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Posts Tagged ‘popular literature

[PHOTO] “Anthem” by Cohen, in chalk and in song

The other day, I was walking along College Street in west-end Brockton Village when I saw that someone had written, in chalk on the sidewalk, the lyrics of the Leonard Cohen song “Anthem” from his 1992 album The Future. I had seen similar chalk inscriptions on nearby sidewalks, but this was much the most extensive, occupying eight panels of concrete.

Leonard Cohen, "Anthem", College between Margueretta and Brock (1) #toronto #collegewest #brocktonvillage #collegestreet #sidewalk #chalk #leonardcohen #poetry #lyrics #anthem

Leonard Cohen, "Anthem", College between Margueretta and Brock (2) #toronto #collegewest #brocktonvillage #collegestreet #sidewalk #chalk #leonardcohen #poetry #lyrics #anthem

Leonard Cohen, "Anthem", College between Margueretta and Brock (3) #toronto #collegewest #brocktonvillage #collegestreet #sidewalk #chalk #leonardcohen #poetry #lyrics #anthem

Leonard Cohen, "Anthem", College between Margueretta and Brock (4) #toronto #collegewest #brocktonvillage #collegestreet #sidewalk #chalk #leonardcohen #poetry #lyrics #anthem

A 2008 live performance of the song by Cohen is as close a we’ll have to an official video.

Four years ago, Quartz shared an explanation by Cohen of this song, a rarity.

The future is no excuse for an abdication of your own personal responsibilities towards yourself and your job and your love. “Ring the bells that still can ring”: they’re few and far between but you can find them.

This situation does not admit of solution of perfection. This is not the place where you make things perfect, neither in your marriage, nor in your work, nor anything, nor your love of God, nor your love of family or country. The thing is imperfect.

And worse, there is a crack in everything that you can put together: Physical objects, mental objects, constructions of any kind. But that’s where the light gets in, and that’s where the resurrection is and that’s where the return, that’s where the repentance is. It is with the confrontation, with the brokenness of things.

The full lyrics, of course, are sheer poetry.

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

Yeah the wars they will
Be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold
And bought again
The dove is never free

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

We asked for signs
The signs were sent:
The birth betrayed
The marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
Of every government
Signs for all to see

I can’t run no more
With that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places
Say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
A thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me

Ring the bells that still ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

You can add up the parts
You won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march
There is no drum
Every heart, every heart
To love will come
But like a refugee

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Written by Randy McDonald

March 29, 2020 at 12:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Architectuul looks back at some highlights from 2019.
  • Bad Astronomy looks at the gas cloud, red and green, of RCW 120.
  • Crooked Timber looks at the dynamics of identity politics, here.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes a NASA statement about the importance of understanding dust dynamics in other solar systems to find Earth analogues.
  • Far Outliers looks at the problems pacifying the Chesapeake Bay area in 1813, here.
  • Gizmodo looks at the most popular Wikipedia articles for the year 2019.
  • io9 shares a video of images from a 1995 Akira cyberpunk computer game that never got finished.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how the United States tried to “civilize” the Inupiat of Alaska by giving them reindeer herds.
  • Language Hat links to an online atlas of Scots dialects.
  • Language Log reports on a 12th century Sanskrit inscription that testifies to the presence of Muslims in Bengal at that point.
  • Marginal Revolution notes how much Tuvalu depends on revenue from its .tv Internet domain.
  • Drew Rowsome looks at the Duncan Ralston horror novel Salvage, set in small-town Canada.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the strong relationship between wealth and life expectancy in France.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in a hypothetical supernova, all life on an Earth-like planet would be boiled alive by neutrinos.
  • Strange Maps links to a graphic interface that translates a word into all the languages of Europe.
  • Understanding Society looks at the structures of high-reliability organizations.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a suggestion that Homer Simpson is actually the US’ version of Russia’s Ivan the Fool.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes that Betelgeuse is very likely not on the verge of a supernova, here.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the mapping of asteroid Bennu.
  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber reposted, after the election, a 2013 essay looking at the changes in British society from the 1970s on.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a collection of links about the Precambrian Earth, here.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes about fear in the context of natural disasters, here.
  • Far Outliers reports on the problems of privateers versus regular naval units.
  • Gizmodo looks at galaxy MAMBO-9, which formed a billion years after the Big Bang.
  • io9 writes about the alternate history space race show For All Mankind.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the posters used in Ghana in the 1980s to help promote Hollywood movies.
  • Language Hat links to a new book that examines obscenity and gender in 1920s Britain.
  • Language Log looks at the terms used for the national language in Xinjiang.
  • Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with Jeff Jacoby’s lack of sympathy towards people who suffer from growing inequality.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that urbanists should have an appreciation for Robert Moses.
  • Sean Marshall writes, with photos, about his experiences riding a new Bolton bus.
  • Caryl Philips at the NYR Daily writes about Rachmanism, a term wrongly applied to the idea of avaricious landlords like Peter Rachman, an immigrant who was a victim of the Profumo scandal.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a paper looking at the experience of aging among people without families.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why the empty space in an atom can never be removed.
  • Strange Maps shares a festive map of London, a reindeer, biked by a cyclist.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Mongolia twice tried to become a Soviet republic.
  • Arnold Zwicky considers different birds with names starting with x.

