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(17,671 posts)
82. Could be.
Thu Dec 22, 2011, 01:27 PM
Dec 2011

Last edited Thu Dec 22, 2011, 02:10 PM - Edit history (2)

The Matrix movies were Hollywood action blockbusters that tried to support a veneer of philosophical depth and failed to carry it through. They were roundly panned with each iteration for not following through on their promise of producing any real insight into the human condition but rather falling back on vague elliptical expressions of existential angst. The first movie was, philosophically speaking, the best not because of any insight it might have offered, but that it playfully tinkered with the movie viewing experience. That plot device was much more effective in creating a vehicle for martial arts special effects than any deep philosophical insight. I enjoyed all three movies and consider them well done but they are not good art.

African Americans also figured prominently in the casting of the films, and the symbiotic relationship between Hollywood and academia as manifest by West and the Warchoski brothers revolves, as it usually does, more around marketing than philosophy. Actors are cast in no small part for their demographic appeal and the presence of African Americans in the movie had little to do with the plot and much more to do with marketing. The inclusion of West no doubt served to help add a veneer of gravitas and depth to a movie that had none but used the history of racial problems in this country for easy emotional kitsch. As for West, I doubt he agreed to appear in the films without knowing how it was being demographically cast, and appearing as a powerful political figure in a culture of embattled African Americans fighting for survival against machines whose designer is a white guy with a white goatee and a white suit and whose nemesis is a black woman whose role in the system is to destabilize it with free will was no doubt an interesting choice for a black theologian.

If he feels that academicians are insufficiently involved in the culture at large surely he could find some segment of the culture with more gravitas than Bill Maher and the Warchoski brothers with which to engage. Of course it might be argued that the culture is such that the only way to involve oneself in it is to use avenues like that I daresay Ken Burns would return his phone calls. While his methods leave room for discussion regarding his motives, they are beyond doubt lucrative. He has written enough scholarly books to try his hand at a screenplay but chose instead to work in front of the camera and the microphone. Say what you will about politicians and actors, one trait they both share in abundance is narcissism, a trait not necessarily admirable in a theologian or an academician.

Central to the issue is not the career of Cornel West. If he wants to cash in that's fine with me, that's the American way. What is at issue here is an awareness of divided loyalties. The value of introspection and cultural structures that foster that impulse is to help people understand why they do things and who they do them for. When those structures begin to conflate their own self interest with the interests of those they are designed to serve devotees wind up serving the systems themselves rather than people. Thus, when a religious organization involves itself in politics the members of that organization have two conflicting objectives: management of a government that should fear them and fealty to a religion that demands their respect. The end result is that the religion gains tremendous power over government and by extension the people it governs.

The confusion regarding the motives of Mr. West are emblematic of the problems of the relationship between religion and government. While we may argue that the direct involvement of academia with the public may or may not be a good thing, his methods certainly seem to be emotionally self serving and lucrative. And as with the motives of Mr. West, the motives of religion are controversial because they depend less on any easily discernible benefit for all, but rather on a sort of plausible deniability that is also self serving and lucrative.

