I’m not going to wax poetic about Leonard Cohen, he can do that himself, through his music.
These are the 5 of his songs I love:
1. Everybody Knows (made famous in Pump Up the Volume). To me, an echoing voice of many generations, still calling vainly through the haze of lies and corruption.
2. First We Take Manhattan. This song got in my head and has never left; such unprocessed intensity it thrashes around still begging for answers.
3. Hallelujah. First heard in my teen angst years and can sometimes evoke a tear or two as the truth struggles through. Hundreds of versions later, my favs remain by: Jeff Buckley, John Cale, and Mr. Cohen, sorry Bono, yours sucked. Long before Shrek, this was classic.
4. Who By Fire. A prayer by another other name. I might just be reading into this, but I always felt it was about atonement, an expiational yearning, of sorts.
5. Avalanche. Evocative articulation about depression.
I don’t dislike the rest of Cohen’s work, it just doesn’t affect me the way the aforementioned songs do. I’ve seen him in concert several times, I even sat with him once many years ago, in a group. I felt questions bubbling up, but rarely spoke; being a writer and pedantic poet I found myself enjoying just listening to one so exquisitely arcane.
I’m always interested to see what others read into this abstruse artist. There are so many interpretations of his work. I dove into the book, Leonard Cohen and Philosophy: Various Positions, edited by Jason Holt (Open Court), from the Popular Culture and Philosophy series with a keenness that was repaid in full by cool and thought-provoking scrutiny of Cohen’s creations. I revisited some of his songs, to hear what these philosophers had heard. I still didn’t always hear it, but I thank them for their considered analysis. After many decades of listening to Mr. Cohen I realize that reconciling what people say and what they do may remain an eternal mystery…doesn’t mean I have to quit trying.
The first thing most people think of when thinking About Planet of the Apes is Charlton Heston’s celebrated overacting as Taylor saying, “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”, but after reading this entertaining and thought-provoking book, Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike (edited by John Huss), part of the Popular Culture and Philosophy series from Open Court, I realize that either I don’t think enough about Planet of the Apes…or these philosophers think about it way too much.
While I enjoyed all these cool essays on how Planet of the Apes pertains to: war, peace, love, hate, prejudice, revolution, evolution, genetic engineering, time/space paradoxes, insanity, identity, the environment, our inability to learn from the past, not looking toward the future, what made me think most was about our ability as humans to speak.
Humans talk. We talk a lot. We talk about important things. And a lot about trivial things.
We tell truths, lies, we tell people what they want to hear and sometimes we tell them only what we think they need to know.
We laugh, we scream, we whisper, we sing, we hum. We’re low talkers, high talkers, close talkers, mumblers…
We feel our being able to speak separates us from animals, somehow makes us a superior species.
Yeah, so superior.
This book is an absorbing and straightforward work that lets us explore many ethical, political, scientific, cultural, creative, and emotional issues in the fun and safe environment of the Planet of the Apes franchise.
It makes one think, is our new frenzied behaviour because we jumped into technology that instead of amplifying our voices in fact mutes them? The information age was supposed to enlighten, it was supposed to be the great equalizer. Yet we are bombarded by that information, it comes at us in waves, in 140 characters, in memes, emails, texts, posts, pictures, videos, social media…and there’s no need for that information to be correct, just out there.
Whatever it is, we can’t seem to stop…the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the latest in the franchise (the 8th plus 2 TV series) will be hitting theaters July 11, 2014.
Maybe we should try to work out our problems here on Earth without struggling too hard to solve the mysteries of mankind and the universe, after all, we might not like the answers.
“You know what they say, ‘Human see, human do.'” ~Julius