That last one was a very difficult week. One many of us would forget, if we could. The results of the U.S. presidential election was enough to make most of the free world reel. And then, just when we though things couldn’t get any worse, we lost the crack where the light got in.
Amid the wash of words written since iconic singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen died on November 10th at the age of 82, were some very good ones, including these from Brain Pickings, in a piece called “Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions.” From Brain Pickings:
Today, as the world’s greatest superpower elects a bigoted bully with fascist tendencies for president, many of the lines Cohen left out pierce with their pertinence — lines like “Concentration camp behind a smile” and “Who really gets to profit and who really gets to pay? / Who really rides the slavery ship right into Charleston Bay?”
A quarter century ago, Cohen speaks to our time with astonishing prescience — for any great artist is at bottom a seer in dialogue with eternal human problems — and tells Zollo:
I think the irony of America is transcendent in the song. It’s not an ironic song. It’s a song of deep intimacy and affirmation of the experiment of democracy in this country. That this is really where the experiment is unfolding. This is really where the races confront one another, where the classes, where the genders, where even the sexual orientations confront one another. This is the real laboratory of democracy. So I wanted to have that feeling in the song, too.
My sister and I just buried my father in Montreal. With only immediate family and a few lifelong friends present, he was lowered into the ground in an unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father. Exactly as he’d asked. As I write this I’m thinking of my father’s unique blend of self-deprecation and dignity, his approachable elegance, his charisma without audacity, his old-world gentlemanliness and the hand-forged tower of his work.