I was also bothered by the fact that Johansen's character was a Yale philosophy graduate snob but never acted like it AND seemed to be completely oblivious to philosophy or depth. That might have been intended as ironic or funny but in an odd way it wasn't subtle ENOUGH for this film and I ended up feeling like it was just an aspect of the character that was dropped a quarter of the way through the screenplay. The film needed more bursts of concentrated dialogue or excitement to off-set the other parts and to develop things more fully. Being empty and vaguely depressing is no substitute for true depth (Adaptation being a movie that I feel has true depth.)
I have been amusing myself recently with an idea entirely of my own making. During my history class I made a comment that in terms of political representation and rights during the 1850's it wasn't just negroes who were getting the shaft, then I sang out "Shaft!" for reasons that still aren't clear to me. Since then I've been elaborating an idea of a Saturday Night Live skit placing Shaft as a free black man in the Deep South during the prelude to the civil war. For some reason imagining Richard Roundtree calling Jefferson Davis a 'Jive Turkey' or someone in the Southern legislature standing up and saying "We hereby pass a condemnation of John Shaft for being a bad motherf..."
Speaker: "Shut your Mouth! You are OUT OF ORDER!"
Legislator, sheepishly: "I was only talking about Shaft."
Blaxploitation+Confederacy. Someone has to do it. I think UPN did something somewhat similar as a TV show, but naturally they failed to bring over the 70's vibe and slang that is so critical to the humor, plus it would get old after awhile. SNL needs skits like that anyway, they've fallen off in the quality parody department.