Cohen's "The genius"--- poem analysis

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Cohen's "The genius"--- poem analysis

Postby Jen on Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:02 pm

Hey, i have been trying to analyze Cohen's "The Genius", and it is filled with so much info, i feel like im missing so much from it. Each stanza deals with a different Jewish stereotype, yet each seem to be roles that one would choose to assume, except the last, the "Dachau Jew", that is something they were forced to be. does anyone have any insight to this?
as well, the second stanza, the "apostate jew" seems contradictory to me because Cohen himself is a secular jew, yet he is attacking them almost... or is this a statement on the difference between first and second generation holocaust survivors?

any insight you may have would bbe greatly appreciated
Thanks!
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Postby tomsakic on Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:26 am

I see it like on of those great Leonard's love poems, wildly romantic. For you, I'll be everything, and particularly every kind of Jew, what makes the poem even more strong (plus controversial in terms of Leonard's Holocaust/Jewish thematic obsessions in 50s and 60s). "For you I'll be Dachau Jew", well, that's quite something. Now it reminded me on I'm Your Man in some way.
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Postby tomsakic on Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:32 am

The apostate Jew doesn't have to be contradiction, you already said that each stanza deals with one of Jews stereotypes. In analysis you shouldn't identify the author of the poem (Cohen) with the voice which tells the poem (its subject).
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Postby eelaine on Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:31 am

Jen,

Not sure, but I think the title is it's genius.
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"The Genius"

Postby martingrossman on Fri May 06, 2005 11:12 pm

Leonard ain't exactly a "secular Jew" in the sense of being non-religious. He lights candles on Shabbat and belongs to a synagogue. He has even been known to daven (pray).
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Postby linda_lakeside on Sun May 08, 2005 7:18 am

It reminded me of I'm Your Man, immediately.

Linda.
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Postby eelaine on Sun May 08, 2005 10:05 am

For you
I will be a ghetto jew
and dance
and put white stockings
on my twisted limbs

( kinda sexy... or intriguing )

For you
I will be a Broadway jew
and cry in theatres
for my mother

( She’s looking for the exit )

For you
I will be a doctor jew
and search
in all the garbage cans for foreskins
to sew back again

( She’s won over with this )

and exclaims, “Hey, la”

“My boyfriend’s a genius... of love”

“If only this were a song”

:shock:
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Postby Tchocolatl on Sun May 08, 2005 5:14 pm

Let's bring the "wholly thing", OK? Much more comfortable to analyse and answer Jen's post (if there is mistakes in the poem below, please, Jen (or someone else) kindly correct now (or remind silence for ever
:wink:). Thanks in advance. :D


*******
The Genius

For you
I will be a ghetto Jew
and dance
and put white stockings
on my twisted limbs
and poison wells
across the town

For you
I will be an apostate jew
and tell the Spanish priest
of the blood vow
in the Talmud
and where the bones
of the child are hid

For you
I will be a banker jew
and bring to ruin
a proud old hunting king
and end his line

For you
I will be a Broadway jew
and cry in theaters
for my mother
and sell bargain goods
beneath the counter

For you
I will be a doctor jew
and search
in all the garbage cans
for foreskins
to sew back again

For you
I will be a Dachau jew
and lie down in lime
with twisted limbs
and bloated pain
no mind can understand

*******


Hum... :roll: "And if you want, a this and that, and if it is not enough I'll wear a mask for you" of I'm Your Man" seems to me, maybe alike in the forms, but is more a playful erotic game to me.

This...

This is not.

(but we all know by now how his poetry is like a tree, many different fruits from different branches came from the same trunk.)

This is more stuff of "scholars", althought the term is not exact, more precisely stuff for somebody well aware about History, a portion of History that was taking place in Europe and New England before (and maybe what leads to) and around the time of the Holocaust.

'Cause some people say. Some people say Jews were not Saints, they did/do bad things, many bad things, they were not all over nice people all the time. Some people say they deserved "this".

The "punishement" however, was behond understanding. Mine anyway. I, myself, tried to understand, and never could. I just have the feeling that "this" was absolutly not OK and I came to the conclustion that you can - you MUST - stop somebody who does things that are wrong for you, certainly, but "this"?? No. I don't understand.

But.

I wouldn't know. I'm just holding the fort.

Maybe some genius could understand.
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Postby eelaine on Sun May 08, 2005 7:09 pm

Hum... "And if you want, a this and that, and if it is not enough I'll wear a mask for you" of I'm Your Man" seems to me, maybe alike in the forms, but is more a playful erotic game to me.

This...

This is not.



( I could not agree with you more… it is neither playful… nor erotic ) That’s why I posted this… to demonstrate how ludicrous it is to even suggest... as to what this poem is about.


Some people say they deserved "this".



No one deserves genocide. not Jew nor Gentile… if you make a distinction… which I do not. Those who do -- as to which Holocaust matters or is worth remembering… I don’t respect.

If you don't know about that or care... keep holding that fort.

I hope you understand why I say what I do.

.
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Postby linda_lakeside on Sun May 08, 2005 8:57 pm

Oh, Tchoco, you're such a sly one, I'd like to try to read your palm...

Linda.
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Postby linda_lakeside on Sun May 08, 2005 11:51 pm

Hi all,

I think the structure and overall 'giving over' in both poems/songs is what links the two. Of course, no one condones genocide, not in Leonard's camp at least.

Linda.
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Postby Tchocolatl on Mon May 09, 2005 12:30 am

eelaine, your intention was so obvious that I did not feel the necessity to stress it. I found your post particularly entertaining, btw.

Linda, hadyou told "shy" I would have agree, "sly", no, you could never see it in the palm of my hand or in any part of me, it is simply not coded in my ADN. Of course you were talking about the form, and so do I. Moreover, I would not be surprised if both poems came from the same "tree" (so to speak). Was it necessary to repeat? Maybe? OK, then.

It could be also romantic in a dramatic way, but not in the way (no way!) in the spirit of I'mYM. Much too dark. Much too dark and serious, and sad.

To come back to eelaine's post regarding the "deserve it or not" aspect, maybe I was knitting too much fog again. Sorry.

Then I'll stress what some people had say (and what some people are still saying right now, particularly neo nazi and skin gangs) about Hitler that he was a genius.

As well as Charles Chaplin titled his film "The Dictator", maybe this poem... is a flower for Hitler for the brilliancy of his final solution to the Jews problem, a long strory that he engramed in 6 paragraphs, images that worth thousand words. And a title. Now please, please consider that I put it all on his cynism. But, this is just what I think about all this. Right? Right. :D

For my personal opinions, anybody who has read my previous posts here and there on board, on this subject (and even others) knows what I think.

Have a happy Mother Day to whom it may concern! :D[/i]
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Postby eelaine on Mon May 09, 2005 1:38 am

Tchoco,

I’m having a bit of difficulty figuring out some of the details of your post, but not your main message.

To which I say, you don’t get it. You say no one here is in favor of Genocide... and then you talk about Hitler and Neo-nazis... and Hitler’s genius. I’m not going to even explain why I just said that. Why bother? Most of what I said, that I thought was relevant (and hugely important) – that’s lost on this crowd -- beyond a poem by Leonard Cohen... was in the other thread... that flew over into the Poetry section.

You don’t get it. I don’t know if you, or any of you care about Truth and Fairness. And how it’s been eroded and hijacked. I’d like to think differently.

Meanwhile we’ll all just keep knitting those metaphors... and you keep holding up that fort... or read a Stephen King novel.

eelaine
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Postby linda_lakeside on Mon May 09, 2005 2:31 am

eelaine,

If you're talking about LC's works, then that is a very multi-layered topic. It is not black and white, there are different ways in which he presents a question and an answer. I don't think that anyone here blindly follows a literal meaning in LC works. There is a lot of depth here. It's Leonard himself, how he sees himself, and a multitude of other things. I don't thing it's so easily analyzed.

Linda.
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Postby Tchocolatl on Mon May 09, 2005 2:43 am

Eelaine, communication is sometimes not as easy as we would like it to be.

Maybe if you give a second look at my post at another time, you will see a different way of reading it.

This is not because I do not want to explain. This is just that fast pace communication/explanations could lead to much more misunderstandings sometimes, where a pause and a second look are doing marvels.

I would really like you to understand me.

Stephen King novels? I don't like Stephen King novels.

To come back to the poem, I'll add that "for you" could be for his G_d as well as a romantic mate. As usual (almost).
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