Is The Leonard Cohen Online Unified Heart In Danger Of Flatlining?

I’ll never forget you, you know!

From Take This Waltz
By Leonard Cohen

One of the prime perks of being a lame duck blogger (see Cohencentric: The Farewell Tour) is feckless pontification. So…

Keeping Leonard Cohen’s Songs & Memory Alive Online

As I elaborated in a previous post, I am convinced that Leonard Cohen’s online presence has played an essential role in maintaining his music, poetry, prose, contemplations, and life in the public’s consciousness over the past quarter-century and especially in supporting his remarkable renaissance since 2008. And, Leonard appears to have felt the same way. At the September 2, 2012 Helsinki concert, Leonard Cohen publicly thanked Jarkko Arjatsalo, webmaster of LeonardCohenFiles and LeonardCohenForum:

Through his efforts, my work was kept alive for all these years

I am also convinced that, currently, Leonard Cohen’s online presence is diminishing.

The Online Leonard Cohen Downtrend

As time winds down until Cohencentric goes dark, I have grown increasingly concerned that advocacy of Leonard Cohen on the internet is deteriorating. (And yes, I do realize that the impending termination of Cohencentric, the most popular Leonard Cohen website,1 is a factor in the very problem I am describing; more about that later.)

Over the past decade, I have meticulously monitored online references to Leonard Cohen. While I cannot proffer scientifically verifiable proof, I am confident (i.e., my lifelong history of assiduously avoiding gambling notwithstanding, I would wager large sums of money on the accuracy of these observations) that internet mentions of the Canadian singer-songwriter in general have decreased significantly over the past several months.2

For some time – certainly since the close of the MAC Leonard Cohen exhibition in April 2018 – activity at LeonardCohenForum, entries at LeonardCohen.com, responses to the official Leonard Cohen Facebook Page, and posts about Leonard Cohen on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter… have declined.

The following example is illustrative: As part of my daily internet rounds, I run a Google search for items containing the term “Leonard Cohen” posted over the “past 24 hours.” From 2008 to 2016, that search routinely brought up more than a hundred pages of 10 items each. At this time (6:30 AM, Aug 2, 2018) this search offered up only four pages with a total of 38 hits, six of which (a little more than 15%) were Cohencentric entries. (See screen capture of page 4 below)

And, were it not for shots of the Leonard Cohen Montreal mural posted on Instagram, that once rich and dynamic source would hardly be worth checking daily.

The Leonard Cohen Facebook Fan Groups: The nexus of day-to-day online discussion of Leonard Cohen over the past year or two has been and continues to be the Leonard Cohen Facebook fan pages. Recently, however, the quantity of posts and responses have dampened and, by my subjective judgement, the proportion of disparaging  comments has increased. While the official number of members in a given fan group may be growing, that may be misleading since most individuals who withdraw do so de facto rather than formally terminating their membership. Consequently, the population of active participants can decrease even if the membership roll enlarges. Further, some folks with long histories of contributing original material to these pages have decreased or ended their involvement.

So What?

Well, the best case scenario is that I’m wrong. Persuade me that my assessment is inaccurate, i.e., that Leonard Cohen’s online presence is growing or remaining stable rather than diminishing, and I will happily publish a celebratory acknowledgment. Really – this isn’t a rhetorical flourish; if you believe all is well online, send your reasoning to me at the email address listed at the “DrHGuy Info” tab on the top right of every Cohencentric page. And, if it’s a convincing argument, I’ll post it.

If, on the other hand, the online downtrend does exist, we are in danger of losing a vital element of Leonard Cohen’s legacy – and I haven’t detected evidence of an impending rescue.

Next: Waiting For The Miracle – Finding Solutions, Including Cohencentric’s Role

Update: The Redemptive Role Of The Unified Heart Seal & The Blessing To End Disunity

Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post of Leonard Cohen singing the line, “I’ll Never Forget You, You Know” from Take This Waltz, performed at the 2013 Vienna concert, is by Uwe Schrade.

_________________________

  1. Alexa.com Rankings: July 31, 2018

    []

  2. Of course, one might assume that the death of an entertainment icon would naturally lead to a decrease in his popularity, but fan interest in Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, and Bob Marley, for example, has continued since these stars left this vale of tears. []

21 Replies to “Is The Leonard Cohen Online Unified Heart In Danger Of Flatlining?”

  1. Gena Goldstein

    Sadly, you may be right. Since I read your posts daily, I hadn’t realized this. I guess it will be truly obvious when you cease publishing. 😥 All the more reason, I would think, for Leonard’s family to support your efforts.

