Sunday, June 23, 2013

Peter Gabriel: Blood of Eden.

Peter Gabriel: Blood of Eden (Official Video feat. SinĂ©ad O’Connor). Peter Gabriel, August 29, 2013. YouTube. From the album Us. Geffen Records, 1992. Also here.

Peter Gabriel: Blood of Eden (Secret World Live Tour 1994, with Paula Cole). Video. Peter Gabriel, September 2, 2013. YouTube. Also here,

The Great Disconnect. By Ross Douthat.

The Great Disconnect. By Ross Douthat. New York Times, June 22, 2013.

Genesis: The Way We Walk Tour Live 1992

Genesis: The Way We Walk Tour Live 1992. Video. RockerRollin84, August 21, 2013. YouTube. Also here.

You Say You Want a Revolution? By Christopher Dickey.

You Say You Want a Revolution? By Christopher Dickey. The Daily Beast, June 23, 2013.

Protests and riots are spreading around the world. Where do they come from, and what do they signify?

The Revolt of the Global Middle Class. By David Rhode. The Atlantic, June 23, 2013.

Why No City Can Afford to Forget About Seniors. By Richard Florida.

Why No City Can Afford to Forget About Seniors. By Richard Florida. The Atlantic, June 6, 2013.

Richard Florida: Seniors Want Vibrant, Livable Cities Too. By Katie Pearce. DC. Streets Blog, June 7, 2013.

Richard Florida Concedes the Limits of the Creative Class. By Joel Kotkin. NJBR, March 21, 2013. With response from Richard Florida.

Richard Florida website.

Generations: A Conversation with Richard Florida. Video. The Atlantic, June 6, 2013.

Is It Possible That Democracy is Dying? By Max Hastings.

Tyrannies across the world are crushing dissent. In Britain contempt for the political class is growing. Is it possible that democracy is dying? By Max Hastings. Daily Mail, June 21, 2013.

When the democratic process isn’t enough. By Rami G. Khouri. The Daily Star (Lebanon), June 26, 2013.


Few modern prophets prove themselves wise enough to invite comparison with Moses, but Francis Fukuyama made more of an ass of himself than most.

Twenty years ago, the American academic wrote a book entitled The End of History. In it, he announced that with the end of the Cold War and collapse of Communism, liberal democracy had triumphed. It would become forever the dominant system around the world, “the final form of human government.”

Americans alternate bouts of flagellation about their country with orgies of self-congratulation. They loved Fukuyama’s book, which represented them as the winning side, and bought it in truckloads.

For five minutes, it seemed possible that the author’s thesis could be right. In the Nineties, even Mother Russia, cradle of tyranny, seemed to be embracing popular consent and freedom.

Communism was the last of the 20th century’s evil “isms” to suffer defeat, after two world wars in which the democracies battled against militarism, fascism and Nazism.
. . . .

A few surviving regimes, notably in China, Vietnam and Cuba, still professed themselves communist.

But the big beasts in Beijing were as greedy and materialistic as Wall Street bankers. Only a dwindling band of British university lecturers continued to fool themselves that Karl Marx was right about mankind’s destiny.

Yet today, barely a generation since the publication of The End of History, its thesis echoes hollow.

Even if communism is a dying duck, everywhere brutal dictatorships are flourishing as if their societies’ flirtations with democracy had never happened.

Naive Europeans hailed the 2010 “Arab Spring” as promising a new era in the Middle East. Yet it seems more likely that those nations – Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – will merely be ruled by new autocrats.

The truth is that democracy is ailing – not least here in Britain. Many people despise and distrust politicians. . . . Modern politics has become meaningless to most people. It has simply descended into a struggle for power among small and unrepresentative elites, devoid of convictions or integrity, who ignore or defy the views of the people who elect them.
. . . .

China may increasingly embrace capitalist economics, but President Xi Jinping and his politburo are implacable in denying their people liberty to do anything save make money.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin is an unashamed Stalinist. His country is in the hands of a gangster elite, committed to suppressing dissent and bent upon personal enrichment. Putin himself is thought to have accrued billions in his personal bank accounts.
. . . .

