What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

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mutti
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What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby mutti » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:36 am

Read the last few lines...
http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/mu ... om-old-men
OPINION: Singer Miley Cyrus is unhappy with some of the advice she has received lately.
In an interview with something called Hunger TV, she complained that unnamed senior corporate types are "out of touch" with the desires of today's youth.
"With magazines, with movies, it's always weird when things are targeted for young people, yet they're driven by people that are, like, 40 years too old."
She went on: "It can't be like this 70-year-old Jewish man that doesn't leave his desk all day, telling me what the clubs want to hear."
These comments came after copping criticism from stars such as Sinead O'Connor following the release of her Wrecking Ball music video, in which she appears naked, and for her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Among other things at the awards she mimicked masturbation with an oversized foam finger, twerked, and unforgivably, sexualised teddy bears.
I was saddened by Cyrus' comments about old Jewish men, because she carries the name of one of the great heroes of Jewish history - the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great, who freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity - and also because, in my experience, 70-year-old Jewish men (and 80-year-old Jewish men) are often sources of great wisdom and counsel.
Cyrus' career, as Slate's John Dickerson recently suggested on Twitter, is evidence of the moral, spiritual and creative exhaustion of much of American culture, and her comment made me think that she could stand to listen to some wise thoughts from old Jewish men.
I asked three friends - Erica Brown, a widely respected Torah teacher in Washington; Rabbi David Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles; and Rabbi Andy Bachman, of Congregation Beth Elohim in New York - to share with me some relevant quotations.
Wolpe offered these, from the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and the late non-rabbi Saul Bellow. Heschel: "Self- respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself."
And Bellow: "You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half."
Brown offered this, from the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan: "To believe in God means to take for granted that it is man's destiny to rise above the brute and to eliminate all forms of violence and exploitation from human society."


And this, from David Ben-Gurion: "Thought is a strenuous art - few practise it, and then only at rare times."
Bachman suggested these words from Judah HaNasi: "Three things shorten a person's days and years: Being given a Torah scroll to read and refusing to read it, being given a cup of blessing to say grace and refusing to say it, and taking on airs of authority."
Along the same lines, he suggested this from Simeon ben Eliazer: "If young people say to you, 'Build the Temple,' do not heed them. But if elders say to you, 'Destroy the Temple,' heed them. For building done by young people may be equivalent to destruction, while the destruction done by old people is equivalent to building."
Bachman went on to explain by email the meaning embedded in this quote.
"Miley might do well to look at the landscape of hubris-infused rock stars who tumble into self-destruction, usually out of a misunderstood sense of their own power and popularity (dangerous addictions in their own right that only get worse when drugs and alcohol get mixed in)."
I would offer Cyrus three more thoughts, from old Jews who have succeeded in her industry.
From Leonard Cohen: "The older I get, the surer I am that I'm not running the show."
Cohen also made this wise statement: "When you stop thinking about yourself all the time, a certain sense of repose overtakes you."
Bob Dylan, in Love Minus Zero, No Limit, sang: "In the dime stores and bus stations/ People talk of situations/ Read books, repeat quotations/ Draw conclusions on the wall/ Some speak of the future/ My love she speaks softly/ She knows there's no success like failure/ And that failure's no success at all."
Finally, apropos of the licentious misuse of bears, this, from Paul Simon: "Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it's true."
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby cohenadmirer » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:36 am

A nice reminder of the potential wisdom that comes with age - and Leonard certainly has it! Love those Leonard quotes
It's not automatic , but for those who are receptive and reflective the ageing process can offer insights.
It's worth pointing out though that when Dylan wrote the quoted lines he was 25 ! 8)
There's another line from more mature Dylan (from the magnificent ' Cross the Green Mountain' )
'The lessons of life can't be learned in a day'
Leonard's work resonates
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby holydove » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:59 pm

This quote from the Portuguese interview of 1994, where Leonard was interviewed by Joao Lisboa, also seems apropos here:

Question: "Since your first record, I've always thought that in your songs there is a kind of wisdom that can only exist with age and experience. Now, that you're reaching 60 years old, do you believe that there is really a direct relation between age and wisdom?"

LC's response: "I think that there is a wisdom of all ages and that it is adequate to each moment. . .There's the wisdom of the 20 year old and the other of the 60 year old."

Now I'd say that is a rare level of wisdom - a wisdom united with humility & compassion - to be able to perceive the special wisdom of all ages. If everyone had that kind of wisdom, the world would be a different kind of place. I felt a little more enlightened when I read that statement. Thank you, Leonard Cohen, for bringing some light into the dark muck of this world.
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby Kush » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:17 am

"There's the wisdom of the 20 year old and the other of the 60 year old."

