Thursday, January 22, 2009

GMVW # 55: "A New Beginning"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 55:  A New Beginning
Song: Democracy by Leonard Cohen
(Songwriter: Leonard Cohen)
January 22, 2009

I avoided tackling this Gem during the primaries, conventions, and general election (for, ahhhh…. many reasons), but now seems about as good of a time as any.

I’m not sure my inauguration day experience matched Joe’s daughter, niece Meghan, (who was in Washington D.C. on Tuesday), but it was memorable.  I was in a room full of USGS scientists and technicians in Denver, taking time off from a meeting to watch the inaugural address on television.  There was plenty of emotion, and when President Obama stated “We will restore science to its rightful place”, there was a loud spontaneous cheer, as there was when he stated “and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threatens our planet.  These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics.”  Good stuff.  There were many uplifted people in that room.

** The room then broke into a rendition of Thomas Dolby’s ‘Blinded Me With Science’.  Observation wells were uncorked.  A few atoms were split for good measure (ok, perhaps I’m taking a little narrative license). **

The days events had me thinking back 16 years to another inauguration   I recall watching the evening’s events, which included an MTV hosted concert featuring members of U2 and R.E.M., Natalie Merchant, and a reunion of Fleetwood Mac.  What I remember most about it though was Don Henley closing the event with a then new song, “Democracy” by Leonard Cohen, this week’s Gem.

Looking up ‘Democracy’ in Wikepedia, I came across this definition:

“Even though there is no universally accepted definition of 'democracy', there are two principles that any definition of democracy includes. The first principle is that all members of the society have equal access to power and the second that all members enjoy universally recognized freedoms and liberties.”

So, according to Cohen (in the lyrics of ‘Democracy’), one or the other (or both) are still lacking in the U.S.A., but also according to Cohen, we are as near as any country in closing that gap.  Note the lyrics, in reference to the U.S.A.:

“It’s here they’ve got the range
 And the machinery for change
 And it’s here they’ve got the spiritual thirst”

So anyhow, a change in administrations is certainly not the know all, end all of the immediate future, but it is a time for renewal.  Let’s hope for the best.  This week’s Gem is the official music video of Leonard Cohen’s song “Democracy”.  Below that is Don Henley’s cover of the song (I admit, Cohen’s vocals are an acquired taste, so I included Henley's version).  Below that is a great url link (with lead intro from the original attachment) sent to me from Mom, who very insightfully anticipated this week’s theme.

Top of the morning! (Mom’s link will explain this greeting)

- Pete

“ I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Leonard Cohen video:


“ Moneygall is a small village in County Offaly, Ireland.  It has a population of approximately 300 people, has a Roman Catholic Church, five shops, a post office, a national school, a police station and two pubs.  President-elect of the United States Barack Obama's great-great-great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, emigrated from Moneygall to New York City at the age of 19 in 1850 and eventually resettled in Tipton County, Indiana.  Kearney's father had been the village shoemaker, then a wealthy skilled trade. And now for the SONG...Crank up your speakers. ”


About the video: Rare MTV-like video. 

Video Rating: 1

Best Feedback: Tina

dear pete,
i cant believe meghan was there. if they post pictures, will you pass them on?
 i love your snapshot of what obamas speech sounded like to the scientific community, and when i read the speech again, i will see you all cheering and splitting etc.
if you have a minute, take a peek at the song i chose (ROSA SAT @ i just loved the images and progression of sat, walk, run and i loved the accompanying pictures.
 have a lovely day, pete, and thanks for sharing with me.
Also: John
"The room then broke into a rendition of Thomas Dolby's 'Blinded Me With Science'".

You be hanging with NERDS, man!

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