Blog post

"Smelling the Funk" With Simon Critchley and Cornel West at the BAM

Michael Bacal13 February 2012

Last Tuesday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Simon Critchley and Cornel West sat down to a lively evening of conversation and philosophical reflection. Orbiting around the main themes of Critchley's new book, The Faith of the Faithless, the two touched on everything from the constitutive role of love and belief in forming political bonds of solidarity to, yes, the power of soul and funk music. To paraphrase the incomparable Brother West, the two also did not shy away from "smelling the funk" over the course of the evening. Together with their theoretical reflections on spirituality, religion and radical democracy, each addressed New York's controversial "Stop and Frisk" program, the "prison-industrial complex" of the United States and the Left and Right wing media's joint complicity in ignoring and reproducing the underlying structures of an increasingly oligarchic society.  

BAM has uploaded full audio of the discussion as well as several video clips on their blog, accompanied by Critchley's running commentary and his suggestion--which Verso will be do its best to help carry out!--- that West will join him again for

a serious philosophical rumination at BAM about music, about poetry, about the great Otis Redding, James Brown, Al Green, Bootsy Collins, Parliament and Funkadelic and the sacred and true President Clinton, George not Bill, and greatest of them all, the poet and activist Curtis Mayfield.

Visit the BAM's blog to watch the clips and listen to the debate in full.