Monthly Archives: June 2009

Mark on Leonard

Mark Steyn, as part of his always diverting “Song of the Week” series, has a delightful piece today on Leonard Cohen’s song Dance Me To The End Of Love. It begins with his reflections on the difficulty songwriters have always had in coming up with interesting ways to use the very limited number of rhymes for the word love. Cohen did spectacularly well in this song, Steyn argues. Read his whole piece — but he included a quote from Cohen that was news to me, as regards the genesis of the song:

It’s curious how songs begin because the origin of the song, every song, has a kind of grain or seed that somebody hands you or the world hands you and that’s why the process is so mysterious about writing a song. But that came from just hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, beside the crematoria, in certain of the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt.

Click here to listen to the song on YouTube.

On Watered-Down Love (going out to Governor Mark Sanford)

Well, I didn’t plan on writing anything about the troubles of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, his wounded family and his Argentinian lover. Like, I am sure, many others of a conservative bent, I was just dismayed to see another Republican of fairly strong repute falling to a scandal, and I preferred to avoid the story as much as possible. Yet, the story is out there in such a public way — thanks in part to the apparent openness and straightforwardness of both Mr. and Mrs. Sanford — that it does have elements of the salutary parable to it. By all appearances, it does seem that this is not the usual case we see in political life of a serial philanderer finally getting his comeuppance, but rather the case of a poor schlub who genuinely fell for someone in an initially unintentional if still stupid and adolescent fashion.

And then a reader (thanks to Linda) alerted me to an oblique Dylan connection in the whole thing. Continue reading “On <em>Watered-Down Love</em> (going out to Governor Mark Sanford)” »

Final note on Troopathon 2009

Troopathon 2009 had raised a grand total of $603,049.14 by the end of last night. Our glorious Anti-Jihadist team of bloggers has been credited with the fantastic total of $9,298.72! We came in third in the blogger rankings, behind the late-surging Greyhawks team with $17,146.06 and the first place Hot Air Steamers with an amazing $24,704.36. Thanks to all who contributed. By all accounts these care packages mean a lot to the troops, and you can’t say more than that. Continue reading “Final note on Troopathon 2009” »

Rogovoy on Dylan’s midrash

In the Forward, Seth Rogovoy has many worthy reflections after reading two new books on Bob Dylan. The two books are: “The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan,” edited by Kevin J.H. Dettmar, which Rogovoy likes, and “Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973” by Clinton Heylin, which Rogovoy doesn’t much like. The whole piece deserves a read: Bob Dylan’s Mystical Midrash. I haven’t at this point read either book myself, but I would agree with much of what Rogovoy himself says here generally about Dylan. I notice that he finds some of the words of Abraham Joshua Heschel — from his book “The Prophets” — illuminating in considering the special qualities of Dylan’s perspective in his songs. I wrote more along those lines in this space a few months ago: Prophets, octaves and blood.