"...Naked man and woman"

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Boo
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"...Naked man and woman"

Postby Boo » Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:15 am

Hi,

Does anyone happen to know whether that line from the song Everybody Knows refers to the drawing on the Voyager spacecraft ?

The line is :

"Everybody knows that the naked man and woman - just a shining artifact of the past..."

Thanks,

Boo
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:27 am

I wondered what it meant, too. My older daughter believes it's to do with Aids, and the dangers of 'naked' sex in the modern world.

But I dunno...
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
Reuben
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Postby Reuben » Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:12 am

i have come across the impression that it is to do with AIDs (in the sense that with a condom people are not truly naked). This interpretation is particularly convincing given the preceeding lines (everybody knows that the plague is coming/everybody knows that its moving fast) and the fact that it was released somewhere near the height of the aids scare
thanks for the trouble you took from her eyes / I thought it was there for good and so i never tried
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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:06 pm

Interesting objection, Boo. You could be right. Never thought of this:-) It just sounds like the description of Voyager's "shining artefact".
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Postby jurica » Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:33 pm

well, in little more context:

"Everybody knows that the naked man and woman are just a shining artifact of the past. Everybody knows the scene is dead, but there’s going to be a metre on your bed that will disclose what everybody knows."

it appears to me that it's about his woman sleeping with another man, telling him she'll do that no more, but continuing to do so.

***

or the other context:

"And everybody knows that the Plague is coming. Everybody knows that it’s moving fast. Everybody knows that the naked man and woman are just a shining artifact of the past."

...now it seems like it's about the demise of humanity (may be about Voyager).

perhaps the image is here to connect the two? the natural all including catastrophe being of the same scale to the poet as is intimate, personal one?
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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:06 pm

As always. It's obviously going from general or metaphorical level to the more private and intimate one.
Young dr. Freud
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Postby Young dr. Freud » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:18 pm

The naked man and woman are Adam and Eve.


YdF
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Nightstalker
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Postby Nightstalker » Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:59 pm

All of the above!! And more. Poetry is shorthand and often encompasses many ideas into a few words that simultaneously portray ideas from the realistic personal to the abstract metaphysical. Remember that LC also uses 'naked' in this manner, "naked in your body and your thought" ( that may be a slight misquote but it is close). So I believe that he is calling to mind the separation of the sexes in mental terms and modern roles as well as physical while also engaging all the other topics already posted. I also find that to me more different meanings and nuances of each small group of words or stanzas are revealed by the more I learn of LC and all his works and his life.
"For the captain had quitted the long drawn strife
And in far Simoree had taken a wife." (R Kipling)
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:00 am

Nightstalker wrote: All of the above!! And more. Poetry is shorthand and often encompasses many ideas into a few words that simultaneously portray ideas from the realistic personal to the abstract metaphysical.
Very true. And Cohen, more than most, imo, packs his poetry/lyrics with many shades of meaning. And then his readers add more of their own - as is human nature. :wink:
Nightstalker wrote:Remember that LC also uses 'naked' in this manner, "naked in your body and your thought" ( that may be a slight misquote but it is close). So I believe that he is calling to mind the separation of the sexes in mental terms and modern roles as well as physical while also engaging all the other topics already posted. I also find that to me more different meanings and nuances of each small group of words or stanzas are revealed by the more I learn of LC and all his works and his life.
Yes. After reading his novels and some of his poetry, his songs have SO much more in them than I first knew.
I want to read the biographies when I can find 'em.
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
Boo
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Postby Boo » Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:36 pm

Thanks all for the interesting discussion. I was really wondering if anyone knew from the man himself (maybe mentioned in an interview?) but that was obviously a long shot. I still like my interpretation best :) but of course, as others have pointed out, everyone brings part of themselves into what they read.

Cheers,

Boo
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~greg
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Postby ~greg » Sat Feb 18, 2006 7:38 pm

the naked man and woman - just a shining artifact of the past


is either adam & eve, glistening in the sun,
after having worked up a good sweat. (somehow or other.
but not by work. unemployment was 100% in Eden back then. )

or else Boo's suggestion is more on the money.

And I think that the word "shining" makes it hard to account for
in any other way than Boo's.

So that's where I'd put my money.
(If I had any. But, since I don't,
this doesn't change the odds in any way.)

"The plague" referred to was, "in the most physical sense", AIDS.
Interviewer > One of the new songs says,
"Everybody knows the plague is coming...
/ everybody knows the scene is dead".

Cohen> I feel the whole thing's dead, yeah.
The plague in the most physical sense is AIDS.
But there's another kind of plague going on too,
of which AIDS is one of the symptoms.
If indeed disease does have ultimately a psychic
origin, then there's a plague of alienation and
separation and lassitude and panic; a sense of
not being in control.

- http://www.webheights.net/speakingcohen/mus0788.htm

(aside:

What the "shining" wasn't, as everybody will see,
was some scenes I remember, "through a glass darkly",
from the movie "Suddenly Last Summer',
(-from the summer of '59 - so - not so sudden any more I guess)

- with Elizabeth Taylor, in effect, shining naked in the sun
(in my pre-pubescent imagination at the time)
and Montgomery Clift being reduced to shredded lunch
at the top of the hill by the starving abused kids, with their shining utensils.

I can't find the whole script on line, but some random quotes I could find
can maybe show why I was reminded of this by the lines
"the naked man and woman / just a shining artifact of the past",
- particularly by the word "shining", and by Cohen
mentioning alienation, separation, lassitude, panic,
and "a sense of not being in control."


