Sunday, December 4, 2016

Leonard Cohen's Message for the Future

Leonard Cohen exited stage left just one day before his most cogent prophecy came to pass on US Election Day 2016. In the 1992’s “The Future,” he sang

There'll be the breaking 
of the ancient western code 
Your private life will suddenly explode 
There'll be phantoms 
There'll be fires on the road 
and the white man dancing

You may be a Trumphead or you may be disgusted, but there’s no doubting that western codes are being broken left and right and on every side of the pond, that dumpsters of racism and bigotry along with forests here, there and everywhere are burning, and that drums beating a violent overture for an age of political and environmental disequilibrium are banging while some men in white—white robes to be exact—are dancing for joy just a few yards from the White House.

“Things are going to slide,” Cohen sang,

slide in all directions 
Won't be nothing 
Nothing you can measure anymore 
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world 
has crossed the threshold 
and it has overturned 
the order of the soul

Cohen was not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. He was actually the son of a beloved Jewish Montreal family and the grandson of a religious man with whom he used to study the prophets—the Book of Isiah to be exact—in the original Hebrew. But in his way, as much as rock and roll and popular culture can allow, he brought a prophetic message to the radio as effectively as any figure of our time, notwithstanding his pal Bob Dylan.

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