Against the advice of my gastroenterologist, I found myself watching MTV last night and I bore witness to something that has to be a sign of the apocalypse. Either MTV has decided to splice footage of noted scholar Cornell West of Princeton into their programming, or I suffered some sort of episode that has caused me to hallucinate images of respected African-American professors in between episodes of Rob & Big. The Cornell West footage had no discernible purpose or context. It was just pictures of some crazy looking dude running around in a scarf.
I don’t know why it was shot, but MTV would cut to it as interstitial bumpers between commercial breaks and then run it on one side of a split-screen during the end credits and promotions for upcoming episodes. Now, I know that West is no stranger to the pop culture. He appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher a few months back, and even had a cameo in the Matrix sequels. But in what kind of world does one see images Cornell West dancing on one half of the screen while Danny and CT (shirtlessly) talk about their strategy for Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet III. There is something so fundamentally jarring about that juxtaposition that that I could feel my neurons misfiring as I tried to take it in. I could do nothing but blink and sputter for a few seconds, the cognitive dissonance was so strong.
Some youtube hunting and a casual search of the MTV site reveals nothing that can help me understand what I saw and put this disturbing experience behind me. Did just hallucinate the whole thing? If not, what can it mean for us and the future of our society? What’s next, Noam Chmosky hosting TRL? Up is down, black is white. Nothing makes sense anymore.