Cornel West was at our church yesterday. [View all] Thats my opinion Dec 2011 OP
"Both made it clear that Occupy is not primarily or even substantially a religious phenomenon." laconicsax Dec 2011 #1
I have never said any different Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #2
You deny repeatedly framing OWS in religious terms? laconicsax Dec 2011 #3
This message was self-deleted by its author Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #73
I've just have time to go through the citations you have posted, Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #74
You're right, being part of occupy is better than snarling at it. laconicsax Dec 2011 #92
What?! darkstar3 Dec 2011 #4
You said,"primary and substantial," prove it or be quiet. Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #7
I don't think you meant to reply to me. darkstar3 Dec 2011 #8
Is there any part of OWS skepticscott Dec 2011 #5
Well, I see seven there... rrneck Dec 2011 #6
You got the above seven OK. Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #9
You gather wrong. rrneck Dec 2011 #11
you had better read the court decisions on this manner before you become a legal expert. Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #13
You're welcome. rrneck Dec 2011 #14
Don't you get it? It's OK when HE does it... cleanhippie Dec 2011 #16
Ain't it the truth. rrneck Dec 2011 #21
This was a church meeting in the church building. I though you believed that was OK. Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #22
Post all the push polls you want. rrneck Dec 2011 #24
It's very difficult for me also tama Dec 2011 #27
I think it's hard for anybody. rrneck Dec 2011 #31
Granted tama Dec 2011 #36
I get the sense tama Dec 2011 #17
There is nothing wrong with people rrneck Dec 2011 #20
Once you understand tama Dec 2011 #25
So here's the deal. trotsky Dec 2011 #10
That's a stretch even for you Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #12
Yes, yes you do. You just don't LISTEN when people tell you what you are doing. cleanhippie Dec 2011 #15
specify Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #18
You have been explicity shown, over and over and over... cleanhippie Dec 2011 #23
For someone who claims Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #45
Do you know what I make from my writing? Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #48
Take my criticism for what you want. Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #54
you all have attacked me about everything i ever say Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #61
100% BULLSHIT! No one has attacked YOU. Its your OPINIONS and WORDS that have been attacked. cleanhippie Dec 2011 #62
If this isn't a personal attack, I guess I can't define it. Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #67
Is "Get a life" a personal attack? cleanhippie Dec 2011 #69
Again, it's all our fault. Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #79
By "people" tama Dec 2011 #19
So by your standards skepticscott Dec 2011 #33
No tama Dec 2011 #37
Well, under that standard, "personal persecution" hasn't happened skepticscott Dec 2011 #38
And what else tama Dec 2011 #42
Is that the best response you could come up with? skepticscott Dec 2011 #51
So when that person says that OWS Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #46
To my knowledge tama Dec 2011 #49
Well then maybe YOU can link us skepticscott Dec 2011 #52
Nope...apparently not..what a shock skepticscott Dec 2011 #63
scott, tama Dec 2011 #76
Well, your response in 49 to the question in 46 skepticscott Dec 2011 #78
It was a second personal singular pronoun. Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #80
Strange feature tama Dec 2011 #83
Well, if you don't care and won't read about it Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #85
Well I am tama Dec 2011 #88
How can you possibly tell it is "hostile interpretation" Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #89
How can I tell tama Dec 2011 #91
So why are you responding skepticscott Dec 2011 #86
The words you are choosing are causing negative feelings in others. trotsky Dec 2011 #26
In a way tama Dec 2011 #28
Yeah, you're helping a lot. trotsky Dec 2011 #29
Can't take a joke? :) tama Dec 2011 #34
Glad to hear you think this is all for your enjoyment. trotsky Dec 2011 #40
Universe is tama Dec 2011 #41
Please re-read that very carefully trotsky Dec 2011 #43
Obviously tama Dec 2011 #44
"Atheist hive mind"? laconicsax Dec 2011 #30
Just a matter of tone tama Dec 2011 #35
Nice backpedal! laconicsax Dec 2011 #39
The cute little smiley Goblinmonger Dec 2011 #47
It is very common tama Dec 2011 #50
How about... trotsky Dec 2011 #53
I don't know tama Dec 2011 #55
"feelings of bitterness and self pity" trotsky Dec 2011 #56
Actually tama Dec 2011 #57
"Not meant as accusations in any way"? trotsky Dec 2011 #58
Since you ask, honestly: yes. nt tama Dec 2011 #59
You tried to have this whole group shut down skepticscott Dec 2011 #32
About Cornell West rrneck Dec 2011 #60
Cornel West is both one the nation's most articulate social critics Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #64
His intellectual ans cultural contributions are beyond dispute. rrneck Dec 2011 #65
Wouldn't you consider jesus to be a celebrity? cleanhippie Dec 2011 #66
I consider him to be a sincere theologian who has learned how to be generally heard. Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #68
Yeah, it's me, not you. cleanhippie Dec 2011 #70
That does it. Thats my opinion Dec 2011 #71
Hahahahahahahahaha! cleanhippie Dec 2011 #81
Well, to be fair rrneck Dec 2011 #75
In a way yeah rrneck Dec 2011 #72
Maybe tama Dec 2011 #77
Could be. rrneck Dec 2011 #82
For some reason tama Dec 2011 #84
Yep. rrneck Dec 2011 #87
That's a beautiful song, thanks tama Dec 2011 #90
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