In the U.S., sensible people talk and write openly about a democratic crisis. The bitter divisions between Republicans and Democrats have created gridlock in both houses of Congress.

The old willingness to cut deals and make compromises to keep government moving has become a dead letter.

A large chunk of the U.S., and especially its old, white, mid-Western, Western and southern heartland, feels as disenfranchised as do UKIP supporters in Britain. It sees a host of things being done, or not done, in Washington, which inspires bitter hostility on religious, economic or social grounds.

The U.S. came closest to being a single nation in the Forties and Fifties, partly as a result of World War II. Today, though, it is profoundly divided, and likely to remain so, not least as a result of the rise of the Latino population.

Different sections of U.S. society want vastly different things for the country; their political leaders lack the will or gifts to reconcile them. And so too Britain.

Peter Gabriel: Solsbury Hill.

Peter Gabriel: Solsbury Hill. Official Video. itspetergabriel, May 20, 2012. YouTube. Also here, and at Peter Gabriel website. Video with lyrics here.

Peter Gabriel website.

Peter Gabriel: Solsbury Hill (Secret World Live Tour 1994). Video. Laura Sosa, September 20, 2007. YouTube. Also here.

Peter Gabriel: Solsbury Hill (Growing Up Live). Video. itspetergabriel, May 11, 2013. YouTube. Also here, and at Peter Gabriel website.

Peter Gabriel: Solsbury Hill (Live on Letterman). Video. PeterGabrielVEVO, November 15, 2011. YouTube.


Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
[I] just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
“Son,” he said “Grab your things,
I’ve come to take you home.”

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Tho’ my life was in a rut
’Till I thought of what I’d say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom boom boom
“Hey” he said “Grab your things
I’ve come to take you home.”

When illusion spin her net
I’m never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don’t need a replacement
I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom boom boom
“Hey” I said “You can keep my things,
They’ve come to take me home.”

Peter Gabriel’s first solo hit, “Solsbury Hill” is an evocative and joyful ode to liberation, full of mythic symbolism. The genesis of the song came out of Gabriel’s decision to leave his gig as lead singer of Genesis and strike off on his own. It was also inspired by a spiritual experience Gabriel had on Solsbury Hill (better known as Salisbury) in the countryside near his home in Somerset, southwestern England. It was the site of a Celtic hill fort in the third and second centuries BC and may also have been Mount Badon, where King Arthur, according to legend, led the Britons to victory against the Saxons around 496 AD. Solsbury takes its name from the Celtic goddess Sulis, identified by the Romans with Minerva, and worshipped as a life-giving mother goddess at the springs in Bath. So given the hill’s mythic and historical resonance that goes back to pagan Celtic Britain, Gabriel may well have had a Druidic vision, a mystic encounter with Sulis. For me “Solsbury Hill” has been the theme song of the mythopoetic journey in my own life; the quest to follow my bliss in pursuit intellectual, spiritual, and ecstatic liberation, integration, and love.

The Temple of Sulis-Minerva at Bath. By I. A Richmond and J. M. C. Toynbee. Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 45, Pts. 1 and 2 (1955).

The Temple of Sulis Minerva at Bath. By Barry Cunliffe. Archaeology, Vol. 36, No. 6 (November/December 1983).

Gilt bronze head from the cult statue of Sulis Minerva from the Temple at Bath,
found in Stall Street in 1727 and now displayed at the Roman Baths (Bath).
A new age vision of Sulis

Peter Gabriel: Sledgehammer.

Peter Gabriel: Sledgehammer. Video. itspetergabriel, September 24, 2012. YouTube. Also here and at Peter Gabriel website. From the album So. Geffen Records, 1986.

Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live Concert.

Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live. Complete Concert. Video. BLANKsPLANET4, December 16, 2012. YouTube. Also here. Original Release Virgin Records, 1994. Copy purchased from YouTube here.

Peter Gabriel: Red Rain. Secret World Live 2012 Blu-Ray Bonus Track. Video. andron544, August 19, 2012. YouTube.

Peter Gabriel: Mercy Street. Secret World Live EP. Audio. zbebzon, September 12, 2013. YouTube.