At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Robert Christgau Words of the Day

in·e·luc·ta·ble adj. Not to be avoided or escaped; inevitable.

dudg·eon n. A sullen, angry, or indignant humor.

shib·bo·leth n. 1. A word or pronunciation that distinguishes people of one group or class from those of another. a. A word or phrase identified with a particular group or cause; a catchword. b. A commonplace saying or idea. 2. A custom or practice that betrays one as an outsider. (

Bruce Cockburn Big Circumstance [Gold Castle, 1989]

Where other singers have soul, Cockburn has dudgeon, fiercer and bitterer with every record. Delivering lines like "don't breathe when the cars go by" and "may their gene pool increase" as if his life depended on them, which before he's dead it could, he reveals rules about the ineluctable bad faith of the political for the know-nothing shibboleths they are. Too bad he still cultivates his "personal" side. I await a best-of filled with protest and nothing but. B (


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