    1. Lilly Bantz

      I’m resending this because I neglected to check the notification boxes below regarding new comments and posts the first time around. The content of the post is the same as my first try and the email I sent directly to your email address before I realized I could post directly to your site. (I really AM a Luddite.)

      Dear Mr. Showalter,

      Please don’t close your website—you are my link to Leonard, the site to which I go for everything. I don’t want anything to do with Facebook; I’m not a member of any fan group and my ongoing interest in and love of Leonard goes unrecorded. I personally know of dozens of others like myself, just in Boise, Idaho. Because we’re not active online doesn’t indicate that we’ve lost our interest in or devotion to Leonard Cohen. Please consider in your calibration of his online presence the many like myself, Luddites at heart, who reach out to you to keep Leonard alive in our world. My heart broke the day he died. The only other time I’ve felt this pain was when my father died in 1998. I turn to you for contact with Leonard and beg you not to shut down your site.

      I logged into Cohencentric today to let you know (if you don’t already) that while it’s been pulled from print publication by Omnibus Press, All the Answers are Here: The lyrics of Leonard Cohen by Malka Marom, is available as a Barnes and Noble Nook ebook. All the Answers is incredible; it is the best book I’ve ever read about Leonard, and I’ve read a great many. Malka Marom’s interviews are so immediate and intimate that I felt like I was sitting beside them, actually listening to their conversation. Somehow, the book eased my longing to better understand the words Leonard left us–plus it contains the lyrics to every song Leonard published, from Songs of Leonard Cohen through You Want it Darker, and six songs he wrote that were recorded by others, who are identified by name and date of recording.

      I’d wanted the book so much that after reading it wasn’t being released, I contacted the publisher in England and confirmed publication had indeed been canceled. Therefore, I was so delighted to find the 2017 book online that I purchased a Nook reader (something I never dreamed I’d do) and read every word in one day. I want to share with all others who love Leonard that the book is well worth paying $150 for a Nook notepad and cover (though I’ve since learned that the app can be downloaded on any portable device). The cost of the book itself is only $10.49, which certainly doesn’t reflect the fact that in fact it is beyond monetary value. Thank you to Malka Marom for making these remarkable 1974 interviews available to us in 2018. And thank you to you, Mr. Showalter, for keeping Leonard alive online. There will always be people who appreciate and want to know him—the teenage son and daughter of one of our close friends adore him and listen to his music all the time. I’m going to ask them to write to you, too—to beg you to keep Cohencentric available to us. Like All the Answers are Here, your site is beyond monetary value.

      1. Elizabeth Bacon-Smith

        I’m so glad you wrote, Lilly. I agree with all you’ve said.
        This situation is very concerning, and I’m glad that Allan has brought it to our attention. I love having Allan’s entries in my Inbox every morning, and have considered them as evidence that Leonard’s work is being kept alive. I’ve wondered whether Allan had made a special arrangement with Leonard or Leonard’s family, to be posting nuggets daily.
        I’ve become overwhelmed by all the different LC sites on FB and don’t even try to ‘keep up’ with them. I feel most loyal to Jarkko’s and Allan’s sites; yet, the travesty of the U.S. election outcome has skewed my attention dramatically since two days prior to Leonard’s death.
        It is so important that you remain online, Allan.

      2. Sandra Martin

        Lilly, do you know why the publication was cancelled? I see a book advertised on B&N Nook, but it has a slightly different (just words rearranged) title. It notes that it’s by Leonard Cohen with introductory interview by Malka Marom. Do you know if the book had been published in the past but then was not republished in 2017? Thank you for this recommend. Of course, I’ll be on a wild goose chase for a while.

  2. miladiou

    bonjour,constatation identique….cohencentric est un des piliers de la connaissance sur monsieur Cohen et cela ne doit pas disparaitre .Perla Batalla continue magnifiquement à honorer son ami léonard.
    Merci à cohencentric qui prolonge la vie de Leonard Cohen .

