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Tears for fears

It may come as a surprise to many Gentle Readers, but Your Humble Blogger is, at heart, nothing but a big softie, weeping at the slightest provocation. Well, not the slightest. For some reason, I don’t weep at movies, generally, although it has been known to happen. I do weep (quietly) at theater performances, often without regard to the performance being good or bad. I just weep, like a big softie. There are a handful of songs that make me weep pretty nearly every time I hear them, and some of those songs aren’t even particularly heartbreaking. Oh, what the hell:

  • Richard Thompson, “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”: a somewhat goofy song about a young hoodlum and his Red Molly, ending with And he gave her one last kiss and died/And he gave her his Vincent to ride
  • Warren Zevon, “The Hockey Song”: an extremely goofy song about a hockey player who wants to be Rocket Richard but has a career as an enforcer, never scoring but becoming the king of the goons with a box for a throne. In his last game, before retirement, he finally scores a goal, just as he is cold-cocked from behind; the last thing he sees is the red light on top of the net.
  • Tracy Chapman, “Fast Car”: a song without goofiness at all, about a young woman who uses a young fellows fast car to get away from a terrible situation at home, but finds her new life no better. Her determination to leave tonight or live and die this way is fatalistic, rather than optimistic.
  • Dar Williams, “The Christians and the Pagans”: This is a goofy and sweet song about a young lesbian, mostly estranged from her family, who brings her girlfriend to her uncle’s house, where everybody finds solace in the awkwardness. The conservative family are portrayed with sympathy, as they find in their religion strength to see the commonality and overcome the strangeness; when Christians sit with Pagans only pumpkin pies are burning

So you can see that it’s not an infallible sign of great artistic achievement to make YHB cry. I make this admission because I can perhaps, then, explain to y’all what I found it difficult to explain to my Perfect Non-Reader yesterday. I was driving and listening to NPR, as I do, and they played a short excerpt of Al Gore’s Nobel Lecture.

The distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures—a choice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: “Life or death, blessings or curses. Therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

And I bust out weeping. I went and looked at the whole speech and bust out weeping again. I tried to read it to my Best Reader this morning, and I bust out weeping again.

Read the whole thing.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


The Christians and the Pagans gets me every time too. Also The Babysitter's Here.

The Dar Williams song that always gets me is "My Friends":

...and I act like I have faith
and like that faith never ends
but I really just have friends.

For me, it's "My Hometown" by Bruce.

Thanks for linking to the Nobel speech, V. I'm in the midst of reading it* and it's truly inspiring.

*was interrupted by an IM from a friend whose wife is in the hospital laboring to deliver their daughter. "Get the hell off the computer and go help your wife!" saith I.

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