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Carpooling with Pink Floyd

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Listening to Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound Of Thunder today, I found myself perplexed at some of the lyrics to “On The Turning Away.” Singer/guitarist David Gilmour states:

Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord

I found myself wondering, “How would they know? How would the ‘speechless’ know to ‘unite in a silent accord’?” I mean, they’re speechless, and I have to take David “speechless” statement literally meaning that they are mute, at least, if not deaf, and therefore would probably have to sign to each other to unite in that silent accord. But that’s not very poetic, is it? The vision I have in my head is a gathering of silent people who just came together. My vision of this doesn’t include sign language, I’m sure yours doesn’t either. It’s much more dramatic if they just come together.

The only thing that really made sense to me was ESP. They must have all known to unite in a silent accord by sending mind-messages to each other. I tried sending my wife the message “let’s unite in a silent accord.” She didn’t respond.

Or maybe it’s . . .

Where the speechless unite
In a silent Accord

A few “speechless” people carpool in a very, very quiet Honda Accord.

(You’ll be speechless at unproductivity.)

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About Tom Johnson

  • see…this is what happens to people who watch Average Joe.

    let this be a lesson to you ALL!


  • Tom

    Tom, you must not be up on your subaltern studies to make such an unenlightened statement about the so-called “silent.” By claiming they cannot unite because of a mere so-called “voicelessness” (which assumes a “disability”), you are de-priveliging their historical right to the construction of their own narrative, de-personing them by reducing them to their differences, and in a sense excluding them from participating in history at all. Who is MAKING them silent? You are! Who’s doing the “Turning Away?” You are! For shame!

    Go, read some Lacan, some Judith Butler, Benedict Arnold, and some Derrida and Foucault, then do the following: contemplate on cultural-interstitial relationships as relates to the construction of a shared communicatory symbol-system at the interface of colonizers and colonized; deconstruct the constructivity of the concept of “identity” as implied by scholars of Gramscian hegemony and its offshoots; interrogate the “body-ness” of the term “silent” and discover alternative discourses that reveal the fallacies underlying the dichotomy silent/not-silent in the larger world-historical sense; and unpack the compulsory consent inherent in relationships between colonial powers and the indigenous (or economically rooted) peoples being colonized.

    Then, THEN you’ll understand how the “silent” actually have very loud voices indeed, and can come to MANY an accord that does not make it into the so-called “history” books.

    Alternately, just give those silent creeps whiteboards and dry-erase markers.

    [sorry… I don’t get to toss the jargon salad much now that I’m out of school. I’ll be going now. This has been Johno, transmitting from Jupiter.]

  • oops. That last comment really was mine. I go so wrapped up in building my dense pile of bullshit that I put the wrong name on the comment.

    What a dumbass.

  • But Johno, your “mistake” of naming yourself with my name may be a subconscious attempt to prove a symbiotic relationship between those who are not “speechless” (and therefore cannot unite in a silent accord) versus those who are (and can.) What can we do? We are left with only one choice: unite in a very noisy accord.

  • Tom, in one sense you are wrong. To claim an a priori relationship, symbiotic or not, between the silent and the not-silent is to make the reductionist assumption that the relationship, whatever it is, has ossified (and is therefore identifiable as itself, in totality) rather than existing as a non-thinglike entity which is dynamically self-constructing from moment to moment (and therefore un-totally-knowable across time). I prefer to think of the relationship as ever-nascent, or if you will “evanescent,” existing in the liminal space between what is and what shall never be. Fnord.

    But in another, more actual sense, you’re absolutely right, and a very loud accord is in order! Party at Tom’s house! I’ll bring the keg! W00t! Um, how far’s the drive from Boston?

    By the way, my favorite review of “Delicate Sound of Thunder” wes a one-liner that I don’t necessarily agree with but is classic nonetheless:

    “Further proof that one cannot listen to a light show”

  • Johno, you have run me out of superlatives and over-adjecticism. Maybe on a Tuesday I could keep up, but it’s Friday, and I’m still feeling somewhat numbed after an hour’s drive with Delicate Sound Of Thunder as soundtrack . . .

    “Further proof that one cannot listen to a light show”

    That’s perfect. It’s an almost totally anti-sceptic live album, but I pull it out occasionaly to hear the Momentary Lapse material live. I think that’s about once a year now. I actually like Momentary Lapse as an album by itself, but it’s pretty hard to convince myself it’s REALLY Floyd. And besides, it’s one of those albums that sounds fantastic on a good car stereo.

  • “Further proof that one cannot listen to a light show”

    proof that the reviewer never dropped acid.