Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How Sometimes Tongue-In-Cheek Breaks All the Way Through the Skin

I wake again. One of those horrid, terror-filled mornings. Everyone is asleep. I am disconnected. In all of the spinning, this song comes to mind: Randy Newman's "I Think it's Going to Rain Today."

I call it up on YouTube and find so many remakes of it. Bette Midler, who first exposed me to it in the movie "Beaches." Norah Jones. Peter Gabriel. I find a copy of Mr. Newman singing it in an orchestra hall with full orchestra backup and full applause.

I think of the space needed, the electricity, the talent -- all of the wealth needed to pay everyone to put on just this one song at this one time in this one place, let alone the millions of dollars made on it over time?

To what end? How does being "entertained" with it transform what's really going on out here? What the song is TALKING ABOUT? Doesn't it perpetuate the problem the song addresses?
Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
Frozen smiles to chase love away.
... and who also clap on cue and fold their professionally designed and printed programs, complete with ads for upcoming performances, carefully in their laps? Does Mr. Newman think about any of this as he performs it?

I think of the irony. I get an ice pack for my head, and I weep.

When brilliance and insight into an experience goes...wrong.

I'm going back to bed now. Maybe I will sleep this time. I doubt I will be able to reconcile it. Or my own place in the web of it. Or find any new sort of comfort or hope about it.

Here are the lyrics. For your amusement. Or for your study.
Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
Think I'll kick it down the street
That's the way to treat a friend

Bright before me the signs implore me
To help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today

 It's raining. I need relief.

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