February 1st, 2014

Leonard Cohen and “Going Home”: a brief elaboration

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.]

2 Responses to “Leonard Cohen and “Going Home”: a brief elaboration”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    The modern internet allows enormous data gathering and filtering to be done via open source methods and access portals.

    Even in a physical field such as martial arts, the amount of knowledge transitions and communications across the globe has increased more than I expected. More than the old ones born before the internet would accept either.

    It’s a sort of free market and free place to exchange ideas and culture, with only the minimal stipulation of language and access. Compared to the physical world with its authoritarian laws, middle men, and monopoly like guilds, many new businesses prefer using the internet for many things.

    If you want to make a music video, of yourself, and market it, you don’t have to pay Hollywood fat cats for a license and audition fee. Nor is it necessary to get a license from the government, that costs thousands of dollars in re-education fees, in order to provide a service that is in demand.

  2. Brad Says:

    I like the Sissel version better

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