I agree. Miley Cyrus doesn't need to learn anything from old people. She is fine with just being who she is and making some pretty fine music along the way.

Bob Dylan also said "I was so much older then, i am younger than that now." And " old ladies in pairs, limited in sex they dare, push fake morals, insult and stare."
Make that old men and old ladies.
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby blonde madonna » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:22 pm

I still think Paul Simon's words are the most profound.
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby holydove » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:08 pm

Kush wrote:"There's the wisdom of the 20 year old and the other of the 60 year old."

I agree. Miley Cyrus doesn't need to learn anything from old people. She is fine with just being who she is and making some pretty fine music along the way.
I don't think it means that the old & young don't need to learn from each other. I take the quote to imply that the 20 yr. old & 60 yr. old can both potentially learn something from each other; or at least, respect each others' wisdom.
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby cohenadmirer » Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:34 pm

holydove wrote:
Kush wrote:"There's the wisdom of the 20 year old and the other of the 60 year old."

I agree. Miley Cyrus doesn't need to learn anything from old people. She is fine with just being who she is and making some pretty fine music along the way.
I don't think it means that the old & young don't need to learn from each other. I take the quote to imply that the 20 yr. old & 60 yr. old can both potentially learn something from each other; or at least, respect each others' wisdom.


Miley's position is ageist and arrogant.Leonard's is the opposite embracing what we can continue to learn from each other, and from the the different aspects of ourselves...

'The heart beneath is teaching to the broken heart above'
Leonard's work resonates
Brighton 1979; Dublin , Manchester june 2008; glasgow, manchester Nov 2008; Liverpool july 2009 ; Barcelona Sept 2009 ;marseille, lille september2010: Ghent August 2012;Barcelona October 2012;Montreal x2 November 2012: 2013; Saint John NB April 2013; Brussels June 2013;Manchester August 2013; Leeds , Birmingham September 2013; Amsterdam September 2013
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby Joe Way » Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:36 am

I really enjoyed reading Leonard's quotes for the 1994 interview posted by Holydove. This reminds me so much of a discussion that we had on another board-a Univ. of Wisconsin Sports board of all things-which talked about a speech that Ashton Kutcher made at a Teen Award ceremony. There were many who were praising Ashton for his words and some who found that they rang hollow. I only viewed it out of curiosity since it grew to many pages and suddenly discovered the name of my favorite English Professor, Merton Sealts, invoked. I learned Henry James from Professor Sealts and it was one of the more defining aspects of my reading life-I never could have read him without his help. At any rate, I posted to the thread a quote from one of his novels, The Ambassadors, that I thought had some relevance to the topic. And I think it does here as well. Here is my introduction and the quote,

Lambert Strether is a late middle-aged gentlemen who is attached to a widow whose son, Chad Newsome is leading a rather dishonorable life in France. The mother owns a factory that manufactures some small item that is essential (I guessed cloth pins or tooth picks). The mother sends Strether over to France to convince the son to return to put his nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel in the family business. While there Strether discovers that he rather likes what the "dishonorable" life has done to young Chad.

At a party hosted by the character "Glorioso" (based loosely upon James McNeill Whistler) he speaks with a young man who we know as "Little Bilham" to give him some advice about how he felt that the life Strether has lived was unfulfilled and that Little Bilham due to his youth can still achieve. Maybe this is the speech that young Ashton Kutcher should have delivered to the Teen Choice audience:


“It’s not too late for you, on any side, and you don’t strike me as in danger of missing the train; besides which people can be in general pretty well trusted, of course -- with the clock of their freedom ticking as loud as it seems to do here -- to keep an eye on the fleeting hour. All the same, don’t forget that you’re young -- blessedly young; be glad of it, on the contrary, and live up to it. Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that, what have you had?”

Here is a link to the thread if you are interested. http://buckyville.yuku.com/topic/65147/ ... ain?page=1

Joe
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby Joe Way » Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:20 am

I have to add a few other thoughts-especially about Leonard-especially about an essay that I've read from Leon Edel, who did his studies at McGill and who introduced Leonard at the 92nd Street Y and who wrote a book called "Stuff of Sleep and Dreams" with a chapter called, "Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man."

"With aging, spontaneity disappears; it belongs to the earlier flowering, to one's thirties and forties, sometimes earlier, as with Mozart. The aging artist is left at sixty-five or seventy with the resources of the past but with a diminished future. The need to advance and to achieve has been superseded, leaving old memories, old strengths, perhaps hidden powers previously held in check but still available for release in a new kind of freedom; and at the same time a freedom curtailed by physical change-a waning resilience in the mind, a tendency for fantasy to become circular and repetitive, and last, by far from least, curtailments of memory. The system seems overloaded; it resists taking too many new things aboard. Memory is often momentary-we forget as we walk from room to room. The old life, the lived life and also the unloved, are remembered with greater clarity; somehow the earlier years still claim vivid possession. Perhaps, with death nearer, we cherish beginnings rather than endings."

Leon Edel's work goes on to talk about Tolstoy, Henry James, T.S. Eliot and W. B. Yeats. In his judgment, Yeats is the most grand old man and it is to Yeats that I think Leonard is closest. He quotes several poems:

"What shall I do with this absurdity-
O heart, O troubled heart-this caricature,
Decrepit age that has been tied to me
As to a dog's tail."

And here:

"An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress."

I think Leonard's soul has clapped his hands very hard.

It is interesting to me that Yeats was about my age when he wrote this. I quoted the line about "Drecrepit age" to an elderly Great Aunt long ago and it made her very uncomfortable-so I am loath to make judgments about these things.

I wish that I could post the whole essay here. If you have a chance to buy "Stuff of Sleep and Dreams" -do it.

Joe
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby blonde madonna » Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:18 am

Enjoyed reading your post Joe,
Henry James, along with Jane Austen (the two are inextricably linked) educated me in my youth, as did LC.

Your Yeats quote brought back memories of a wonderful live performance of 'Conversations with Ghosts' by Paul Kelly and the Australian National Academy of Music I saw recently. 'Sailing To Byzantium' was set to music and sung by Paul Kelly and it was epic.

I will send it to you. Here is an explanatory link:

http://youtu.be/vwt99hePnqw
Last edited by blonde madonna on Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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1985 -- State Theatre, Melbourne
2008 -- Hamilton, Toronto, Cardiff
2009 -- Rochford Winery, Yarra Valley
2010 -- Melbourne
2013 -- Melbourne, The Hill Winery, Geelong, Auckland
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby cohenadmirer » Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:59 pm

A good collection of pictures of ' older performers' (including Leonard)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/highw61/page1/
Leonard's work resonates
Brighton 1979; Dublin , Manchester june 2008; glasgow, manchester Nov 2008; Liverpool july 2009 ; Barcelona Sept 2009 ;marseille, lille september2010: Ghent August 2012;Barcelona October 2012;Montreal x2 November 2012: 2013; Saint John NB April 2013; Brussels June 2013;Manchester August 2013; Leeds , Birmingham September 2013; Amsterdam September 2013
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby Joe Way » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:45 pm

Dear Blonde Madonna,
Thank you for that clip with an explanation of Paul Kelly's "Conversations with Ghosts"-it appears fascinating. Didn't Paul Kelly open for Leonard on some dates during the last tour down under?

Joe
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby B4real » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:17 am

Joe Way wrote: Didn't Paul Kelly open for Leonard on some dates during the last tour down under?
Hi Joe, here's the answer to your question.
Paul Kelly: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=13388&p=340788#p340788

BM, I loved that link for "Conversations With Ghosts", so musically interesting; I'm sure you had a wonderful time!
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blonde madonna
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby blonde madonna » Wed Oct 30, 2013 11:55 am

Joe, Paul Kelly played support at some of the winery concerts (not something he usually or needs to do but he has said that he respects Leonard as a songwriter). There are similarities in their songwriting in that they both borrow from the bible.

B4real, I'm guessing you know who Paul Kelly is but maybe you're not a fan like I am :D "Stories of me" is a recent documentary on him and is up on iview at the moment if you're interested.
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Re: What Miley Cyrus can learn from Old Men

Postby B4real » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:36 pm

blonde madonna wrote:B4real, I'm guessing you know who Paul Kelly is but maybe you're not a fan like I am "Stories of me" is a recent documentary on him and is up on iview at the moment if you're interested.
Yeah, I certainly do know and have for longer than I care to admit :razz: And thanks but I've just watched "Stories of Me" on ABC TV last Sunday.
Great minds think alike :) have a look here: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=13388&p=340788#p340698 and keep reading to the end of the page.
Be for real. Free yourself to find the real Self ~~ Me
Happiness is like learning the violin, the more you practice it the more it comes to you ~~ Me
Without the heart, there can be no understanding between the hand and the mind ~~ Gore Vidal

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