Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Twyla Thwunk

Posted by metaphorical on 18 November 2006

Twyla Tharp’s Dylan show is closing the end of this month. Good riddance.

While her Billy Joel show was pointless fluff, this one really bothered — and baffled — me. Is it really possible that Tharp lived through the eras in which the songs were written, and has her eyes open today, and came up with the show she did?

When you think about the 1960s and 1970s, and you think about 2006, do you really think a traveling circus, or, I don’t know, maybe Iraq?

When you hear songs like “A hard rain’s a-gonna fall” in 2006 do you really think about domestic violence or Iraq?

When you hear lyrics like

My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet,
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.

or

Searchin’ high, searchin’ low
Searchin’ everywhere I know
Askin’ the cops wherever I go
Have you seen dignity?

or

The savage soldier sticks his head in sand
And then complains
Unto the shoeless hunter who’s gone deaf
But still remains
Upon the beach where hound dogs bay
At ships with tattooed sails
Heading for the Gates of Eden

do you really think about a love triangle between a father, his
girlfriend, and his son, or Iraq?

When you pair up the two lyrics

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?

and

Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?

do you think about lions and elephants and the flying trapeze, or — I’m just spitballin’ here — the central dilemma facing the American people as we enter the fourth year in Iraq?

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