Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. –H.L. Mencken

Friday Music: Law and Art

There is a concern among creative Christians regarding the reality of their work. The question is not an investigation of realism per se, but rather on the depiction of depravity. Christian writers are often burdened with concern for the opinions of other Christians (am I going to be judged in some way because my story involves a character who is a liar and murderer who does not die at the end?) and with fear that they might be seen as naive should they fail to portray characters realistically (go to a bookstore and pull any Christian romance novel off the shelf).

I wish this worry – at least the first worry – was not a concern. I think depravity is something that needs to be discussed rather than avoided. In fact, the Law does a devastating job at revealing depravity in our own lives – and the lives of others.

Of course there are difficulties in the handling of story. Stories that are based in Law can be both powerful and incredibly difficult to swallow (for example, see the film Se7en). Of course this is not only a problem for Christians. A story can fall apart – or lack in interest – because the level of depravity displayed.

It is here, I believe, we have to consider the example of great poetry. Poetic forms and techniques, when used with rigor, require vast amounts of effort. The reward, however, is the enduring  beauty of powerfully written lines. To me, the more effective Law stories are those that need not sink to the level of the disgusting to provide a different perspective.

Here is a perfect example: a Law story that reveals depravity, but goes deeper to explore the lies we tell ourselves to deal with our depravity.

Whiskey, won’t you come and take my troubles
‘Cause I can’t seem to do it on my own.
In the morning there is hours and infinity
The starlit evening’s come to take me home.

I ain’t got a dime in my pocket
And I just stepped on my last cigarette
But there’s a bar downtown that’ll give me credit
A home away from home, away I went.

Tomorrow there’s a train to Carolina
Tomorrow that’s where I’m gonna go
Feel the warm sunshine on my shoulders
And live my days a free and easy soul.

My home is with the hills and trees around me
My ceiling holds the moon and stars above
So I’ll never be a lonely man a’walking
I’ll never live one day without love.

So whiskey, won’t you come and take my troubles
‘Cause I can’t seem to do it on my own.
In the morning there is hours and infinity
The starlit evening’s come to take me home
The starlit evening’s come to take me home.

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2014 by in Elitism, Music, Subliminal Messages, What a curmudgeon hears, Whisky and tagged , , , .

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