[NEWS] Fourteen links

  • By at least one metric, New Brunswick now lags economically behind a more dynamic Prince Edward Island. CBC reports.
  • NOW Toronto looks at toxic fandoms. (“Stanning” sounds really creepy to me.)
  • This CityLab article looks at how the particular characteristics of Japan, including its high population density, helps keep alive there retail chains that have failed in the US.
  • MacLean’s looks at Kent Monkman, enjoying a new level of success with his diptych Mistikôsiwak at the Met in NYC.
  • Can there be something that can be said for the idea of an Internet more strongly pillarized? Wired argues.
  • I reject utterly the idea of meaningful similarities between Drake and Leonard Cohen. CBC did it.
  • Toronto Life looks at the life of a Hamilton woman hurt badly by the cancellation of the basic income pilot, here.
  • Inspired by the death of Gord Downie, Ontario now has the office of poet-laureate. CBC reports.
  • Is Canada at risk, like Ireland, of experiencing two-tier health care? CBC considers.
  • A French immigrant couple has brought the art of artisanal vinegar to ile d’Orléans. CBC reports.
  • Shore erosion is complicating the lives of people along Lake Erie. CBC reports.
  • MacLean’s notes how Via Rail making it difficult for people without credit cards to buy anything on their trains, hurting many.
  • Michelle Legro notes at Gen that the 2010s is the decade where conspiracy culture became mainstream.
  • This essay by Robert Greene at his blog talking about what history, and historians, can do in our era is thought-provoking.

[BLOG] Five NYR Daily links (@nyrdaily)

