I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
The love of the body of man or woman balks account,
the body itself balks account,
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.
The expression of the face balks account,
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees,
dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.
The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women,
the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in the street,
the contour of their shape downwards,
The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through
the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls
silently to and from the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats,
the horse-man in his saddle,
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles,
and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child, the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hosing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six horses
through the crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty,
good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at sundown after work,
The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance,
The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine muscle
through clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps,
The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again,
and the listening on the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv’d neck
and the counting;
Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother’s breast
with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line
with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons,
And in them the fathers of sons, and in them the fathers of sons.
This man was a wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person,
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and beard,
the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes,
the richness and breadth of his manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also,
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were massive,
clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome,
They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him,
They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal love,
He drank water only, the blood show’d like scarlet
through the clear-brown skin of his face,
He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail’d his boat himself,
he had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner,
he had fowling-pieces presented to him by men that loved him,
When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or fish,
you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of the gang,
You would wish long and long to be with him, you would wish to sit by him
in the boat that you and he might touch each other.
I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly
round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them,
and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.
This is the female form,
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor,
all falls aside but myself and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth,
and what was expected of heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed,
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it,
the response likewise ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all diffused,
mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling
and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love,
white-blow and delirious juice,
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day.
This the nucleus—after the child is born of woman, man is born of woman,
This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the outlet again.
Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest,
and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.
The female contains all qualities and tempers them,
She is in her place and moves with perfect balance,
She is all things duly veil’d, she is both passive and active,
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters.
As I see my soul reflected in Nature,
As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness,
See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female I see.
The male is not less the soul nor more, he too is in his place,
He too is all qualities, he is action and power,
The flush of the known universe is in him,
Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him well,
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is utmost
become him well, pride is for him,
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul,
Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing
to the test of himself,
Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail
he strikes soundings at last only here,
(Where else does he strike soundings except here?)
The man’s body is sacred and the woman’s body is sacred,
No matter who it is, it is sacred—is it the meanest one in the laborers’ gang?
Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf?
Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you,
Each has his or her place in the procession.
(All is a procession,
The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.)
Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant?
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight,
and he or she has no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float,
and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?
A man’s body at auction,
(For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch the sale,)
I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his business.
Gentlemen look on this wonder,
Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough for it,
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without one animal or plant,
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll’d.
In this head the all-baffling brain,
In it and below it the makings of heroes.
Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning in tendon and nerve,
They shall be stript that you may see them.
Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition,
Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh not flabby,
good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.
Within there runs blood,
The same old blood! the same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations,
(Do you think they are not there because they are not express’d
in parlors and lecture-rooms?)
This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers
in their turns,
In him the start of populous states and rich republics,
Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodiments and enjoyments.
How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his offspring
through the centuries?
(Who might you find you have come from yourself,
if you could trace back through the centuries?)
A woman’s body at auction,
She too is not only herself, she is the teeming mother of mothers,
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to the mothers.
Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the body of a man?
Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations
and times all over the earth?
If anything is sacred the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted,
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more beautiful
than the most beautiful face.
Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body?
or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.
O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women,
nor the likes of the parts of you,
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the soul,
(and that they are the soul,)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems,
and that they are my poems,
Man’s, woman’s, child, youth’s, wife’s, husband’s, mother’s, father’s,
young man’s, young woman’s poems,
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking
or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders,
and the ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg-fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body
or of any one’s body, male or female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping,
love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand
the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips,
and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow
in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!
Text for this adventure is from the Project Gutenberg.
The text was reformatted by Chamblee54.
“I sing the Body Electric” was written by Walt Whitman.
An audio version of this poem is available from Librivox.
Reposted May 31,2014, Walt Whitman’s 195th Birthday.
This is about a trigger. This is a device that enables the use of a weapon. It is also a content warning. “Rape Poem To End All Rape Poems” sometimes has this advisory. TRIGGER WARNING: If you are a survivor of sexual assault or have an overwhelming reaction to assault, this video may be triggering for you. This is probably a good idea. People who have had a traumatic experience do not appreciate having it shoved in the face. If only people who can’t stop talking about Jesus would notice the way people react to their message.
