Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Song of Love and Hate

I can't help wondering whether DBYW223 (which, as the judge said, I strongly suspect to be an assumed name) really understood Leonard Cohen's exquisite warts and all love song to the USA when he posted these clips.



In the first, delirious and fizzy rapture you may be blind to any faults in the Desired Object. But as true love grows, you recognise the less attractive parts of the Beloved. And this doesn't matter, because what you really love is the soul that lies within.

So yes, America may have a journey still to travel, but surely its history is much more than the series of war crimes suggested by the work of the very angry young man (some guesses here) who tacked the video together. Here is something a little more considered.

So much depends on context. It’s OK to be aware of the flaws in your own country, and right to be angry about them: this is certainly better and safer than the mindless jingoism that takes over the tabloids at times of stress. But knocking another country that you don’t know or love is generally foolish, reducing any conversation to an exhilarating trade in insults.

Even this can be quite fun.

It’s hard to know what to say about this, though. I used to think that the tragedy of “Democracy” was that only an American could sing it properly. Once again, the Quo have confirmed my prejudices. Having grown old disgracefully into everlasting dad rockers, they have lost none of the chutzpah that endeared them to the nation. I am appalled. Though you have to admire their cheerful cheek.