“We [Canadians] grow up on the edge of America and we watch America the way that women watch men: very, very carefully.” Leonard Cohen

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Canadians are very involved in their country. We grow up on the edge of America and we watch America the way that women watch men: very, very carefully. So when there is this continual cultural challenge right on the edge of your lives, of course it develops a sense of solidarity. So, yes, it is a very important element in my life.”quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: ‘I’m a closet optimist’ [a report on the Sept 16, 2014 London Press Preview Of Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems] by Andy Morris. Gigwise, Sept 16, 2014.

“Americans are very, very provincial. They really are reluctant to accept new things. They are totally ignorant about what is going on in other countries.” Leonard Cohen 1975

I mentioned a novelist friend who was experiencing the same thing [being more popular in Europe than America] and Cohen responded:

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I think this is the traditional path of gifted people in America. It’s obvious, this is what happened to Faulkner, to Frost, to Miller, to a lot of jazz musicians–Americans are very, very provincial. They really are reluctant to accept new things. They are totally ignorant about what is going on in other countries. These countries in Europe are old, old cultures, with a tremendous sense of tolerance and curiosity built into them. So they’re very interested in new American products. We’re not at all interested in theirs, or in our own.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: The Romantic in a Ragpicker’s Trade by Paul Williams (Crawdaddy, March 1975). Photo by  Pete Purnell.

“America is a great, vast, bewildering, indescribable human experiment” Leonard Cohen

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I like to feel like an Indian – they don’t have to respect that border [between Canada and the United States]. America is a great, vast, bewildering, indescribable human experiment, and I don’t want to lose touch with what’s going on there…quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen: Thoughts Of A Ladies’ Man by Elizabeth M. Thomson. 1979 interview reposted to FolkTracks: Jan 12, 2017.

Leonard Cohen on America, the Soviet Union, Maoists, & President Reagan

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Well, I love America. I have defended America all the time, especially when European intellectuals found it de rigueur to attack America, and were proposing first of all that the Soviet Union had the answer to human destiny, and even more so when the Maoists really had a message for industrial America — as I used to say, ‘From the lovely people who brought you bound feet.’ I’ve always defended America, especially against the shameful performance of European intellectuals. Even President Reagan knew far more about what was really going on.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From A Purple Haze To A Purple Patch by Adam Sweeting (The Canberra Times: July 24, 1994)

“I asked myself, a territory that has produced everybody from Dracula to Ivan the Terrible to Stalin, is this really the fertile ground for parliamentary democracy? I didn’t think so. It was clear to me that the real laboratory of democracy is America.” Leonard Cohen


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I had a verse in my song, Democracy, which as you know has endless verses, but one of them was, ‘It ain’t coming to us European-style, concentration camp behind the smile, it ain’t coming from the East with its temporary feast as Count Dracula comes strolling down the aisle.’ I asked myself, a territory that has produced everybody from Dracula to Ivan the Terrible to Stalin, is this really the fertile ground for parliamentary democracy? I didn’t think so. It was clear to me that the real laboratory of democracy is America. It’s America where the races are really confronting each other, where the classes are confronting one another, where even people of a different sexual orientation are confronting one another. That’s where democracy started, and that’s where it’s really unfolding.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From A Purple Haze To A Purple Patch by Adam Sweeting (The Canberra Times: July 24, 1994)

Also see “It ain’t coming to us European style” Verse To Democracy Performed By Leonard Cohen At 1993 London Show

“Where’s the beef?” Leonard Cohen defends the American hamburger

hamburger

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The American hamburger – even the fast food one – is vastly underrated. It’s a pretty good piece of meatquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen 1993 Interview: The Fanning Sessions RTE

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Leonard Cohen Affirms His Song “Democracy” Is “Free Of Irony Or Skepticism”

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Everyone is of course allowed to interpret my lyrics as he or she wants, it’s never been my policy to police my audience. But although “Democracy” deals with big subject, it is free of irony or skepticism. Democracy is the last great religion, the greatest of all because it accommodates other religions and cultures. If there is one place on earth where democracy has a chance then it’s America, where different races and cultures are condemned to each other, the political system may be in stalemate, it still has a democratic tradition of more than two hundred years – “the machinery of change and the spiritual thirst,” as I sing in ‘Democracy’. The United States is still the experimental field of democracy, the arena in which the significant confrontations are taking place: between the races, between classes and between the sexes. That makes life in America so uncomfortable and yet so inspiring. “Democracy” is a hymn that I wrote when the Berlin Wall fell. Everyone surrounding me was optimistic, but I had a premonition of the misery that awaited the post-communist world. To me it seemed naive to think that democracy would come to the Eastern bloc overnight.
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Leonard Cohen

 

From ‘Gesprek met Leonard Cohen, de boeteprediker van de popmuziek; Het Oude Testament is mijn handboek’ [Talk with Leonard Cohen, the philosopher of pop music; the Old Testament is my guide] by Pieter Steinz, NRC: December 4, 1992.

Credit Due Department: Contributed & translated by Anja Deelen

Leonard Cohen: “I like singing in the United States because …”

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I like singing in the United States because my language comes out of this language and people can follow the real meaning of the songs. I use the cadences and rhythms of the American language.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Stolen Moments: Leonard Cohen by Tom Schnabel. Acrobat Books, 1988.

Note: Originally posted Apr 1, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric