Interpretations of "Democracy"

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
lassepeder
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:18 am

Interpretations of "Democracy"

Postby lassepeder » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:46 am

Hi, all Cohen fans
This is my first post on this forum. I am a Danish guy of 26 who grew up with Cohen's music and is still an avid listener - going to my first concert with him in Odense this Saturday.

Other than being a Cohen fan, I am a high school teacher, teaching Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilization. I often teach courses on ancient and modern democracy, reading various ancient sources (e.g. Herodotus, The Constitutional Debate; Thucydides, Pericles' Funeral Oration; Plato, The Republic) and some modern sources as well (e.g. Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address; Hal Koch What Is Democracy). Other than this, I have heard and read Leonard Cohen's Democracy with a couple of classes. Over the last couple of years, I have heard various interesting interpretations of the song from my students, and now I would like to hear some interpretations from fellow Cohen fans who, unlike my students, know the song well. Sadly, almost none of my students know any Cohen in advance, and they all think 'Hallelujah' was written by Jeff Buckley.

So, if you have any thoughts on the meaning of Cohen's Democracy and the attitudes towards democracy expressed therein, please share them here. Thank you!
HelenOE
Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:06 am

Re: Interpretations of "Democracy"

Postby HelenOE » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:43 pm

I am only halfway joking when I say that Mr. Cohen's fundamental idea seems to be that democracy is a great idea and he's hoping someone will try it. You might get better results if you open up a discussion of particular lines in the song.
MaryB
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Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio USA

Re: Interpretations of "Democracy"

Postby MaryB » Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:29 pm

1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
HelenOE
Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:06 am

Re: Interpretations of "Democracy"

Postby HelenOE » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:30 am

Here's an annotated version of "Democracy" on rapgenius.com. Some of the annotations are unpublished verses (!... possibly from interviews?) Take it for what it's worth.

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