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Lunch Break

October 17, 2009

I showed this music video to David Horowitz the other day when we were having a discussion about film and art. I wanted to make the point that even the best of music videos could be art. After watching the video he agreed.

Lunch Break is NewsReal’s daily apolitical post. (We all need a break from this political stuff every now and then!) If you would like to submit a video (humorous/music/film trailer/intriguing/etc.), image, or poem for this feature then please email it to DavidSwindle {@} (Sunday Lunch Breaks are often of a spiritual nature.) Please include:

1. A link to where it’s from.

2. Any Comments you would like published with your submission

3. A link to your blog or homepage if you have one.

4. How you’d like your name published.

Also please keep it no more than PG-13 rated.

  1. P-Diddle permalink
    October 17, 2009 11:41 am

    This is one of my favorite artists of all time. Johnny Cash is no doubt a national treasure. This video is beyond powerful and inspired me back when it first came out. Trent Reznor of NIN, who originally wrote the song, said that it’s no longer his. The song belongs to Johnny Cash. You know it’s powerful when one artist says that of another.

  2. Cas Balicki permalink
    October 17, 2009 12:08 pm

    The great Johnny Cash and this ineffably poignant reflection on life need no additional comment.

    The broader question raised more by your comments David than by this video strike at the heart of the question, what is art. When you compare this video to other music videos, the clear difference is that this particular video has something to say to everyone watching it. And that something demonstrates both the great gift and the great waste that a human life can prove itself to be over its own span. This video is also redolent with struggle, for it shows as a battle to form a good honest life, one filled with regret for only its passing.

    All great art moves viewers to reflect on self, life, or the world, in not so many words: All great art survives its viewing either as a haunting image or thought that we come back to in moments of anguish or joy. Examples of such art range from the splendour of the Sistine Chapel to Anne Frank’s Diary or one of my personal favourites Brothers Karamazov. Great art helps us survive our harsh, material world as loving and caring beings. Less ambitious forms of art serve to decorate or entertain and there is talent reflected in this too, but its impact is ephemeral, fleeting, and momentary. This second category of art is diminished only by its inability to survive its viewing. It is here that I must apologize for taking this roundabout route to my definition of art, both great and otherwise. What is important in my view is not so much what we see as art, but what the art we see stirs within us.

  3. Anthony Damato permalink
    October 17, 2009 12:09 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve never heard this song, but I was very moved by the lyrics.

    More than that, Johnny Cash in this was at the height of his art, his voice conveyed the many years of pain and suffering he endured in his personal life.

    His movements and facial expressions were sad, and weary, the fragile , elderly Johnny Cash contrasted with the archival footage of him from his younger days, even in his youth, Johnny Cash always seemed to carry the weight of something heavy on his shoulders.

    The imagery in the video was remarkable. I liked the locomotive scene, there was something about that, that was Cash. His wife was in the video (I think), she was watching him with the love and appreciation of so long a life together. Another scene of her when she was young, with long flowing hair and their baby emphasised how quickly time goes by.

    I thought the scene where the lights in the restaurant were turned on was special, the rhythm of the lights and the texture of the room and all its implements seem to invoke a deep sense of solitude – another Cash theme.

    Finally, Johnny Cash was not ashamed to be a Christian, the scenes of Jesus Christ were hard to watch for me, but I think they were striking because Johnny Cash seemed to be comming to terms with his own mortality and faith in the good Creator in this video.

    Thank you,

    • October 17, 2009 1:03 pm

      You’re welcome Anthony. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m of the opinion that it’s the single greatest, most artistic, most emotionally-moving music video ever made.

      • Julie Trevor permalink
        October 17, 2009 5:34 pm


  4. John Bookie permalink
    October 17, 2009 12:20 pm

    It’s funny, Cash was a political progressive. He wrote songs about the poor and downtrodden. He also campaigned for Al Gore. Since most creative people, with a few exceptions, are left wing, I think you guys should just stick with Toby Keith. Conservative ideas don’t jive with creative thought. That’s why conservatives attack everyone from the Met Opera to Sean Penn. Your reactionary and regressive ideas are hopelessly antiquated. If your standards for what’s appropriate and correct for music, film, and books were ever applied it would be a very boring world.

    • theblanque permalink
      October 17, 2009 1:18 pm


      And the Left calls conservatives derivative…

      Tell us, John–if, as you say, our standards “for what’s appropriate and correct for music, film, and books ” are so “reactionary and regressive ” and “hopelessly antiquated”, what then our admiration of Johnny Cash? Is he also “hopelessly antiquated”?

  5. John Bookie permalink
    October 17, 2009 1:47 pm

    You should ask the question of yourself – Why would you enjoy the music an artist who would resist the university witch hunt that David Horowitz leads with every bone in his body? The poor who Cash advocated for shouldn’t get any government help, health care according to your hardliners. The imprisoned who Cash famously sang for should probably stay in jail for longer stretches wearing pink underwear, living in tents, and eating food that cost the government less than what it costs most people to feed their pets. When they get out shouldn’t get any kind of assistance and probably just slink off somewhere and die with the rest of the underclass. Why would like an artist who advocated for the poor and imprisoned? Those are pinko, commie ideas aren’t they?

