Last night I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s “Going Home.” In that song he’s his usual lugubrious, hypnotic, philosophical, mystical self. The lyric could only have been written by a writer who’s no longer young. You may think the song boring, but I think it could grow on you:
In one of the song’s many manifestations on YouTube, there was a discussion in the comments section about the lines “Though he knows he’s really nothing/But the brief elaboration of a tube.” Several people seemed to think the person offering the lyrics had heard the word “tube” in error, and that Cohen’s actual word was “tune.”
Well, no. Not only is it “tube,” but I love that line. It makes me think of embryology as well as Zen-ish philosophy; it’s literally true that our entire digestive system and even the liver and other organs start out as a simple tube. But there’s nothing at all simple about the “elaboration” that goes on. It seems more like a miracle.
Here’s a brief elaboration on that brief elaboration of a tube:
And you might also say that YouTube itself—that wonderful place where a person has only to think of a song and type in a few words in order to get nearly instantaneous access to many versions of it, like having some magical genie who says “Your wish is my command”—it occurs to me that YouTube itself is another elaboration of a tube.
[NOTE: I just noticed that in the Cohen video there's no picture; it's just audio. I chose that one because the sound was best, and the original just had some stills of Cohen anyway.]