Beautiful Losers - reread

Debate on Leonard Cohen's poetry (and novels), both published and unpublished. Song lyrics may also be discussed here.
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Manna
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Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby Manna » Tue May 20, 2008 4:13 am

I have just begun rereading BL.

The first time I read it, I gobbled it down like a dog left with a big bowl of aged rib eye in rosemary-pinot marinade.
I've just read the first two passages, and it was torture to put it down, but I want to force a bit of slowy downy on myself.
I've gotten a cup of coffee, and I am waiting for an incubation in my lab. Yes, even tho it's 9:00 pm. The good news is that I don't have any subsequent work to do tomorrow until 2:00, so I can be slacker-babe all morning.

I am sorry for rambling, but if I don't keep my mind occupied, I will hear the call of this nasty little beautiful book.
Here is what I remember, without picking it back up.

Katherine Tekakwitha. Standing among birch trees, my favourite trees, and who knows how high those moccasins were laced. with birds nearby who would be honored if you scratched their breasts, or even used them as an example in some parable.

And I remember mention of F who died of too much dirty sex in an asylum. his face black, his pecker shriveled up like a worm.

maybe I'll just read these two passages again. That would be ok, wouldn't it?
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Manna
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby Manna » Tue May 20, 2008 4:19 am

How quickly I forget things!!
I didn't remember anything of the second passage, not enough to mention it in what I remembered after reading it.

It seems so like Leonard to say he has no interest in disgracing a people by his interest. What an odd thing to say, but a thing I understand perfectly.
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mat james
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby mat james » Tue May 20, 2008 5:59 am

Hi Manna,
I haven't read this book, but I will follow your thread with interest...from a distance, so to speak.
Matj
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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abby
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby abby » Tue May 20, 2008 7:39 am

Oh, Manna. I guess I'm not the only one who was inspired by the recent talk of Beautiful Losers. I re-read it last week, but as is my way, I just devoured the whole thing.

I went to visit Kateri Tekakwitha's tomb earlier this year. It was a little more like stumbling upon it. There was a museum attached and though it was closed it was not blocked off and I walked through it feeling like a ghost. I think I felt so much like a ghost because the lights were off and there were people in the office of the museum who took no notice of me. I wondered what her body looked like under all that marble. And I wondered if Leonard had visited the tomb too.

It was lovely going back to Beautiful Losers after this experience. I was mostly struck by the same lines that floored me when I first read it ten years ago. I guess I'm still struggling to be at home in the world as much these days as I was then. One thing that jumped out to me this reading, that hadn't really before, is that just preceding the very beautiful what is a saint section, there is the line What did F. mean by advising me to go down on a saint? How did I effing miss that?

Abby
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Manna
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby Manna » Tue May 20, 2008 5:34 pm

Was there recent talk of BL? Where?
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby abby » Tue May 20, 2008 7:49 pm

Geoffrey brought it up in the Before You're Sixty-Four thread of Andrew McGeever's.

Abby
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Manna
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby Manna » Tue May 27, 2008 11:38 pm

I lent this book to my friend whom I sometimes call Munkee. Munkee wrote back to me a while later:
First, I find that I can only read one or two sections (chapters, divisions, chasms, rifts, tears, etc... ????) at a time before I start to lose touch with myself.

So he's just gone off on a lovely diatribe about constipation and the nature of existence. Edith is dead and he and F. have just been to the factory for the first time. And he blames the RCC of Q for everything that is wrong.
I had forgotten when in the book Edith dies, and I just came upon it. I forgot that this was not written with any kind of easy respect for chronology. Edith dies as she is introduced as a character, in section 5, which is 3 pages into the book. Munkee also said at one point that this book was fucking with him.

Although I am only 3 pages into the book, I feel like I like F better this time. I think I am more willing to allow him. Which may only make sense to me, because in reality he's kind of an asshole-diva-guru. But I like him because he says, "It's all diamonds." And I want it to be all diamonds.

Ha ha ha. This planet is actually lousy with diamonds, but their value is inflated. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
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Manna
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby Manna » Wed May 28, 2008 11:02 pm

F is a prick, but he's an enlightened prick.
ha.
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mat james
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby mat james » Sat May 31, 2008 4:08 am

F is a prick, but he's an enlightened prick.
ha.
Does that mean he stands up/out in a crowd, Manna ? :twisted:
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
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Manna
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby Manna » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:26 pm

It means he has a point.

