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Friday, 19 March 2010

The Rainbow


File:Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz trailer  2.jpg

Wandering amid the living wreckage of the downtown streets last night, past the deadend drinkers and listing derelicts and waiters upon lost gods who are the constant denizens of this new world gone awry, I watched a man launch out into a busy intersection, ignoring the stoplights, reeling through the stream of traffic, his hands moving through the air as if feeling for something, blindly. The flow of traffic parted around him but did not cease.

A few blocks further along the dark canyon of the avenue gradually filled with echoing sound, the reedy wafting saxophone notes that identified a familiar tune from an earlier Depression, and as I came up to the corner where the street musician was performing, under the arcade of a vacant and abandoned department store, a woman approached from the other direction, and paused to drop some bills into the container at the musician's feet.

A large imposing man garbed in the public anonymity of the private sorrow of his dreaming song.

He did not stop playing but his eyes acknowledged her gesture, and then as I turned the corner and mumbled some words to the mundane effect that hope is all we've got, he nodded, skipped a beat and in a low voice said Right on, brother and then went back into Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

These recurrent anthems of our mass delusion, our forlorn hope.

Dorothy discovers that she is no longer in Kansas: cropped screenshot from trailer for the film The Wizard of Oz, 1939: image by Aylaross, 2010


TC said...

Our inner Dorothys cannot stop discovering they are not in Kansas any more.

Curtis Roberts said...

And as a result, the Emerald City screen shot is really one of those "eyes wide shut" moments. Who is the Singing Badger? (The name really fits the waking dream.)

u.v.ray. said...

>> These recurrent anthems of our mass delusion, our forlorn hope. <<


Never be too optimistic - that's my maxim!

Always remember the power of negative thinking: it might just save your life some day!

aditya said...

A large imposing man garbed in the public anonymity of the private sorrow of his dreaming song.


These recurrent anthems of our mass delusion, our forlorn hope.

are fantastic ways to say what you said.

People are optimistic maybe because they keep reminding themselves that there's some one up there christened God. And they need to keep justifying his means and manners. What ever he is doing he is doing for the good. Our good.

I see people looking out for the bright sides to their work gone wrong.

I mean .. what is the use of a forced smile.

I got one life .. I would love to live it .. staring it in the eyes.

Anonymous said...

Rainbows, stories and songs. What better solace can we be blessed with?

Elmo St. Rose said...

once there was guy named Elmo,
and Elmo invented lots of stuff,
not me,a different Elmo, who worked
at Bell Labs during WWII, and shortly after the transister was
later watching his daughter's
childhood friend,who was deaf,
learn to speak awkwardly, he invented Visipitch,that would
transduce sound to a graph,and a
model so that the deaf could learn
As you remember, the beast was
stalking the earth at the time of
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ the
baboon hoardes the stormtroopers
defeated by the ordinary people
with the help of a wizard who's
Emerald City was surrounded by
cornfields(quiet allegory)
Though Dorothy keeps discovering that she is not in Kansas anymore,
the wonders of the wonderful
world may still provide

Ok TC, darkness at noon,
look to the light,
the poets's fight

J said...

Let's not forget the little people who made Oz special

human being said...


hope is not a dope

is the way of

too narrow
it never ends, you know


TC said...

Curtis, The Singing Badger is... I am almost sorry to have to report... an uploader.

Not that uploaders are not important.

(Like gift horses.)

It is interesting to note that the optimists and the pessimists in this company seem to be about equal in number.

I'd probably be sitting in the corner with UV Ray at this particular party, but let us hope there is hope for those who still have hope.

(If I have to hear one more time from an American, talking about the collapsed economy, that "the turnaround" is inevitable, and somehow our due...)

Curtis Roberts said...

Possibly splitting some form of the difference, I think there will be a "turnaround". I think there are definite signs of it already. I also think (and this may earn me the enmity – although I sincerely hope not -- of some followers of Beyond The Pale) it will causally follow the next national elections in November and the party reversals that seem increasingly likely to occur at that time. I think that belief in inevitability is a terrible way to plan successful or satisfying daily living. I also think that most historic national patterns, trends and attitudes (these are obviously the things that suggest an "inevitable" turnaround to people) haven’t been repealed (as they used to say on business television when discussing “business cycle” vis-à-vis the “new economy” during the internet bubble) and still persist, obtain and will guide the turnaround (and re-implant some of the old problems) when it occurs. Possibly we’ll have learned something as a society by then, but the political system will still be overrun by unethical lawyers (many who possess professional credentials, but have dubious professional skills) who provide essential cover for unethical non-lawyers. I don’t know whether that’s a problem that’s getting worse (in terms of percentages of unethical people involved in government) or there’s just more stuff for them to try to ruin and more ways to do this. I wish you all the best Spring. The warmth and sunshine in Philadelphia today was incredibly nice and satisfying.

TC said...


It was a lovely Spring day here as well, inducing, if perhaps not quite hope, then belief.

You would never incur the enmity of anyone here for offering, in your consideration and thoughtfulness, if perhaps not quite hope, then belief.

At any rate that is what I take from your words.

Belief, that is, that there are reasonable and sensitive people still dwelling in this (hopefully not yet perishing) republic, and working to restore its lost wit, and to rediscover its lost soul, before too late.

At least you are one, and -- hopefully, again -- there are more.

I do wish I felt those historic trends and patterns could be read as cyclic and not downward tending over the larger data sample. But after all is said and done, is it not the case that we really don't have that long a history to look back on? And in terms of social and economic attitudes, do there not currently remain people, even presumed adults, who, in talking about the "turnaround", would imagine the standard of our entitled way of life as dating back no farther than the early 1990s, that epoch of obscene engorgement, dreamlike false confidence and (as it now appears) enormous self-delusion? With that period as a point of reference, any expectation of a return to "normalcy" would probably represent, at this point, something between nostalgia and insanity.

(But I should of course admit that the fact I cannot help seeing the shades of darkness coming down may as likely be a product of loss of vision on my part as of the objective dissolution of what there is to be seen.)

Curtis Roberts said...

I think you've put both the problems we face and the reasons they are difficult to analyze and have any confidence in your conclusions in a giant nutshell (about the right size for weighty matters like these). I'm unsure how many "turnarounds" we have left in us as a republic, but I think the signs point to at least one more. I hope so. I'm kind of at the end of my rope and may soon need to adopt the web pseudonym Enervated if I can find an online Dear Abby who will listen.