Q. As a self-declared Blues Man -- someone who is distrustful of superficial optimism -- what do you think of Obama's message about "hope"?
A. I do worry at times that our culture confuses mature hope with naive audacity. It is important to remember that the blues conception of hope is in no way identical with the optimism of the American Dream.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream was not the American Dream. It was rooted in the American Dream -- it incorporated the need to work hard, defer gratification and aspire to be the best. But it was also a rejection of crass materialism, hedonism and narcissism.
At times, Obama's talk about "the audacity of hope" oscillates between the deep blues conception of hope and the thin hope of American optimism. It concerns me, but it doesn't trouble me.
Professor Cornel West, as interviewed in the 20 March issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.
Rolling Stone has endorsed Obama's candidacy for President -- which "marks the first time we've chosen a candidate during the primary season."