Catharine >
And before long, when the weather got warmer and the beach so crowded,
he didn’t need me any more for that purpose.
...
So now he let me wear a decent dark suit.
I’d go to a faraway empty end of the beach, write postcards and letters
and keep up my—third-person journal.
...
...white as the weather. He had on a white panama and white shoes,
white--white lizard skin--pumps! He--kept touching his face
and his throat here and there with a white silk handkerchief
and popping little white pills in his mouth.
...
He!--accepted!--All!
as how!--things!--are!--
And thought nobody had any right to complain or interfere in any way whatsoever,
and even though he knew that what was awful was awful...
he was certainly never sure that anything was wrong!
...
It was all white outside. White hot, a blazing white hot, hot blazing white...
It looked as if -- as if a huge white bone had caught on fire in the sky
and blazed so bright it was white and turned the sky and everything
under the sky white with it!
...
the band of naked children pursued us up the steep white street in the sun
that was like a great white bone of a giant beast that had caught on fire in the sky!
...
Tchocolatl
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Postby Tchocolatl » Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:47 pm

I always thought it was one of the shades of the meaning, Boo (along with the aid meanings, and the psychological meaning Leonard Cohen talks about in the interview above (in Greg's post) and also about a new age of all those robots that is coming (probably - it is there now, but not in a human form - not yet). This without talking about clones and genetic body engeeniring.

Here is the picture of those "naked man and woman", hugely launched in the media as well as lunched in the space.

(At that time I thought that whatever intelligent beings may find that, they will run the other way - what kind of planet is this, where people still live without clothes, looked depressed, and have amorphous female of the specy (maybe because she does not have a "normal" sex (well on this picture she does not have a sex at all - strange, like for a dull - I mean a doll) ? And what if the intelligent species who find this have a culture in which the gesture of the man is the equivalent of our "finger"? So many questions... :roll: . Look how - anyway (and seriously) - a simple picture like that talks loud about the culture of the people who launched the spacecraft. They are white (or at least transperent, pale anyway) to begin with (what if those beings decide to come here and lands in Africa? They will blame it on their shining search engine?). The sex of the woman is considered not important (it is not on the drawing) and the whole female body is like in the background. They are rather young, youth is a great quality in this culture. What if they arrive in a residence for senior citizens? What if they see the two lipsed THIS MESSAGE IS SPAM AND WILL BE DELETED AS SOON AS THE MODERATOR WAKES UP of a woman? Etc. Etc. They will be puzzled.

"On board the unmanned spacecraft Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 is a plaque with a pictorial message from mankind. The plaque shows the figures of a man and a woman along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft. It serves as a kind of interstellar "message in a bottle". However, it is very unlikely that it will ever be found. The mean time for the spacecraft to come within 30 astronomical units of a star is longer than the current age of the galaxy."

Image

"The Pioneer spacecraft were the first man-made objects to leave the solar system. The plaque is attached to the antenna support struts in a position that shields it from erosion by stellar dust. NASA expects the plaque (and the craft itself) to survive longer than the earth and its sun."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_plaque

Artefact of the past.
Squidgy
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Postby Squidgy » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:44 am

I just noticed this thread. And of course, since I've got a thousand other things I SHOULD be doing, instead I'm reading this stuff and wisecracking about it.
Boy oboy, oboy. It never ceases to amaze me, some of the wild interpretations youse guys come up with.
The actual lyric reads thusly, and with straightforward logic:

"Everybody knows the plague is coming
Everybody knows it's moving fast.
Everybody knows IT WILL MAKE A MAN AND WOMAN
just a shining artifact of the past."

"it" refers to "the plague."

Okay, all together now: "Ohhhhh !!!"

Just my 2cents worth, apropos of 0.

--Squiggles
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tomsakic
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Postby tomsakic » Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:27 am

Squidgy wrote:Everybody knows IT WILL MAKE A MAN AND WOMAN
just a shining artifact of the past."
I also thought for years he's singing that, but one day, while browsing thru Stranger Music, I realised - as the first post quotes - that the line goes "Everybody knows that the naked man and woman - just a shining artifact of the past". "Naked", not "it will make"... I was confused by this " - ", and then realised that (I mostly listened to bootlegs), Leonard in shows sings it like Everybody knows that the naked man and woman ARE just a shining artifact of the past...

Or, as Rufus Wainwright sang on Hall of Fame event, "naked man and woman, are just a shining article of the past"... :? :?:


But indeed, this line comes in vesre with plague, so it's obviously reffering to it.
The plague in the most physical sense is AIDS. But there's another kind of plague going on too, of which AIDS is one of the symptoms. If indeed disease does have ultimately a psychic origin, then there's a plague of alienation and separation and lassitude and panic; a sense of not being in control.
from: http://www.webheights.net/speakingcohen/mus0788.htm
Tchocolatl
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Re: "...Naked man and woman"

Postby Tchocolatl » Sat Mar 11, 2006 3:35 pm

Interesting article but. It was not the point of Boo. The point of Boo was :
Boo wrote:Hi,

Does anyone happen to know whether that line from the song Everybody Knows refers to the drawing on the Voyager spacecraft ?

The line is :

"Everybody knows that the naked man and woman - just a shining artifact of the past..."

Thanks,

Boo

I guess this is what is happening when one does read a thread too fast. I imagine that I will appear like the strange one because I remimber and/or take into account more info about a subject. Well.... that's life. 8)

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