Jesus is a touchy subject for many people. Many people have been verbally assaulted, in the name of spreading salvation. The fact that you don’t agree with these ideas does not stop people from feeling obligated to tell you about one more time. It serves to create ill will for Jesus. It does not help when this Jesus-fix is delivered as a ceremonial part of a government meeting.
The Supreme Court recently rules that the town of Greece, NY, can open government meetings with a Christian prayer. Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “The town of Greece does not violate the First Amendment by opening its meetings with prayer that comports with our tradition.” Chamblee54 wrote about Greece, NY last year.
The issue of public prayer at secular events has been fussed over many times. The Supreme Court is going to hear Town of Greece v. Galloway soon. It deals with whether, or not, Greece NY should open town meetings with a prayer.
Once, a man saw his child get excited when there was a prayer on TV. The kid said that the prayer meant the cartoons would start soon. There was a religious program, before the cartoons. The prayer was at the end of the show, meaning the cartoons were about to start.
That is about what prayers before a public event are worth. Prayer is reduced to a meaningless gesture, when used in this manner. This does not speak well for the custom of prayer.
Jesus reportedly said this. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
A popular blogger ran a post about Greece, NY. He thought that the ruling was great. To him, the Bill of Rights approved of such prayers. PG made a comment, based not on the Bill of Rights, but the Ten Commandments. “The Third Commandment is about the proper use of a sacred name. Using the name of a deity to open a government meeting might not be proper.”
There was a reply. “Cylar” said ” Congress itself opens most days in prayer. The fact that they have a chaplain at all pretty much sucks the wind out of your argument. (http://chaplain.house.gov/archive/index.html) I couldn’t care less that these hardcore secular types are “offended” by religious expression in a *Christian country.* They can move to Canada or Sweden if they don’t like it. Guess what – we Christians vote and pay taxes, too – and we’ve got some say in how our affairs are governed. This country was founded by us, not the heathen Left. They just *live here.*
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. The pictures above the text are the Rutgers football team, in 1891. This university is the home of the Rutgers University slam team, who performed the rape poem. It is not known if Tyler Clementi was a fan.
It is pronounced the same as nemo fee list. ~ maybe we need to use the r word less often, and with more thought and care ~ Which way to go? ~ I bet “Wendy” has her side of the story. ~ supposedly Mr. Whipple/Don’t squeeze the charmin is the most successful ad campaign in history ~ Whoever made this meme has a faulty sense of graphic design. The text on the right should be the same height as the image on the left. ~ Maybe it is time to start up OFFUG… Old Fogeys Fighting Ugly Graphics ~ The War Between the States was incredibly bloody. There were many efforts to honor the fallen soldiers. The Charleston parade seems to have taken place. However, it was not the only time the fallen soldiers were formally remembered. The custom of Decoration Day, later Memorial Day, would have happened with, or without, the Charleston parade. ~ @RoddeyJones Humbling concession speech from @PaulBrounforGA #gapol #GAsen #gagop #gasenate #GaElections ~ What exposure are you using? ~ I thought a homophone was a communications device used in midtown. ~ idk if you don’t hurry up people might forget how to read ~ OK, I don’t deny that the Charleston parade happened. I just don’t think that it was the invention of decoration day. There were people putting flowers on soldier graves throughout the conflict. After a war as horrific as WBTS, the remembrances were inevitable. How important was the Charleston parade? I don’t know. This is commenting on the causes of a holiday that was going to happen, one way or another. This is not “upholding white supremacy.” We might have to agree to disagree on this one. ~ When I started to associate with the Atlanta Faerie Circle, and the related events in Tennessee and North Carolina, it was simply the faeries. I seldom heard the word radical. I am not sure that we need the r word. Isn’t being a faerie radical? Maybe we pay too much attention to the radical part, at the expense of the faerie part. ~ You can do better than this. A post denouncing elementary school graduations. Good grief. The Liberty Alliance is not getting their money’s worth. ~ If you are as proud of your ability to listen as you are of the clever things that you say ~ “Faith is a Christian concept, not a Buddhist one” So much of our thinking is influenced by the Christian religion. So many concepts that are seldom challenged are actually highly questionable. The concept of taking a book, declaring it to be the word of G-d, leads to an obsession with semantics. ~ “Jesus’ s entire journey was the dissolution of his ego and dis-identification with ego needs!” “John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” There is a bit of a contradiction here. People read what they want into the Jesus story. What you say about Jesus says more about you than it does him. The elevation of this speculation to the level of hysterical belief is a formula for madness. ~ Karen Handel was almost elected Governor in 2008. She was endorsed by Sarah Palin. She did not make the runoffs in the last election. ~ Christopher Isherwood has written that it is not the religion that converts the follower, but the ~ There used to be a gas station with a sign, homo gal milk ~ ‘All you left is emoty”. That is pretty clear. In the song “Papa was a rolling stone” they say “All he left us was alone” Some thought this meant a loan, to be paid back with interest. ~ You can’t post this because it has a blocked link ~The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe: steaming.com Please remove this link to continue. If you think you’re seeing this by mistake, please let us know. steaming.com/ WARNING!! THIS SITE CONTAINS ADULT MATERIALS OR MATERIALS THAT MAY BE CONSIDERED OFFENSIVE IN SOME COMMUNITIES. YOU MAY NOT … ~ You don’t have to shout. ~ At one time, “Howl” was at the center of an obscenity trial. Today, it is “unaddressed white privilege” and “NEGATIVE BAGGAGE TO CARRY AROUND .” ~ 1- Do you have a link to a version of “Howl” that includes the word that rhymes with trigger? I seriously doubt that Mr. Ginsberg would use that word in a poem. 2- If the reader included a crude racial slur in “Howl”, then a beloved work of art was misrepresented. 3- Bernard that rant says more about you than it does me. ~ Is #joetheplumber coming out as #prochoice? “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights” could be the new motto for keeping abortion legal. ~ useless filler to make text block look better ~ Pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. ~ selah
Lene Lovich was born Lili-Marlene Premilovich in Detroit, Michigan, March 30, 1949. She moved to England as a teenager, and met Les Chappell. He who played guitar in her band, and was her man.
As an art school student, she started to tie her long hair in plaits to keep it out of the clay while studying sculpture. Her recording debut was as part of an audience, when Chuck Berry recorded “My ding a ling”. This may have been the inspiration for “Lucky Number.”
Miss Lovich played in several bands, before winding up on the Stiff label. She put out two albums that became popular in the USA, and did a tour. After a while, she retired from music to raise a family. Miss Lovich has made a slight comeback in recent years.
PG had the privilege of seeing Lene Lovich at the Agora Ballroom, Atlanta GA, in the winter of 1980. The opening act was The Romantics. The show was taped for broadcast on the NBC radio network, and Don Pardo was on hand to introduce the bands.
The Romantics were unknown to the crowd at the Agora that night. They came on stage wearing costumes that looked like the Beatles of 1963. Every song they did was a bit better than the one before, and they got a big round of applause when the set ended.
Don Pardo had quite a career. He was the house announcer on November 22, 1963, and was the voice of NBC when he interrupted a soap opera to announce that John Kennedy had been “cut down with assassin’s bullets”. During his career as a TV announcer, Mr. Pardo could not use profanity. That night at the Agora, he made up for lost time…every other word he said was a cuss word.
Soon, Lene Lovich (spell check suggestion:lovechild) and her band came on stage. She was not the typical sexpot rock chanteuse… A bit chubby, with her long hair tied in plaits. Wearing a long sleeve black dress, probably stolen from a convent, she provided fantasy for only the kinkiest. Les Chappell was there, with his shaved head, to stop any trouble before it started, and play guitar.
The material came mostly from the first two albums on Stiff records. (At some point in the evening, someone…maybe Lovich, maybe Pardo…said “Be stiff”.) She introduced “Lucky Number” by saying “We have a song that goes ah oh aih oh”. During an instrumental jam in that song, she cried out “We have an American on keyboards”. The American was Thomas Dolby, who would soon go solo. He did not appear to be blinded by science.
