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)
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.
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
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.
- Alexa.com Rankings: July 31, 2018
- 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. [↩]