Modern Times


Share this
Press This
Like this

This entry was posted in poetry

About Ben Naga

The Spirit that graces me with its passing has no name and stems not from thoughts and words, though it gathers them up as it flows, but from feeling.

Posted on July 25, 2013, in Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. At first I din’t get this, but now I think I do — it’s a joke, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How about commenting? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • That would have been to tamper with reality. The entire piece, from “Share” to “Poetry”, was copied and pasted, intact and without any editing, from an actual e-log. That’s really the point of the whole thing; it is a piece of written cinéma vérité. (Seeéma_vérité)

      See Chaplin’s 1936 film, entitled “Modern Times”.

      “Modern Times portrays Chaplin as a factory worker employed on an assembly line. After being subjected to such indignities as being force-fed by a “modern” feeding machine and an accelerating assembly line where he screws nuts at an ever-increasing rate onto pieces of machinery, he suffers a nervous breakdown and runs amok, throwing the factory into chaos. He is sent to a hospital. Following his recovery, the now unemployed factory worker is mistakenly arrested as an instigator in a Communist demonstration. In jail, he accidentally ingests smuggled cocaine, mistaking it for salt. In his subsequent delirium, he stumbles upon a jailbreak and knocks out the convicts. He is hailed a hero and is released.” (Wikipedia)

      Also see Dylan’s 2006 album of the same name.

      “Those not totally au fait with the arc of Mr Zimmerman’s recent career may be a little non-plussed by Modern Times. For starters there’s that title. What exactly is modern about 10 songs whose lineage resides in pre-rock ‘n’ roll, country blues and swingtime jazz? The key, naturally, is irony. Dylans creative renaissance (beginning with 1997’s bleak, Time Out Of Mind and continued with the jauntier, rockabilly inflected, Love And Theft, has seen him delve deeper and deeper into his roots until he’s indivisible from his influences. Backed with verve by his current touring band and beautifully self-produced (under the pseudonym Jack Frost); Modern Times is the exception that proves Bob’s recent assertion that most modern music is poorly-recorded pap. It’s a warm and utterly engaging album.

      Filled with wittily self-depreciative asides (‘my mind tied up in knots, I keep recycling the same old thoughts’), heartfelt love poems and (most surprising of all) harsh political critique (couched as ever in Biblical terminology) on the grand finale, ”Ain’t Talkin’ -Dylan’s 44th album is more than we could have expected from this 65-year old enigma. The worrying musings on mortality have given way to a frankly peppy acceptance of his place in the world. He even name-checks Alicia Keys!

      It’s as though Dylan’s worried, worked and rubbed away at these genres, smoothing his muse to the same archetypal condition of the originals he loves so much by Woody Guthrie, Big Joe Turner and Merle Haggard. He’s sacrificed artifice (and fashionability) for the real deal. It really doesn’t matter that his sound is almost inseparable from the original templates (”Rollin’ And Tumblin”’ doesn’t even get a name change while ”Beyond The Horizon” is basically ”Red Sails In the Sunset” with new lyrics); Dylan’s now lived and experienced enough of this stuff to really inhabit such genuine Americana. As he says on the opening track, ”Thunder On The Mountain”: ‘Gonna sleep over there. That’s where the music’s coming from. I don’t need any guide, I already know the way.’ An album of the year, in any century…” (


  3. Oh, Ben, this was written with such depth and your words are so profound. Very well done, and clever, I must say! Thanks so much for “sharing!” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like I said in my reply to Rosy’s comment, “The entire piece, from “Share” to “Poetry”, was copied and pasted, intact and without any editing, from an actual e-log.” Any profundity comes from the reader’s own mind. 🙂

      “A poem is a machine for making choices.”
      – John Ciardi (How Does a Poem Mean)

      Thank you, anyway. Glad you enjoyed it.


  4. yup, modern times.. not all for the best sometimes but sharing poetry is always a good thing 🙂
    groetjes, Francina

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Memorized. Recited frequently. With attribution. Liked.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hah!! Love this, Ben – clever post.
    Ah, modern life.
    I miss the ’60’s….

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: