Leonard Cohen

What a goddamn week. Leonard Cohen, one of the greatest singer-songwriters in living memory, has died at age 82. His music meant a lot to me personally, as it did to countless others. Usually sad, sometimes melodramatic, always thoughtful and poetic and provocative. I never met him in person (though I did go to a couple of concerts), but he lived not too far away from me in LA, and somehow felt as if I knew him. We’ll miss you, Leonard.

Let’s hope he was right about this democracy thing.

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30 Responses to Leonard Cohen

  1. Barry Curran says:

    Pat : I agree and feel the same. Or want to as well! He might and probably was expressing this in a more personal vein rather than a general conviction. Might be wrong but it just doesn´t jive with everything else he let us know about himself through his songs and they wouldn´t have the same authentic ring they transmit and that clearly his admirers so value and will remember.

    He was also incredibly funny. Ideologues are never funny. “I ache in the places where I used to play”, “I said to Hank Williams, “How lonely does it get?” Hank Williams hasn´t answered yet.” She´s a hundred but she´s wearing something tight!” Nobody I´ve ever met who´s against abortion rights has much or any senseof humor. It´s the real litmus test for all things good.

    I think most of us can tell what´s philistine, false, and has little lasting value without too much trouble almost by instinct. All it takes is listening. If it feels right it probably is, and if not, well you just know somehow. Not much deeper analysis is needed.

  2. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    Mr. Curran – I asked my question because I do not know Cohen’s position on abortion. (I oppose it; I have a hard time identifying any situation that is improved by killing an unborn person. If there are any, they must be extremely rare.) I am not a fan and know little about him. If the piece Hallelujah is the same as one that I have heard in passing, I do not care for it.

    I like Classical music of all periods (but not all styles). I also like blues singers like Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, and John Lee Hooker. Their music is rooted in culture and hard-won experience.

  3. Barry Curran says:

    Mr. Van Sant: Utimately I don´t know with any certainty what Leonard Cohen´s real view on abortion was either and am only guessing by other aspects of what he seemed to be expressing: love of freedom in personal relations; repulsion for war, cruelty and injustice; equality between indivduals and in favor of minority rights. He may for all we know have shared your view on it; a view I respect but don´t personally share. I´m not sure we as men have much right to weigh in on this matter as it the woman who takes the risk, bears the child and does most of the raising of it through its first years. I my view it´s always her call. When I said I thought it might have been his personal view it´s because he didn´t impress me, just my very personal take here, as one who wouldn´t deny that right to women to have one. I could be wrong of course.

  4. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    Thank you for your response Mr. Curran. I think men do have a right to weigh in on decisions concerning their own children, but the feminist view is that only the mother has that right. That gives some (many?) men a reason to shirk their responsibility. If people engage in sexual relations, they should be prepared for the consequences. I do not think abortion is a responsible choice whether you think the fetus is an unborn baby or “merely” a unique human life, as science confirms.

  5. Katrin Boeke-Purkis says:

    Leonard Cohen would want us to strive toward freedom, raise hope over despair, and raise the banner of love over the flag of hatred….be and become active weapons of love. Peace always.