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Old 11-19-2022, 09:51 AM
 
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I am starting this thread, because of the many times comments in a thread will tend to veer from the topic of the thread but still be interesting to consider and discuss. What to do when that happens without going off-topic and maybe even forcing the thread to be shut down? Perhaps this thread is the answer. Do please bring your off-topic comments here if you care to discuss them further. Here where the topic is of no matter. I am curious to see if this thread will last and for how long.

After you...
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Old 11-19-2022, 01:12 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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As you have requested, I will pick up where we left off with Donald Fagen’s Jewish identity, which I do think is strong in an ethnocultural sense.

This is something you pick up in bits and pieces, as he’ll tend to drop an anecdote here, a joke there, a one-liner someplace else, during his interviews (during which he will sometimes correct the widespread and understandable misconception that Walter Becker also had a Jewish background).

Here’s one excerpt from a 2013 article not terribly long after the release of Sunken Condos—a not-too-shabby album I remember listening to a lot in law school, around the time of its debut:

Quote:
Fagen rarely covers other people’s songs: the only other two are Lieber & Stoller’s Ruby Baby on The Nightfly and then, curiously, Isaac Hayes’s Out of the Ghetto on his most recent solo album Sunken Condos.

What informed that choice? “I was doing some research for the 2012 tour and came across that old tune. I thought it might be interesting by adding some Jewish elements to the tune, I could reclaim the word ghetto.”

I only realised later on that Donald was probably winding me up, something he and Walter love to do with journalists. Still it had me wondering how much his Jewishness influences his music?

“Indirect. I think for the most part, a kind of overactive self-awareness is the most obvious thing about it.”

He then tells me that Walter is not Jewish (I had always assumed he was, especially with the surname Becker). “His ancestors are Bavarian. He grew up in Westchester, Forest Hills and many of his friends were Jewish and so I think he thinks of himself as an honorary Jew.”
A kind of overactive self-awareness. That’s something I think can only come from some sort of strong feeling—be it pride or self-loathing—and I have seen nothing to suggest that Fagen is the self-loathing sort when it comes to his Jewish heritage (no doubt he can be angsty when it comes to some other personal subjects).

You can see more examples in this 2012 Tablet Mag article (same periodical, different author, vis-a-vis the first one I posted). There’s a funny story about a fastball-throwing rabbi (from a synagogue that his parents helped found in Central Jersey) in this 2021 Rolling Stone piece.

Might there be some confirmation bias on my part? Sure, to the extent that I, as a proud ethnocultural Jew, love Steely Dan’s music and feel a somewhat loose (but certainly palpable) sense of kindred spirit with Fagen. Maybe you’re resistant to the idea of Donald Fagen fitting that description for parallel reasons on your end—and that doesn’t make you or I any better or worse than one another, just different in that particular regard. There’s a personal essay Donald Fagen wrote about growing up Jewish after his parents moved to the new suburban outpost of Kendall Park, but I’m having trouble finding it. It may have been posted to a now-defunct blog.

Bob Dylan, I don’t particularly care for, and I find his dabbling in Evangelical Christianity is an especially eye roll-inducing cliche. I recognize and respect his musical genius and importance, but while I don’t hate his music I don’t especially love it either. He also doesn’t seem like a particularly good person, and he exhibits that in an off-putting (as opposed to a perversely alluring) way (like John Lennon, who was definitely a far worse human being, but whose music I appreciate more on a personal level).

I saw Dylan in concert ten years back and was not terribly impressed. He really seemed to phone in his performance and try to coast on the fact that Bob Dylan must be great because he’s Bob Dylan. On the other hand, I felt that the late Leon Russell, who was Dylan’s opening act that tour, put on an excellent show. Of course, there’s nothing the least bit Jewish about dear Leon—not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Last edited by ElijahAstin; 11-19-2022 at 02:23 PM..
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Old 11-19-2022, 02:15 PM
 
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When I first started to paint cars, that Steely Dan song "Do It Again" came on the radio as I was sitting there with butterflies in my stomach getting ready to get started. And that song came on the radio at least a dozen times in a row in the same scenario, which is quite a coincidence. And all the painting times were random from morning, midday and late at night and then throughout the years it would come on every now and then, in that moment. It actually played on the radio when I did my last paint job which was very high stress.

I have no idea what the lyrics are about. It has very well put together instruments in it. I don't know what to make of a coincidence happening so many times. After a while it just made me feel like everything was going to be all right. In those moments there is a lot on the table, and it all comes down to this.

Last edited by chief scum; 11-19-2022 at 02:24 PM..
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Old 11-19-2022, 02:29 PM
 
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I like stories with coincidence.

One night when I was a child, I asked God if my grandfather would go to hell because he didn't go to church and was angry at God. I asked for a sign. The very next day the local Catholic church set up a tent in the empty lot adjoining ours. Of course, the dutiful relatives sat up front row while I sat in the back with my grandfather so he wouldn't be alone. He decided he would make peace with God this time.

They picked me out to bring the bread and wine down to the makeshift altar. I was an altar server for many years prior so it was an easy decision to make. I picked my grandfather to carry the bread while I carried the wine and I accepted this as a sign from God.

There was no explanation to me why they set up that mass and it never happened again.
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Old 11-19-2022, 03:20 PM
 
1,440 posts, read 464,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elyn02 View Post
I like stories with coincidence.

One night when I was a child, I asked God if my grandfather would go to hell because he didn't go to church and was angry at God. I asked for a sign. The very next day the local Catholic church set up a tent in the empty lot adjoining ours. Of course, the dutiful relatives sat up front row while I sat in the back with my grandfather so he wouldn't be alone. He decided he would make peace with God this time.

They picked me out to bring the bread and wine down to the makeshift altar. I was an altar server for many years prior so it was an easy decision to make. I picked my grandfather to carry the bread while I carried the wine and I accepted this as a sign from God.

There was no explanation to me why they set up that mass and it never happened again.
If you like stories with coincidence, there is a movie called "Serendipity".

I know many people here want repeatable facts, proof and evidence. And yet sometimes the unexplainable happens.
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Old 11-19-2022, 03:22 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief scum View Post
If you like stories with coincidence, there is a movie called "Serendipity".

I know many people here want facts, proof and evidence. And yet sometimes the unexplainable happens.
Coincidences can be fun and don’t have to mean anything. If they do mean something, they’re probably not coincidences.

I was just telling my wife today about how the coldest temperature ever recorded in a certain major city is an exact round number of years before my birthday, and I happen to be a weather buff.

I closed the anecdote with “Coincidence? Absolutely.”
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Old 11-19-2022, 03:23 PM
 
7,569 posts, read 4,114,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chief scum View Post
If you like stories with coincidence, there is a movie called "Serendipity".

I know many people here want repeatable facts, proof and evidence. And yet sometimes the unexplainable happens.
I have seen Serendipity. Yes, people can be like that but I still enjoy those stories.
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Old 11-19-2022, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Elsewhere
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Can anything be reported as off-topic in this thread?
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Old 11-19-2022, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Elsewhere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elyn02 View Post
I have seen Serendipity. Yes, people can be like that but I still enjoy those stories.
I saw it this past year. What stuck out to me is that the movie was made in 2001 and takes place in NYC, and yet there is not one shot of the WTC.

If you remember, the TV and movie industry made an effort at that time to cut out any scenes of the towers out of sensitivity to the 9/11 community. As a part of that community, I wish they would put them back in now.
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Old 11-19-2022, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
50,196 posts, read 23,831,260 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Can anything be reported as off-topic in this thread?
We are still in the religion and spirituality sub-forum.
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