work he has run into people who are down right proud of their racist views. Dr. West was talking about this new age of Obama being called post racial when what it really is is just less racist. He also called for a frank conversation about race and I agree. Let’s not tip toe around this anymore. Intellects can discuss and postulate all they want but someone needs to say what’s really being said in the real world – working class America.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to see Dr. West speak. It is an experience I will keep with me always.