The first encore was ” I think we’re alone now”, which had been a hit for Tommy James and the Shondells (spell check suggestions: shoulders, shovelfuls). Soon the night was over. Pictures are from the ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” This is a repost.
UPDATE: This comment was left on facebook “Those first two albums are GREAT. I probably saw her on this same tour; Dolby was with her. I was a club on South Street in Philly. She looked like a freaked-out Teutonic barmaid, the St. Pauli girl gone goth (before there was goth). Somehow, the sight of her playing sax was hilarious, and the concert was a blast. I bought a recent Thomas Dolby CD a couple months ago. Sucked, as, alas, did Lene’s last one.
The post before this is about Arizona SB1070, a controversial measure dealing with illegal immigration. One of the men quoted is the Sheriff of Pima County, which lies on the border.
Pima County is named for the Pima Tribe, whose land was in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Their name for the “river people” is Akimel O’odham. According to Wikipedia, “The short name, “Pima” is believed to have come from the phrase pi ‘añi mac or pi mac, meaning “I don’t know,” used repeatedly in their initial meeting with Europeans.”
Many of the Mexicans crossing the border are Native Americans. They did not agree to the Gadsden Purchase , or the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo . In other words, they were here first, and the white man (and black associates) are the uninvited guests. Maybe the natives should ask the English speakers for their papers.
The second part of this feature is a repost. One of the best known Pimas was Ira Hayes. He was one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima.
One of the enduring images of World War II was raising the flag on Iwo Jima. Three of the six men raising the flag died on the island. A fourth, Ira Hayes, became a casualty after the war.
The story of Ira Hayes is well known, but needs to be told again. A Pima Indian, his people had not been treated well by the conquerors. Nonetheless, when the War against Japan started, men were needed for the struggle, and Ira Hayes joined the Marines.
Iwo Jima was a steppingstone to the main island of Japan. After Iwo Jima and Okinawa were in Yankee hands, preparations could be made for the invasion of the main island. However, the stepping stone islands proved to be incredibly tough to secure. There were more American casualties on Iwo Jima than on D Day.
On the fourth day of the battle, a picture was made of six marines raising the flag on top of Mount Suribachi. A month of sticky, treacherous fighting was ahead for the fighting men. Of 21,000 Japanese soldiers, 20,000 died. Still, the image is inspiring. The photographer fiercely denied having staged it.
The flag was raised on February 23, 1945. Germany was all but defeated. The “explosive lens” for the atom bomb had been successfully tested. Viewed from the standpoint of 1945, it seems inevitable that the costly island hopping needed to continue, to be followed by an invasion of the Japanese mainland. From the view of 2009, one wonders if the fight for Iwo Jima, in retrospect, was really needed. War is fought in the present tense.
Two of the twelve hands holding the flagpole belonged to Ira Hayes. Ira Hayes did not adjust to peacetime well. He became a drunkard. On January 24, 1955, he passed away.
Ira Hayes was a native American. Thousands of African Americans have returned from foreign wars, to be treated poorly. Until a few months ago, if a man, or woman, is accused of being gay, the service is forgotten. On Memorial Day, we should struggle to ensure that all future veterans are treated with respect, all year long. This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.
There is a meme floating around. “THE U.S. CONSTITUTION DOESN’T GUARANTEE HAPPINESS, ONLY THE PURSUIT OF IT. YOU HAVE TO CATCH UP WITH IT YOURSELF. – BENJAMIN FRANKLIN – PLEASE SHARE Freedom Works”
Luther Mckinnon Do you have a source for that quote? It is not shown in wikiquotes.
*Meme Poster* Luther. If you Google: Benjamin Franklin quote “the Constitution doesn’t guarantee hapiness”. You’ll find a bunch of websites devoted to famous quotes. Personally I don’t like Wikipedia. They leave out a lot of information
Luther Mckinnon The problem is that many quote websites do not provide a source. Many of the quotes are erroneous. Yes, wikiquotes is not an authoritative source. However, if they do not list the quote, that is an indication that perhaps the quote is not genuine.
