April 28, 2008

Rev. Wright as an intellectual

One of the things I've been pointing out is that Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. takes himself seriously as an ideological intellectual.

Obama and Wright have both been saying that the Youtubes of Wright's sermons are just snippets, but they are trying to imply different things by that. Obama wants you to believe that Wright is actually much more moderate than a few out-of-context clips might show. Wright, on the other hand, means that he's got lots more where that's coming from, that he's actually a deep thinker who has elaborate reasons backing up the opinions summarized in the notorious clips.

To his credit, despite Wright's ego, I don't get the impression that he sees himself as a creative genius, just as a well-read intellectual who keeps up on the scholarly work of leftist black theologians and philosophers such as James H. Cone.

This seems like a fair self-assessment, so it's frustrating for Wright that almost nobody in the white media has taken seriously his ideology, in fact, has barely noticed that he has an ideology. To whites, it's all just some black thing that we don't have to -- indeed, better not -- pay attention to.

It's especially annoying to Wright that nobody in the white press has paid much attention to the idea that a very bright young man named Barack Obama chose, out of all the black ministers he'd come into contact with during his four years as a community organizer, Rev. Wright because Obama was impressed with Wright's intellect and agreed with his ideology.

To the white media, all black ministers are alike, but not to an ultra-competitive black minister like Wright, who has outcompeted every other minister on the South Side of Chicago, that's a racist travesty.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

10 comments:

William said...

Remember, the Trinity website also sells a CD celebrating Wright's status as an eminent "Ethnomusicologist," whatever the hell that is.

alex said...

That's where all this "to attack Wright is to attack black America" stuff is coming from. There's no seriously-considered intellectual ideology here. It's just a cry of pain. It applies to all blacks and it shouldn't be held up to white standards of offense because of the special pain suffered by blacks. This is what the media (including most black commentators) have assumed and of course Obama helped them assume that by saying he could not longer denounce Wright than black America.

Of course, Wright might be contributing to this by saying he represents "the black church" but presumably he means it differently (like that his church is the one blacks should get behind!).

Sam Smeed said...

Steve wrote: "It's especially annoying to Wright that nobody in the white press has paid much attention to the idea that a very bright young man named Barack Obama chose, out of all the black ministers he'd come into contact with during his four years as a community organizer, Rev. Wright because Obama was impressed with Wright's intellect and agreed with his ideology."

I agree, but I also think Wright is flattering/ deluding himself. I think Obama chose Wright for a simpler reason: to learn how to be seen as socially and politically black despite having fairly light skin. Wright is the master of maintaining "black" identity without dark complexion.

I agree that Obama likes Wright's leftist ideology, but I strongly suspect that much of its allure is that the American academic/literary establishment agrees that hard leftism is the "proper" ideology for blacks. Indeed, all non-leftist blacks in this country are routinely denounced as race traitors by the media (cf. treatment of Clarence Thomas).

Bill said...

william said...
Remember, the Trinity website also sells a CD celebrating Wright's status as an eminent "Ethnomusicologist," whatever the hell that is.


When I was a kid I knew a nice Japanese couple, both of whom were ethnomusicologists. They were mild-mannered, altruistic types who adopted a Vietnamese orphan -- one of my childhood friends. Liberal I'm sure, but they lived according to their ideals.

I actually find the idea of ethnomusicology very interesting, and I'm glad someone's doing it. However, I understand that their work may seem trivial to most people.

wren said...

Perhaps you can start a think tank together with Rev Wright.

Oprah could probably get you press.

He could do the talking and you could do the...

pashley said...

Mr. Smead hits it on the head; the yuppie Ivy League guy looks for street cred with a cultural group that could get him places in politics. Great, got him as far as the US Senate.

The reverse side is that Obama hasn't the background to figure exactly how far up the creek he has paddled. His professors hated America, his pastor (and I assume, his Christianity) blames whitey, his wife has a bone to pick with the country, and he belongs to the Party of aggrieved minorities. He hasn't even lived overseas to figure out this might actually be the best of all possible worlds, imagine that.

Clinton will get the nomination in Denver.

M. Simon said...

Obama is deep down a Marxists. His family. His mentor Frank Marshall Davis and now Wright.

He has learned to "pass". That mask is coming off.

However, it is not intellectual Marxism in any sense. It is Marxism as a means to power. (Candy Canes and Fluffy Bunnies and Rainbows for every one when we destroy the evil ones)

poor richard said...

Rev. Wright actually has some pretty interesting things to say about race. Sure, there is some edge to it. Race is about divisions, folks. Any honest discussion of race must acknowledge those divisions that custom has erected.

His whole "God damn America" thing is a useful sound bite, but what was his point? That America probably doesn't have much legitimate business in the Mideast? Maybe even that the American involvement there is somehow unnatural or unbalanced in a way that invites "divine retribution"? Hmm. Well, why are we fighting wars half way around the world? For "democracy"?

Many blacks notice that white Americans are gung-ho to be benevolent MidEast Peacemakers, Environmental Warriors, and so on. But then ignore problems in our own country, as happened with Katrina. Do they have a point? I think so.

Leonard said...

It's pretty clear to me that Wright is a smart guy. And that must have been a big draw for Obama, who must have been frustrated by the lack of intellectual equals among the black leadership he encountered in Chicago. The IQ angle to their relationship is another thing that probably only Sailer would engage with.

Svigor said...

Obama wants you to believe that Wright is actually much more moderate than a few out-of-context clips might show. Wright, on the other hand, means that he's got lots more where that's coming from

That was laugh out loud funny Steve. But beneath that, you're describing a very familiar experience. I know the feeling (Wright's) you describe all too well, though his schtick is far more tolerated than mine, and far less supportable.

I think Obama chose Wright for a simpler reason: to learn how to be seen as socially and politically black despite having fairly light skin. Wright is the master of maintaining "black" identity without dark complexion.

Damn Sam! Why didn't I think of that! It makes PERFECT sense. In fact it's so perfect it seems to be too good to be true; it dovetails flawlessly with my theory of Obama's racial identity (talented, thoroughly culturally-white guy seeking fame & fortune by becoming "black)).

I owe you a beer if we ever meet.