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Discovery!

Every so often, I come upon something that’s just jaw-droppingly good. Sometimes these discoveries make me feel like an asshole.

In my late-twenties, I moved to Queens. Although the missus doesn’t believe me (mostly because she saw the state of it when we were first together), I would occasionally clean my apartment. To get the motivation to do so, I’d have to put on some music. One of those times, I popped in The Beatles’ album Abbey Road.

I must have heard most of those songs at different points of my life, but the album itself was new to me. About a third of the way through, I had to stop the cleaning and just listen. My god, it was absolutely knocking me on my ass, it was so outstanding. I sat on the edge of my futon sofa and listened to the rest of the album, in awe of its glory.

I’d discovered The Beatles. The wonder was followed immediately by the sense that I was fucking idiot. “Do people know about these guys??” Of course they do, asshole. They’re the fucking Beatles.

Well, it happened again. As I’m sure you all know, this past week was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Democracy Now!, in its infinite wisdom, used the occasion to do a little “in his own words” segment. Amy Goodman didn’t play the  “I Have a Dream” speech, but rather played two others: “Beyond Vietnam” and “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”

Although I knew about MLK’s anti-Vietnam war stance, I’d never heard the speech he gave at Riverside Church in NYC to declare his opposition to it. His delivery is sober and restrained, and the content is outstanding and riveting.

I’d also not heard as much of the “Mountaintop” speech as Amy played. He gave this one in Memphis, the night before his assassination. And he really fucking brings it. His “if I had sneezed” riff is something very few speakers can pull off.

As I sat on the subway listening to these two speeches, there were a couple of times that I had to fight back some tears. It’s always embarrassing to cry on the New York City subway. But again, I was just stunned. Do people know about this guy?

Of course they do, asshole. He’s Martin Luther King, Jr.

And if you haven’t heard those speeches, I implore you to click on the link above, sit back, and get ready to have your socks knocked clean off. You’re welcome.

One comment on “Discovery!

  1. Deanna on said:

    Obviously she is not in the same league as Martin Luther King but I am going through that with Joni Mitchell right now. LT is ready to kill me, “can you stop playing that over and over, I discovered her when I was twelve.” She just walked by and saw me type Joni and said “you really love Joni Mitchell now huh honey.” Yes! And it’s totally like why didn’t anyone TELL ME about this.

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