Luther Mckinnon After I made the post above, I highlighted the phrase “Benjamin Franklin quote “the Constitution doesn’t guarantee hapiness” (BTW, happiness is spelled with two p’s. You need a pp to have happiness.) Anyway, I right clicked, and went to google search. I found this link. The money quote: “The quote is a fake. Benjamin Franklin never said this.”
It turns out that “pursuit of happiness” is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. Of course, Mr. Franklin was getting old by the time of the Constitutional Convention. He may have gotten things mixed up. It is not known whether the phrase “catch up” was used in the eighteenth century. Maybe Mr. Franklin meant mustard.
Ben Franklin was present at both the Continental Congress, and the Constitutional Convention. He signed both documents. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson. He was the United States Ambssador to France when the Constitutional Convention was held. During this time, Mr. Jefferson was engaged in the pursuit of Sally Hemmings.
Another indication that the meme is phony is the connection to Freedom Works. In the meme comments, even Freedom Watchers seemed to know the difference between the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
UPDATE:*Meme Poster* Luther Mckinnon, thank you for taking something that was meant to be inspirational and stomping on it. *Meme Poster* unfriended Luther Mckinnon.
This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Technically, the birthday of Bob Dylan was yesterday. After seventy three years, another twenty four hours is not going to make much difference.
It was a late may morning in Atlanta GA, and a slack blogger was searching his archives. Yes, Issac Asinov never got writers block, and when he wasn’t going to the bathroom he was typing, but that is a lifestyle choice. Easy writing makes tough reading. So, anyway, in the may archive for 2011 there was a post about Bob Dylan’s seventieth birthday. People were taking bets on whether he would make it to thirty, and here he is at seventy three.
Hibbing MN is a cold place. At least it can claim to be the birthplace of Robert Allen Zimmerman. That’s Allen ,with an e, and double L just like hell. The original initials were RAZ, which might be a good trivia question, or, with a silent W in front, radio station call letters. The problem is, he legally changed his name to Bob Dylan, with no known middle name. Those initial are BD.
On May 24, 1941, the curly haired wonder boi arrived. The world was a different place. Europe was in flames, and eyeing the young men of America as fresh cannon fodder. This was twelve years, eleven months, and eighteen days before PG graced the planet. A twelve year old in Hibbing MN would have no reason to think of a newborn baby in Atlanta GA.
These days, not everyone knows who Bob Dylan is. Auto tuned automated canned music is the next big thing. If auto tune had been around in 1963, we would never had known how badly Mr. Dylan sings. In an age where rappers pay ghost writers to compose their tweets, being able to write songs is not valued. There is just no telling. And so it goes.
A.J. Weberman has made a life out of going through Bob Dylan’s garbage. He wrote a book, “The Devil and Bob Dylan”. “THIS BOOK CHALLENGES ALL PREVIOUS CONVENTIONAL THINKING ABOUT BOB DYLAN. DYLAN IS JUST THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE HIM TO BE. BUT WHAT PURPOSE DOES IT SERVE EXPOSING HIM AS A RACIST, HIV POSITIVE EX-JUNKIE AND HOLOCAUST DENIER? NONE EXCEPT THAT OF TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. $17 INCLUDING POSTAGE! THE BOOK IS 500 PAGES AND FULLY ILLUSTRATED. Selling this book is like selling a book to Catholics entitled Why The Pope Sucks. The pope might such but no one wants to hear it.
This chamblee 54 birthday tribute is composed primarily of three previously published pieces of work. The pictures are from ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”
There was a comment on the Bob Dylan webpage… Everybody knows by now that there’s a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I’m encouraging anybody who’s ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them. PG doesn’t write books. He did grow up in America, and has a few opinions about Bob Dylan. It ought to be good for a few hundred words here. (HT to dangerous minds ) (Chamblee54 has posted about Mr. Dylan before.)
The first time PG heard of Bob Dylan was probably at the record rack of Zippy’s dime store in Cherokee Plaza. There was an album of his greatest hits, and it came with a poster. The poster had a drawing of the man, with psychedelic waves of hair cascading in multi colored glory to the edges. PG never did buy the LP.
