The Oscars and “Celluloid Heroes” – “God Save the Kinks!”

AwardOscar_thumb[9]

I heard this old classic by the Kinks the other day, so when I saw the special segment on the Oscar’s last night that honored all the famous persons affiliated with Hollywood this song naturally popped into my mind. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest rock songs ever.

celluloid heroes

I believe that the song beautifully deconstructs the romanticist hopes our culture places in what Robert Bellah called “expressive individualism,” by revealing the avoided but painfully obvious reality that the “Celluloid Heroes” that “never really die” are not real persons. But our cultural narrative of expressive individualism is strong, making our nihilistic faith almost necessary. Thus we buy into the hope that we can transcend death through such achievements. Our cultural narrative is quite persuasive, supported by a propagandizing consumerism wherein “Image is everything” and  “Nike”  rule. This ensures that our religious allegiance is almost a foregone conclusion. Continue reading

Advertisements

“Tow the Line” by Nick Drake and the longing for God incarnate

“Tow the Line” is thought to be the last song written by Nick Drake. This certainly makes it quite uncanny that it conveys an unusual sense of temporal anxiety and finality mixed with patience, resignation, and even contentment. Continue reading

Frederick Buechner and Bruce Cockburn: On measuring death against life

godric3

“What’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.”

(Godric, Frederich Buechner, page 96)

joy1

“Everything that rises afterward falls… But all that dies has first to live.”

(Joy Will Find A Way Bruce Cockburn, 1974)

 

BMC @ Manifest Propensity, 2013

“Mother Nature’s Son” – The Beatles, Chris McCandless, and C.S. Lewis on our relation to Nature

Chirs McCandless in his area

A self-portrait of Christopher McCandless in his camp on the Stampede Trail was found undeveloped in his camera after his death.

Today was a beautiful mild and sunny late winter day. In the morning I attended a memorial service for someone my age that died from cancer, and in the afternoon was able to go with my family to the “Great Sacandaga Reservoir” in Upstate NY. Walking in the warm sun along the shore, under clear blue sky and on soft white snow, with our two dogs; the snowmobiles enticing one of them like distant buzzing bugs (that was what we thought she was thinking.)

penny

“Penny” watching the buzzing snowmobiles!

In a few minutes we stumbled upon some deer fur; moments later finding a small area strewn with skull attached to spine and some gnawed ribs, a bent leg and hoof, the lower jawbone and more patches of hide. What was the life and death scene that left this grim memorial? Our only conclusion was that some coyotes felt themselves fortunate and that the “circle of life” is evident.

“A day in the life.” What are we to think of nature? Of our place in it? Continue reading

“20th Century Man” by The Kinks – On the loss of individual freedom

One of the greatest rock songs of all time, and as relevant as ever for the “21st Century Man.” I think the photos in the youtube video were very well done and assist in demonstrating the enduring political and societal relevance of the song for the “Western” world. The acoustic blues/rock music with the melancholic interlude in the middle have served the song well to prevent it sounding stereotypically time-bound.

BMC @ Manifest Propensity, 2013.

“It’s All Good” by Bob Dylan – A “put-down song” for an over-used cliche

homeless-man-vortex-Flickr-david-blackwell-550x366

“It’s all good.” That is all I wish to say about this “put-down song” from Bob Dylan and Robert Hunter, the lyricist from the Grateful Dead. And I’m not being ironic when I say that. But is this cliche a worthy target for a Dylan “put-down”?  Continue reading

“Night Train” by Bruce Cockburn

Lyrics:

Not a knife throw from here you can hear the night train passing
That’s the sound somebody makes when they’re getting away
Leaving next week’s hanging jury far behind them
Prisoner only of the choices they’ve made Continue reading