Cohencentric Surpasses 3,500,000 Hits

Well, I missed another statistical landmark (I also overlooked passing 3,000,000 hits; see this Aug 4, 2017 post). This morning, a reader let me know by email that, according to the stats counter in the left sidebar, Cohencentric passed a milestone sometime during over the last day or two. In the 2 years & 8 months since Cohencentric published its first post on March 7, 2015,1 this site has garnered more than 3,500,000 unique page views.2 This count does not include Cohencentric’s affiliated YouTube videos, Facebook Page, Twitter account, nor, of course, the hits garnered by Cohencentric’s predecessors, 1HeckOfAGuy.com and DrHGuy.com during their many years of operation.

Given that Cohencentric has offered articles featuring not only Leonard’s concerts, albums, and honors but also esoterica such as Leonard changing a single word in his lyrics, Leonard’s two or three year stint as a vegetarian, a list of 351 of Leonard’s nicknames, and alternative cover art for the You Want It Darker album, it is clear that these hits reflect the intensity of interest in Leonard Cohen, even a year after his death, by a huge number of fans.

Thank you.

Cohencentric Post #1: March 7, 2015

Welcome To Cohencentric.com
Leonard Cohen & DrHGuy Are Back In The Cyberhood

The source video for the animation is the 2013 Leonard Cohen Lucca soundcheck video by 30gallina72, aka Szilvia Szanto .View more animated gifs at Leonard Cohen Animations

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  1. Blogs are programmed to post chronologically, the most recent posts appearing first. Because some entries from Cohencentric’s predecessors, DrHGuy.com and 1HeckOfAGuy.com, have been published with their original posting dates, some posts may appear to have been published earlier than March 7, 2015. []
  2. OK, that count is a tad low; the statistical counter was dysfunctional for a couple of weeks []

Wrestling With God: Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker

wikipix

His last album, You Want it Darker, captures his ambivalence towards death and God, and the question of what suffering means for those who experience it—and for those who cause it. This is especially the case in Cohen’s dirge-like piece by the same name. The song was Cohen’s final expression of ambivalent anger—and ultimate surrender—towards a God that cannot be ignored, but at the same time, cannot be liked very much either.

Wrestling With God: Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker by Malka Simkovich (Lehrhaus: Nov 13, 2016). Photo by Rama – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 fr, via Wikipedia

“I remember what Ben Jonson said: ‘I’ve studied all the philosophies and all the theologies but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.'” Whom was Leonard Cohen actually quoting?

Fans may be familiar with the stage banter Leonard Cohen began using in the 2008 Tour that went something like this:

I was 60 years old [when last on tour] — just a kid with a crazy dream. Since then I’ve taken a lot of Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Ritalin, Focalin, … I’ve also studied deeply in the philosophies and religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through.

Earlier, however, Leonard employed a variation of the final portion of that routine, “I’ve studied all the philosophies and all the theologies but cheerfulness keeps breaking through,” in interviews in 1992 and 1993, usually attributing it, as he does in the titular example1 to Ben Jonson. In at least one interview,2 he tentatively attributes it to Samuel Johnson, which is closer, but still doesn’t win a cigar.

The original line was uttered by one Edward Edwards, who directed it to his friend, Samuel Johnson: “You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don’t know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.” It was recorded, as one might expect, by the assiduous James Boswell in his magnificent biographical tome, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.

Note: Originally posted Mar 11, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Leonard Cohen and the Death of Cool By Deborah Sprague. Your Flesh magazine, 1992. []
  2. Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine, August/September 1993. []

Striking Black & White Photos Of 2013 Leonard Cohen Perth Concert

These photos of the Nov 13, 2013 Leonard Cohen Perth show were taken by Peter Kovacsy, who describes the concert as “stunning.”

All photos © photographer Peter Kovacsy 2013. Originally posted Nov 18, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Lessons From Leonard Cohen – A Manual For Living With Defeat: “Let Your Lover (& Everybody Else) Off The Hook”

Lessons From Leonard Cohen – A Manual For Living With Defeat is a collection of Leonard Cohen’s observations that offer insight into living in this imperfect world.1

Lesson #1: Let Your Lover (And Everybody Else) Off The Hook

This is the lesson I’ve personally found most useful. It’s set forth in this excerpt from the original English questionnaire for Le Dernier Empereur by J.D. Beauvallet and Pierre Siankowski (Les Inrocks: Oct 19, 2016) forwarded to me from Leonard Cohen]:

Interviewer:
At the beginning and at the very end of the [You Want It Darker] album you mention a “treaty.” What kind of treaty is it exactly?

Leonard Cohen:
A treaty between your love and mine,
both these loves utterly impenetrable
and unknowable,
one to the other.

A man I studied with said: Love your neighbor? Difficult. How about, Try not to hate your neighbor. Unless the situation is life-threatening, let your lover (and everybody else) off the hook.

AKA “Everyone’s Up Against It”

In other instances, Leonard proffered the related notion that compassion can grow from the realization that “everyone’s up against it.” This passage is from Leonard Cohen interview With Stina Dabrowski (Mount Baldy Zen Center: 1997):

Note: The “French woman” to whom Leonard alludes in the final sentence is actually Simone Weil (thanks to Thelma Blitz for this information); the full quote is “The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, “What are you going through?”

lcfileSimilarly, Leonard’s premise that “free will is overrated” leads to the understanding that injury caused by another doesn’t necessarily have to result in hatred. These words are from Life Of A Ladies’ Man by Sarah Hampson (Globe and Mail: May. 25, 2007):

You have to take responsibility because the world holds you accountable for what you do. But if you understand that there are other forces determining what you do, then there’s no pride when the world affirms you, no shame when the world scorns you. Also, when someone does something to you that you really don’t like or that hurts you, well, a feeling of injury may arise, but what doesn’t is hatred or enmity, because those people aren’t doing it, either. They’re just doing what had to be done.

 

More Lessons From Leonard Cohen

All posts in this series can be found at

Cohencentric Lessons From Leonard Cohen
A Manual For Living With Defeat

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  1. For information about how this series differs from other collections of so-called lessons from Leonard Cohen, see Lessons From Leonard Cohen – Introduction. []