Cornel West's Rise and Fall by Michael Eric Dyson
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned” is the best-known line from William Congreve’s The Mourning Bride. But I’m concerned with the phrase preceding it, which captures wrath in more universal terms: “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned.” Even an angry Almighty can’t compete with mortals whose love turns to hate. Cornel West’s rage against President Barack Obama evokes that kind of venom. He has accused Obama of political minstrelsy, calling him a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface”; taunted him as a “brown-faced Clinton”; and derided him as a “neoliberal opportunist.” In 2011, West and I were both speakers at a black newspaper conference in Chicago. West’s animus is longstanding, and only intermittently broken by bouts of calculated love. Despite West’s disapproval of Obama, he eventually embraced the political phenom, crossing the country as a surrogate and touting his Oval Office bona fides. Yet West is, in my estimation, the most exciting black American scholar ever.
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