I just read about the time Edith covered herself in greasy red costume stuff, and wanted to be "other people" with our hero. A few things stand out to me. He asks himself now as he's looking at this memory, why didn't I take this journey with her? He mentions in a less family-friendly way that the memory is sexy to him, and how he said that day, "Take a bath."

He rejected her, and all the while now, he is fantasizing about KT. And Edith sounds like such an interesting person to me. I am less forgiving of our hero in this read.
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby Cate » Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:15 am

Less then family friendly way – nicely put.

The first time I read the book I was 17 and felt such sympathy for this guy. I saw him as a victim. F - I saw as some cruel, likely insane ass. I don’t have the same tolerance for the narrator that I once did and F is much more likable now.
Imagine sitting there in your red grease( I wonder if the colour is important – like red symbolizing joy) excitement and anticipation growing as you wait and when your man comes home, he looks at you so coldly, you feel you must explain. Even after that, he tells you to go take a bath.
I’m glad the narrator regrets this – I want him to feel bad…
At the end of chapter 6 he says - ... the possessive occupation and tyranny over two square inches of human flesh, ...
Maybe it was his desire to control her sexuality. Maybe jealousy - let's be other people - that included him she wanted somebody different that night. Whatever the reason his cruelty was also to himself - he missed a great night, missed a journey with the woman he loved and now he must live with the torment of that. Well torment might be a strong word - really it's a hard on for the memory of what he could have had, but I think to him this might be considered torment.

Okay maybe I feel a little bad for him -just a little.
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Quasand
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby Quasand » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:49 am

What or who the hell is A-------s. Is this like a bad word the publishing company couldn't print back then or something?

Page 8 or 9: The teenaged A-------s. What are the missing letters? What is the word? Why was this done this way?

Could someone please list all the other instances from the book where words are printed this way and put the actual word next to it?

And who is F. Why is he just F? Why doesn't he have a full name?

Thank you
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~greg
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby ~greg » Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:34 am

Check the FAQs!

(I don't know where it is, but if you check the FAQs
I'm sure it will tell you where it is, and everything else you could possibly want to know.)
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abby
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby abby » Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:25 am

The narrator leaves the tribe nameless in order not to disgrace the A---------s with his attention. It's none of your busines who the A---------s are. Maybe it's the same for F.

Abby
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~greg
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Re: Beautiful Losers - reread

Postby ~greg » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:24 am

Cohen wrote:I am a well-known folklorist,
an authority on the A-------s,
a tribe I have no intention of disgracing by my interest.
I always thought 'A-------s' simply meant "Algonquis" (French)
or "Algonkins". Same as "Algonquians".
There is an Algonquin (or Algonkin) tribe, who live in Canada.
But the word Algonquian (or Algonkian) is a more general linguistic/anthropological term
used to refer to not only the small Algonquin tribe but dozens of distinct Native American tribes
who speak languages that are related to each other.
...
The many Algonquian tribes include the Abenakis, Algonquins, Arapahos, Attikameks, Blackfeet, Cheyennes, Crees, Gros Ventre, Illini, Kickapoo, Lenni Lenape/Delawares, Lumbees (Croatan Indians), Mahicans (including Mohicans, Stockbridge Indians, and Wappingers), Maliseets, Menominees, Sac and Fox, Miamis, Métis/Michif, Mi'kmaq/Micmacs, Mohegans (including Pequots, Montauks, Niantics, and Shinnecocks), Montagnais/Innu, Munsees, Nanticokes, Narragansetts, Naskapis, Ojibways/Chippewas, Ottawas, Passamaquoddy, Penobscots, Potawatomis, Powhatans, Shawnees, Wampanoags (including the Massachusett, Natick, and Mashpee), Wiyot, and Yurok.
...
Each Algonquian tribe had different cultures and traditions.
...

(source: - http://www.bigorrin.org/algonquian_kids.htm
So I believe Cohen was being sarcastic when he wrote -
...the A-------s, a tribe I have no intention of disgracing by my interest.
I believe he thought the use of the anthropologist's term to refer to all of them
was insulting to them. And that's why he censored it.

I believe they referred to themselves either by their individual tribal names,
or else simply as 'people', without limiting the notion to what we mean by 'Algonquian'.

Lots of 19th century anthropological terms can be regarded as insulting like that;
- 'negroid', 'caucasian', 'mongoloid', etc.

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