It’s time for some wearin’ o’ the Green!Posted: March 17, 2019
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
This is going to be a short open thread. For some reason, all the crazy sexism and misogyny floating around the Dem primary candidates got me thinking on this Joni lyric:
This signal here
I hope you can pick it up
Loud and clear
I know you don’t like weak womenYou get bored so quick
And you don’t like strong women
‘Cause they’re hip to your tricks
This is a few years old but I enjoyed it all the same: From The New Yorker: “Joni Mitchell’s Openhearted Heroism. She made the best music of her generation by falling in love, over and over, while defending her sense of self.”
Mitchell writes about emotional information: who controls it, and how it is squandered or hoarded, withheld or weaponized. This requires some reconnaissance, which for Mitchell involves falling in and out of love, over and over—not so much a research method as a form of self-surgery. Her songs report on those lessons, which are, in an instant, in performance, happily forgotten. She is always thinking about the ways in which calculation fails, as guile yields again and again to innocence. As she put it in “Song for Sharon”: “I can keep my cool at poker / But I’m a fool when love’s at stake.”
She was never a fool for longer than her art required, though, and she could be withering, in interviews, about the lovers who misread her patient scrutiny of them for acquiescence. David Crosby, who produced Mitchell’s first record, would “trot me out” in front of his friends, she said, “and watch me blow their minds.” Crosby is the smooth operator in the first verses of “Cactus Tree”:
There’s a man who’s been out sailing
In a decade full of dreams
And he takes her to a schooner
And he treats her like a queen
Bearing beads from California
With their amber stones and green
It sounds like a cross between a hippie valentine and an abduction scenario. As the tune progresses, one suitor after another makes his approach, but Mitchell’s refrain wards them off: “She’s so busy being free.”
That freedom was hard-won. Men often wanted Mitchell to be a wife, a muse, a siren, or a star. Instead, they got a genius, and one especially suited to deconstructing their fantasies of her. When David Geffen, her manager, implored her to write a hit, she came up with “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio,” which mocks the request while heedlessly fulfilling it:
I come when you whistle
When you’re loving and kind
If you’ve got too many doubts
If there’s no good reception for me
Then tune me out, ’cause honey
Who needs the static
It hurts the head
And you wind up cracking
And the day goes dismal
From “Breakfast Barney”
To the sign-off prayer
The song checks all the boxes: it’s hummable, it’s accessible, it’s a love song—but it’s also a sabred refusal of all of the above. Mitchell was frank but weirdly Parnassian about male sexual appetite, which she saw as not so different, finally, from her own. When she resisted the advances of Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, it was partly because she recognized her own techniques in their vulpine attentions. (She always said that she preferred “the company of men.”) In “Coyote,” a song about her fling with Sam Shepard, Mitchell describes his roving eye: “He’s staring a hole in his scrambled eggs / He picks up my scent on his fingers / While he’s watching the waitresses’ legs.” The detail is crude and adolescent, but it’s also very sexy, and Mitchell sings those lines to sound like a boast. Prowess is prowess.
What really got me thinking about the entire treatment of the incredibly talented Democratic women running for the Presidency in 2020 was this discussion we had earlier this week on Boomer’s thread about Beto and this Politico headline ‘Not one woman got that kind of coverage’: Beto backlash begins by Natasha Koreki.
Since announcing her 2020 run, Elizabeth Warren has dispensed three major policy proposals, held 30 campaign events and visited nearly a dozen states.
Since announcing his 2020 run, Beto O’Rourke has made one visit to Iowa, where he vaguely outlined his positions, including from atop a cafe counter.
Guess who’s getting the star treatment.
Little is known of her life but from legend, myth, and folklore. According to these, she was born of a noble father and a slave mother and was sold along with her mother to a Druid, whom she later converted to Christianity. On being set free, she returned to her father, who tried to marry her to the king of Ulster. Impressed by her piety, the king removed her from parental control. According to the Liber hymnorum (11th century), the Curragh, a plain in Kildare, was granted by the king of Leinster to St. Brigid. At Kildare she founded the first nunnery in Ireland. The community became a double abbey for monks and nuns, with the abbess ranking above the abbot. Her friend St. Conleth became, at Brigid’s beckoning, bishop of her people. She is said to have been active in founding other communities of nuns.
St. Brigid appears in a wealth of literature, notably the Book of Lismore, the Breviarium Aberdonense, and Bethada Náem n-Érenn. One of the loveliest and most gently profound legends of Brigid is the story of Dara, the blind nun, for the restoration of whose sight Brigid prayed. When the miracle was granted, Dara realized that the clarity of sight blurred God in the eye of the soul, whereupon she asked Brigid to return her to the beauty of darkness. Brigid is also said to have miraculously changed water into beer for a leper colony and provided enough beer for 18 churches from a single barrel; she is sometimes considered to be one of the patron saints of beer.
So, she’s really the patron saints of beer and known for turning water into beer. But who get’s all the beer in celebration? Hmmm? So, here’s to Saint Brigid who was known for giving everything away and for having a brilliant little woven cross.
And here’s to the women who are trying to find all the oxygen taken by the Bad News B boys (Bernie, Beto, Biden) to give voices to the rest of us.
Anyway, have a happy day!!!
What’s on your mind today?