  • Claire Messud writes at the NYR Daily about two art exhibits concerned with borders.
  • Caitlin Chandler writes at the NYR Daily about the state of the experiment of Germany with mass reception and integration of refugees.
  • The NYR Daily explores the modern Russian history of state-sponsored murder outside of its frontiers.
  • Moroccan writer Hisham Aldi writes at NYR Daily about his relationship with Paul Bowles.
  • The NYR Daily reports on a remarkable exhibit at the Barbican in London of notable nightclubs in 20th century culture.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Charlie Stross at Antipope shares an essay he recently presented on artificial intelligence and its challenges for us.
  • P. Kerim Friedman writes at {anthro}dendum about the birth of the tea ceremony in the Taiwan of the 1970s.
  • Anthropology net reports on a cave painting nearly 44 thousand years old in Indonesia depicting a hunting story.
  • Architectuul looks at some temporary community gardens in London.
  • Bad Astronomy reports on the weird history of asteroid Ryugu.
  • The Buzz talks about the most popular titles borrowed from the Toronto Public Library in 2019.
  • Caitlin Kelly talks at the Broadside Blog about her particular love of radio.
  • Centauri Dreams talks about the role of amateur astronomers in searching for exoplanets, starting with LHS 1140 b.
  • John Quiggin at Crooked Timber looks at what is behind the rhetoric of “virtue signalling”.
  • Dangerous Minds shares concert performance from Nirvana filmed the night before the release of Nevermind.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes new evidence that, even before the Chixculub impact, the late Cretaceous Earth was staggering under environmental pressures.
  • Myron Strong at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes about how people of African descent in the US deal with the legacies of slavery in higher education.
  • Far Outliers reports on the plans in 1945 for an invasion of Japan by the US.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing gathers together a collection of the author’s best writings there.
  • Gizmodo notes the immensity of the supermassive black hole, some 40 billion solar masses, at the heart of galaxy Holm 15A 700 million light-years away.
  • Russell Arben Fox at In Media Res writes about the issue of how Wichita is to organize its civic politics.
  • io9 argues that the 2010s were a decade where the culture of the spoiler became key.
  • The Island Review points readers to the podcast Mother’s Blood, Sister’s Songs, an exploration of the links between Ireland and Iceland.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on the claim of the lawyer of the killer of a mob boss that the QAnon conspiracy inspired his actions. This strikes me as terribly dangerous.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at a study examining scholarly retractions.
  • Language Hat shares an amusing cartoon illustrating the relationships of the dialects of Arabic.
  • Language Log lists ten top new words in the Japanese language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the dissipation of American diplomacy by Trump.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the many problems in Sparta, Greece, with accommodating refugees, for everyone concerned.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting the decline of the one-child policy in China has diminished child trafficking, among other crimes.
  • Sean Marshall, looking at transit in Brampton, argues that transit users need more protection from road traffic.
  • Russell Darnley shares excerpts from essays he wrote about the involvement of Australia in the Vietnam War.
  • Peter Watts talks about his recent visit to a con in Sofia, Bulgaria, and about the apocalypse, here.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the corporatization of the funeral industry, here.
  • Diane Duane writes, from her own personal history with Star Trek, about how one can be a writer who ends up writing for a media franchise.
  • Jim Belshaw at Personal Reflections considers the job of tasting, and rating, different cuts of lamb.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at a nondescript observatory in the Mojave desert of California that maps the asteroids of the solar system.
  • Roads and Kingdoms interviews Eduardo Chavarin about, among other things, Tijuana.
  • Drew Rowsome loves the SpongeBob musical.
  • Peter Rukavina announces that Charlottetown has its first public fast charger for electric vehicles.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog considers the impact of space medicine, here.
  • The Signal reports on how the Library of Congress is making its internet archives more readily available, here.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers how the incredibly isolated galaxy MCG+01-02-015 will decay almost to nothing over almost uncountable eons.
  • Strange Company reports on the trial and execution of Christopher Slaughterford for murder. Was there even a crime?
  • Strange Maps shares a Coudenhove-Kalergi map imagining the division of the world into five superstates.
  • Understanding Society considers entertainment as a valuable thing, here.
  • Denis Colombi at Une heure de peine announces his new book, Où va l’argent des pauvres?
  • John Scalzi at Whatever looks at how some mailed bread triggered a security alert, here.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the massive amount of remittances sent to Tajikistan by migrant workers, here.
  • Arnold Zwicky notes a bizarre no-penguins sign for sale on Amazon.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait observes that a team may have discovered the elusive neutron star produced by Supernova 1987A, hidden behind a cloud of dust.
  • Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber shares a photo he made via the time-consuming 19th century wet-plate collodion method.
  • Drew Ex Machina’s Andrew LePage looks at the Apollo 12 visit to the Surveyor 3 site to, among other things, see what it might suggest about future space archeology.
  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the story of rural poverty facing a family in Waverly, Ohio, observing how it is a systemic issue.
  • George Dvorsky at Gizmodo looks at how Mars’ Jezero crater seems to have had a past relatively friendly to life, good for the next NASA rover.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on the latest ignorance displayed by Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter, this time regarding HIV.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how Climategate was used to undermine popular opinion on climate change.
  • Language Hat links to an article explaining why so many works of classical literature were lost, among other things not making it onto school curricula.
  • Language Log shares a photo of a Muji eraser with an odd English label.
  • Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests Pete Buttigieg faces a campaign-limiting ceiling to his support among Democrats.
  • The LRB Blog argues that Macron’s blocking of EU membership possibilities for the western Balkans is a terrible mistake.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map depicting regional variations in Canada towards anthropogenic climate change. Despite data issues, the overall trend of oil-producing regions being skeptical is clear.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper examining the slowing pace of labour mobility in the US, suggesting that home attachment is a key factor.
  • Frederic Wehrey at the NYR Daily tells the story of Knud Holmboe, a Danish journalist who came to learn about the Arab world working against Italy in Libya.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why thermodynamics does not explain our perception of time.
  • Understanding Society’s Dan Little looks at Electronic Health Records and how they can lead to medical mistakes.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi shares a remarkable photo of the night sky he took using the astrophotography mode on his Pixel 4 phone.
  • Window on Eurasia shares an opinion that the Intermarium countries, between Germany and Russia, can no longer count on the US and need to organize in their self-defense.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares a photo of his handsome late partner Jacques Transue, taken as a college student.