    1. Andrea Donohoe

      I believe I left you a message, Allan Showalter, but don’t see it. I tried to edit. I posted without reading it over, I SHOULD HAVE!!! I spelled your name wrong. I can’t believe I did, but it is so. I do know it is SHOWALTER! WALTER is the name of my long deceased grandfather. Now that I think about it, I was WATERing my outdoor gardens before I came in to read your entry!
      I hope my message to you was posted. I don’t want to write it again. It – would be perfect if you can correct my mistake and not show this message. Thanks, Andrea – YOUR FAN

  3. Andrea Donohoe

    I wish you (Allan) could continue with this “labor of Love.” I was late to your party with Leonard. I missed a lot of postings, but believe I have just about caught up. Thanks again for all your hard work and devotion to Leonard and his fans. Your entries have been very interesting and sometimes downright hysterical. I learned so much about Leonard. Things I never would have thought to ask about. You have been an inspiration to all of us who read your entries about Leonard.

    Believe me when I say, YOU are a wonderful man for all your years of hard work for Leonard and his fans!!! I am a FAN of you, Allan Showater!!!

    1. Marcia

      Andrea, you bring up a very important though heretofore overlooked fact. I sat bolt upright when you wrote “I am a FAN of you, Allan Showalter!!!”
      We’ve all appreciated so much the material Allan has collected and displayed for us. And many have said that in this space. But none have put it so well as you, Andrea.
      Allan is a STAR of Internet Data Search, Compilation, and Display. And all of us who benefit are certainly diehard FANS. And as diehard FANS of Allan, we will miss his presence in every posting if Cohencentric ends this fall . . .

    2. Monika Lipp

      Could not say better !
      My reflection is that it might be a seasonal fact – the audience is slowing down in summer as we get into many more activities and emotions !

  4. Sidsel bryde

    His friends might have interesting things to tell , which would give new life, new heavy stories, that would put his person and whole life into allnew light.
    Show a side of a bravery he hasn’t told of.

    I myself knew him as young, before he got famous.. That man he never told of. I can. That was a man so true, he will never be forgotten! 3

  5. Carolyn

    I will miss this site so much. I have few computer skills and I always admire the way your web site is put together. I really don’t understand why anyone would not want you to continue. I could never find the items that appear here. I also am a fan of yours. Please don’t go!

  6. Susan

    I read all daily posts and appreciate reflecting on the ideas and memories. I rarely post and expect there must be many out there like me. Appreciative, interested, but quiet. Thank you for your working keeping LC alive in my consciousness.

    1. Doreen Shirley

      I couldn’t agree more with both you, Marcia and Andrea. If Allan does feel unable to continue his hard work, we will all be the lesser for it. I look forward to his daily postings as you both do and would miss them dreadfully if they should stop. But his dedication to Leonard is unwaivering I’m sure, I’m just sad that they may one day stop. A sad day for us all, that will be, as he has taught me so much, since we lost Leonard..

  7. Neil MacPherson

    Will we be able to see a frozen archived version of the site or will it totally disappear ?
    I echo the thanks of many for the delivery of a wonderful detailed site supporting Leonard.

  8. PAT White

    Oh Please!!! Do Not Leave Us Without Leonard Cohen and his heartfelt beautiful music!!!!!! It is such pleasure and good feelings listening to his wondrous feeling voice……………..singing those beautiful emotion, truth filled songs!!!!! Why would you wish to disappear??
    Please think it through!!!!
    Lots of love and respect to you,
    Pat

  9. Laura Schreiner

    In answer to the worry that the Leonard Cohen presence online could be flatlining, I would like to offer this: William Shakespear has a facebook page.

  10. Roy Montgomery

    Hi,
    Well, I think you deserve a break. You have achieved what you wanted to achieve. You have provided a model for other people to use in their quest for finding out more about Cohen’s life and work. Expect ebbs and flows in popularity if someone is really any good. Rediscovery is part of the thrill. Archive the valuable work you have done. Someone else will fill the gap, whether as keeper of the narratives or as poet. Sometimes we need to bury our dead in order to remember them. Stop. Be quiet. Go write a poem. Go write a story. Go write a song. Look for new poets, story-tellers and minstrels. Cohen is a hard act to beat but would he want to steal the sunlight from new buds and flowers? He appeared, he dropped out, he reappeared, he dropped out – that was part of the magic. So it goes.

    1. DrHGuy Post author

      Well, I was thinking of something along the lines of perfecting my margarita recipe, but the writing a poem thing sounds good, too. Thanks for the kind words.