The former Mr. Zimmerman was never big on top 40 am radio. Somebody somewhere was getting a headache over those lyrics, but Atlanta GA was not somewhere in those days. By this time, Mr. Dylan had crashed his motorcycle, and gone into hiding. As the counter culture exploded (if only someone had disinfected that counter) the curly haired poet was in hiding, the subject of much speculation. At one point, people were stealing his garbage, and claiming to find evidence of investment in munitions firms. The neoscience of Dylanology continues to this day.
As PG got older and stupider, he heard more and more Bob Dylan music. In the summer of 1972, there was a performance at the Concert for Bangladesh. A couple of albums released during this era sucked, and some people stopped caring about Bob Dylan.
At the start of 1974, a tour was announced. The Band was to be the backing group. The circus came to the Omni, and PG got some of the mail order tickets. He couldn’t find anyone to use the second ticket, and sold it to a stranger outside the arena.
The show was nothing special. Bob Dylan excels at writing, is ok in the studio, and blah on stage. Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was at the show, and was said to look bored. Mr. Dylan was invited to the Governor’s mansion after the show, and talked to the Governor. A lot of people in Georgia were surprised that he would want to run for President.
As the Seventies went me me meing into sex and drugs oblivion, Bob Dylan regained both his writing touch, and love of the spotlight. The Rolling Thunder tour happened, he got back together with Joan Baez, divorced his wife, became born again, became more Jewish, counted money, and generally lived the life. PG did his own version of all that, without Joan Baez or being circumcised again.
In the winter of 1991, America was consumed by war fever. Saddam Hussein had been elevated to next Hitler status, and had to be taught a lesson. One night, Bob Dylan played on a music awards show, and performed “Masters of War”. He played a discordant version of that ditty, with the result that few understood what he had said. By this time, Mr. Dylan had assembled a band, and gone out on the “Never Ending Tour”. A Bob Dylan concert had gone from being a special event, to being another name on the festival roster. Overexposure will do that.
On the last night of the Olympics in 1996, Bob Dylan played the House of Blues downtown. PG won a pair of the $80 tickets in a radio station contest. It was his only trip downtown during the games, and had to wait in a security line to get into Centennial Olympic Park.
The only celebrity, other than Mr. Dylan, seen at the House of Blues that night was Bill Walton. The band was competent…they impressed PG as being like a bar band that did a lot of Dylan songs, with a strangely authentic lead vocalist. The sound in the room was not good, at least in the spot where PG stood. The only song he recognized was “All along the Watchtower”, the Jimi Hendrix classic. Mr. Dylan got a cheer when he put his harmonica appliance on.
The aptly named dangerousminds has a link to a story about the recording of Blonde on Blonde, by Bob Dylan. It only happened once.
Bob Dylan was 24 years old, newly married, and had “sold out” i.e. started to play electric guitar. A bunch of Canadians known as The Hawks (later The Band) was touring with him. Barely a month after the release of “Highway 61 Revisited”, sessions started at a New York studio.
The New York sessions did not work, so a decision was made to go to Nashville. Al Kooper played organ, and served as a music director. A crew of Nashville players was recruited. A bass player named Joseph Souter, Jr. would become famous a few years later using the name Joe South. Kris Kristofferson was the janitor at the studio.
Most studios have bafflers, or sound proof room dividers, splitting the studio into cubicles. For these sessions, the bafflers were taken down, and the band played together as a unit.
The second session in Nashville started at 6pm and lasted until 530 the next morning. Mr. Dylan was working on the lyrics to “Sad eyed lady of the lowlands”, and the recording could not start until he was ready. The musicians played ping pong and waited. At 4am, the song was ready, and the record was finished in two takes.
PG had marginal encounters with two of the players on this album. He met a lady once, who worked in an insurance office. One of the customers was Joe South. His driving record file was an inch thick.
Al Kooper had a prosperous career after his association with Bob Dylan. The former Alan Peter Kuperschmidt produced the first three Lynyrd Skynyrd albums, sold that contract for a nice piece of change, and lived happily ever after.
