29 June 2006

billy bragg - "levi stubbs' tears" (from the must i paint you a picture?: the essential billy bragg lp, available for purchase here.)

folks, i concede that there are countless motherfuckers walking around free who need nothing so much as to have the living shit kicked out of them, so as to make way for that final, dying shit. it might be selfish of me, but tonight i can only think about one of them. there are words for what he did, but i don't have them, and you wouldn't want to hear them. oh, i could say it was lowdown, vicious and flat-out mean but that doesn't fully signify.

at a loss for words, then, this evening i post "levi stubbs' tears" by billy bragg, which is just about the saddest song i've ever heard.

as much as i hate to admit it, i know that there are some things your favorite song can't help you w/. holland-dozier-holland can make a heart sing, but they can't put a heart back together again, not after the world does its worst. listening to "levi stubbs' tears" did however help me remember one important thing that i shouldn't have forgotten in the first place : you don't blame the victim. you never ever fucking blame the victim. (do i sound like i have regrets?) told in third person, "tears" foregrounds the victim, making the fact that these things happened to her inescapable. her boyfriend "put a hole in her body where no hole should be," but "it hurt her more to see him walking out the door," and he's just as guilty of that second pain as is he of the first. by begging him to come back, she may seem to all the world to be asking for what he's doing to her--but one confuses this w/ her deserving what's happened to her at the risk of losing a friend.

so there are things your favorite song can't help you w/. the trick is to not let things get to that point. and that's the risk to you, that you won't be allowed to help when you're needed--that's the risk you run when you risk losing a friend.


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