Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
When Robert George ‘77 and Cornel West, both prominent intellectuals, met for the first time, the spark was instantaneous.
“Bob was playing some bluegrass on the banjo, right there in his office. I walked by and, man oh man, I felt it. I knew I had found both an intellectual equal for both rigorous debate and rigorous lovemaking,” West said.
For George, meeting West was a similarly earth-shattering experience. “He walked into a faculty meeting and, God almighty, if I didn’t blush like a schoolgirl.”
George went on to describe the process of two serious academics falling in love. “We human beings are not simply centers of rationality. We have feelings. We have emotions. And with Cornel – well, those emotions were hard to ignore.”
West agreed. “This why we do this,” he said. “This is why we came to Swarthmore – to share our love with you all. What I’ve learned during my time with Bob is – dialogue doesn’t always have to be vocal.”
Although George sees his relationship with West as general positive, even “blessed,” he pointed out that the couple does experience some domestic disagreements. “On some things we do agree, we have an intellectual consensus. On some things we don’t agree. For instance, Cornel refuses to compost at our apartment, which I find, frankly, unacceptable,” George said.
“Sure, we fight sometimes. But it makes us stronger. I mean, look at us,” West said, putting his arm around his lover. “This is what community looks like.”
“We’re united with each other in love and […] above all a devotion in liberal learning,” George said, gazing into his partner’s eyes. “And by liberal learning, I think you know what I mean.”