Leonard Cohen On The Connection Between God & Sex

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The song [‘Blueberry Hill’] doesn’t invite you to examine your achievements in the realm of piety or religiosity or even love, but the song itself is embracing all those elements! Like in Beautiful Losers, there’s certain moments when the lyricism and the spontaneity and the boldness allow the expression to be without self-regard, without self-consciousness, and once that happens, once that moment happens, then the embrace is absolute: Everything is embraced, nothing is left out! It’s when you leave things out that you get on the one side pious, on the other side the vulgar or pornographic. If God is left out of sex, it becomes pornographic; if sex is left out of God, it becomes pious and self-righteous. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Originally posted July 25, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen talks about the rhetoric in his “demented…manifesto” First We Take Manhattan

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My song was really political, a certain demented . . . manifesto, which addresses a constituency that really exists in the world, which cannot be defined by left or right, that is a radical perspective of a great many people, internationally, who feel that there is no . . . political expression that represents us, that the language, the rhetoric of politics today has become so divorced from anybody’s feelings and heart that it invites a new and radical rhetoric which in a kind of humorous and demented and serious way I touch upon in ‘First We Take Manhattan.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, Personal Interview with Winfried Siemerling. 2 November 1990, North York. Unpublished. Quoted in Interior Landscapes and the Public Realm: Contingent Mediations in a Speech and a Song by Leonard Cohen by Winfried Siemerling. Canadian Poetry: No. 33, Fall/Winter, 1993. Originally posted March 25, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“One dare not complain — except in a good, sad song” Leonard Cohen

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How could I dare to complain [about my life]? Because I think the appropriate and legitimate response would have been, ‘What have you got to complain about?’ When you recognize that you’re living in this incredibly privileged, tiny pocket of mankind, where there is the luxury to discuss these questions, one dare not complain — except in a good, sad songquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Angst & Aquavit by Brendan Bernhard. LA Weekly: September 26, 2001. Photo by Gabriel Jones. Originally posted Jun 4, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Extremism In First We Take Manhattan

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I felt for some time that the motivating energy, or the captivating energy, or the engrossing energy available to us today is the energy coming from the extremes. That’s why we have Malcolm X. And somehow it’s only these extremist positions that can compel our attention. And I find in my own mind that I have to resist these extremist positions when I find myself drifting into a mystical fascism in regards to myself. So this song, what is it? Is he serious? And who is we? And what is this constituency that he’s addressing? Well, it’s that constituency that shares the sense of titillation with extremist positions. I’d rather do that with an appetite for extremism than blow up a bus full of schoolchildren.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Paul Zollo, Songwriters on Songwriting, Da Capo Press, 2003, p. 345. Photo of Leonard Cohen by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Originally posted Aug 5, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“There are moments when I am the instrument for certain kinds of information.” Leonard Cohen

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I have my feelings about how to move myself into areas which are not completely bordered with pain. And I’ve tried to lay out my chart as carefully as I can. I have come through something. I don’t want to boast about it. I don’t even want to talk about it. Look…you know, the songs are inspired. I don’t pretend to be a guide. I do pretend to be an instrument for certain kinds of information at certain moments. Not all moments, and it has nothing to do with me as a guy. I may be a perfect scoundrel… As a matter of fact, I am…just like the guy on the scene. But there are moments when I am the instrument for certain kinds of information.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Ladies & Gents, by Jack Hafferkamp. Leonard Cohen Rolling Stone, February 4, 1971. Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Originally posted July 6, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric