Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Laugh or Cry - Spinoza or The Monkees

I posted a video on Sunday of the Monkees doing “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” I posted it along with Carole King’s demo recording of the song from 1966. I got 700 hits in the first 24 hours. I had to check my counter and make sure it wasn’t counting any spam hits. It wasn’t. 68% of the hits came from Facebook, while the rest came from, well, everywhere.

Now this was a surprise. I posted it Sunday only as a place holder, and because it had the word Sunday in it. I never expected more than 25 hits at best. I average about 200 a day; with most coming from people googling different things. At this point I have a couple of thousand posts out there, so people bump into my site all the time; just not 700 per day.

This got me thinking about what topics were the most popular. Here is a sampling of what I found just by looking at one typical week from June 2011.

Conrad Shuman – 1095 hits.

Einstein and Spinoza –  812 hits.

“Shifty’s War” – 8,842 hits.

Thomas Cole’s “The Course of Empire” – 683 hits.

“Pictures of Matchstick Men” by Staus Quo -432 hits.

Wendell  Berry’s “Manifesto” – 1,041 hits.

Remember, those totals are for over 3 years. Compare those totals to the Monkees getting 700 hits in 24 hours on a silly little blog like mine, and you will understand why I say I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

For the benefit of those who may not have read it before, here is Wendell Berry’s powerful poem “Manifesto.” I hope it gets a couple of dozen hits.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

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