(NNPA)—It’s the academic version of the world heavyweight championship boxing matches between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in Zaire labeled “The Rumble in the Jungle” and the Philippine’s “Thriller in Manila.” Whatever label you attach to it, the public feud between Professors Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, two of our most gifted intellectuals, cannot be ignored.
Dyson’s original opus weighed in at nearly 10,000 words—four to five times the length of a typical magazine feature story—and landed plenty of punches to West’s body of work. Dyson charged that Obama’s inauguration marked “a pronounced and decades-long scholarly decline” for West.
He explained, “It is not only that West’s preoccupations with Obama’s perceived failures distracted him, though that is true; more accurate would be to say that the last several years revealed West’s paucity of serious and fresh intellectual work, a trend far longer in the making. West is still a Man of Ideas, but those ideas today are a vain and unimaginative repackaging of his earlier hits. He hasn’t published without aid of a co-writer a single scholarly book since Keeping Faith, which appeared in 1993, the same year as Race Matters.”