One night, Mr. Kooper was playing a show at the Great Southeast Music Hall, and PG sat in front of the stage. During a break between songs, PG asked his friend “what time is it?”. Mr. Kooper heard him on stage, and said it was 11:30.
If it ever quits raining, PG is going to walk to the Chamblee library and return a book, and a cd. The cd is by Bob Dylan, and is a work of genius. The book is about the former Mr. Zimmerman, and is a piece of garbage. (BTW, Dylan is not the only Zimmerman to hit the big time. Ethel Merman was born Ethel Agnes Zimmerman.The Zimmerman telegram got us into World War I.)
When returning cd’s to a library, you need to get a check in receipt. Once, PG returned a stack of cd’s to the Brookhaven library. When checking them in, one was missed by the scanner. A few days later, there was a note in the mail about an overdue cd.
The good news was, the cd was on the shelf when PG went back to investigate, and the matter was quickly settled. It did not help that the cd was a collection of disco music called “Shake your booty”.
“The freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was released in the early sixties, when the man was barely old enough to buy a drink. There is not a bad song on it, and several are classic rock staples. At a time when mindless pop dominated pop music, here were thoughtful, moving lyrics.
In 1991, with America in a war frenzy, Mr. Dylan appeared on a music awards show. He performed “Masters of War”, at a time when the majority would be appalled if they could understand what he was singing. Mr. Dylan has been reinvented many times, and often the lyrics get gargled.
Five years later, PG won tickets to a Bob Dylan concert. It was the last night of the Olympics, and the man was appearing at the House of Blues. (Tickets were $80, so the radio contest is the only reason PG went). It was like hearing a good bar band, that did nothing but Dylan songs, with the man as the vocalist. Due to the mix of the sound, PG could not recognize many of the songs.
The book is Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet by Seth Rogovoy. It tells the Dylan tale as a story of Jewish prophecy. PG got to page 16, where the author claims that “Like a Rolling Stone” “almost single handedly revolutionized rock’n roll music”. Huh?
PG was eating dinner, and did not have anything else to read. He got to page 38. Nothing in the next 22 pages changed his mind away from ditching the book. How does nonsense like this get published?
Somewhere along the line, the boss decides you have a “negative attitude”. From that point on, you are not allowed to complain. It is almost as if it were a gimmick to keep you in line.
A lady named Barbara Ehrenreich agrees that there is entirely too much positive attitude required of people. She wrote a book, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. In one interview, she says “And again, you know, don’t worry about the world. Don’t ask the question about where the cancer comes from. Don’t ask why so many people are not employed, even in good times in our country. And it was the same sort of thing. And that’s when I began to think hey, this kind of operates as a way of quelling discontent, quelling dissent, you know, when you can’t say I’m mad about -whatever. You just have to swallow it and smile.”
Ms. Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. She found herself in a pink tsunami of cheerfulness. The pink teddy bears did not do anything for her spirits. The whole culture of happy talk, about a life threatening illness. grossed her out.
At one point, she was given a tote bag. In it were some crayons. I said, “This is really nice, but what’s with the crayons?” And this woman said to me, “Well, that’s in case you want to write down any of your thoughts.” And I said, “I’m a writer. I don’t use crayons.”
The promotional interviews quoted here were conducted in 2009. This was before the Susan G. Komen foundation hired Karen Handel. During the Planned Parenthood meltdown, some unflattering things came out about the SGK foundation. It probably did not help Ms. Ehrenreich’s attitude.
So the book happened. PG has not read it, but has seen a few reviews and interviews. The New York Times has a great review. It says “America’s can-do optimism has hardened into a suffocating culture of positivity that bears little relation to genuine hope or happiness.”
One interview has a stomach churning comment. It should be noted that this is the lady talking, and that there is no confirmation of this. “Yeah. And here’s something that really horrified me that I learned recently and put in the book, is that some breast cancer support groups expel people who go into metastasis and who are clearly going to die. You can’t be in the group because just your presence might bring other people down.” (A google search of the phrase “breast cancer support groups expel people who go into metastasis ” shows little support for this story. Two front page results involve Barbara Ehrenreich interviews. Skepticism should not be limited to positive motivation.)
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.