    • October 17, 2009 1:56 pm

      It appears you have only engaged with the conservative caricature, not conservatism itself.

    • October 17, 2009 1:58 pm

      Further, I find it somewhat discouraging that on Lunch Break — what’s supposed to be NewsReal’s break from politics — you have to bring politics into the discussion. The three comments prior to yours were in this spirit.

      Why do you need to politicize Cash? Why can’t we just enjoy his music and enjoy Mark Romanek’s video together?

      • swemson permalink
        October 17, 2009 9:00 pm


        When minds get this warped, it’s a total waste of effort to try to reason with them…..

        This is what that little button on your control panel that says “TRAP DOOR” is for…

        Push the damn thing already !

  6. John Bookie permalink
    October 17, 2009 2:27 pm

    Why do you need to politicize our education system? Seriously, the right love to have it both ways. Condemn artists, actors, musicians, filmmakers as naive liberals whose ideas hurt America – then turn around try critique their art in some kind context-less vacuum fifty year later. Take for example the right’s attacks on the NEA. Robert Mapplethorpe is one of the great artists of our time but according to the right, the government shouldn’t have funded an exhibit that contained some “offensive” (read gay) photographs – Just part of a long history of attacking artists. What’s the right’s idea of the art. It’s simply, “I know filth when I see it.” You people wouldn’t know great art if it came up and slapped you across the face. We would all be going to galleries to look at landscape painting with “pro-America” content if you had your way. Take the right’s efforts to silence Lenny Bruce. The endless attempts to censor anything and everything. The vitriolic bashing of Hollywood. The attacks on The Dixie Chicks around the beginning of the Iraq war. These are just some of few examples – The ones off the top of my head. Just stick with Leroy Neiman, Lee Greenwood, and “patriotic” music. Art that is right, proper and easy to understand.

    • October 17, 2009 2:44 pm

      You’re accusing the Right of politicizing education? Is that some sort of silly joke?

      The Left has a stranglehold on higher education and has usurped the modern research institution to promote its causes.

  7. bob permalink
    October 17, 2009 2:44 pm

    The song has been called Cash’s eulogy. It’s an astonishingly powerful track, and it transcends politics.

    • "gunner" permalink
      October 18, 2009 11:15 am

      good comment bob, i’m at that stage of my life, looking back at what i’ve done, both good and bad, and the approaching end, but without cash’s ability to put it into poetry.

  8. John Bookie permalink
    October 17, 2009 2:59 pm

    David – Don’t you know Science, Literature, Art, and History all have a known left-wing bias – The radicals at our universities teaching things like atonality and evolution! We must stop them before they indoctrinate our children. Release David Horowitz’s squad of flying monkeys to harass these communist professors wherever they may be!

    • October 17, 2009 3:26 pm

      I think you’re at the wrong conservative site…. I mean what do you think David Horowitz and my views are? We’re both agnostic, pro-evolution, pro-gay rights, anti-censorship…. You’re just embarrassing yourself with this kind of ignorant talk. Don’t paint all conservatives with the same brush.

      • P-Diddle permalink
        October 17, 2009 4:15 pm

        That’s what they do, David. They don’t try to understand what they don’t like or agree with. They simply ridicule other view points and paint them as unintellectual. Shame really that a good majority of these far left kooks don’t really ascribe to their mantra of diversity. Hypocritical and they don’t seem to care.

        But you already knew that.

  9. John Bookie permalink
    October 17, 2009 4:26 pm

    Well – that’s nice but you’re out of the mainstream of your party and have aligned yourself with some pretty reactionary folks. You’re so pro-gay, pro-evolution that you voted for GBW and his ilk – folks who were behind cynical things like DOMA and pushing Intelligent design. What’s David Horowitz beef then? If he’s so anti-censorship why does he run around getting kids to gang up on professors and trying to shout people down. If you and he were so open minded you might choose another path rather than attacking academics. Nice try.

    • October 17, 2009 4:33 pm

      WE’RE the ones aligned with reactionary folks? We just got your man Marc Lamont Hill fired because he was defending communist revolutionaries.

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. Horowitz has NEVER told students to shout down professors. That’s what happens to HIM when he goes to campus.

      Have you actually read any of Horowitz’s books? If not then you’re in no position to criticism him. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about when you accuse him of doing what his opponents do to him.

    • Julie Trevor permalink
      October 17, 2009 5:44 pm

      John bookie said:

      “Well – that’s nice but you’re out of the mainstream of your party and have aligned yourself with some pretty reactionary folks. You’re so pro-gay, pro-evolution that you voted for GBW and his ilk”

      Well, unlike the Leftist/neo-Communists; saving our Nation by voting for GWB in stead of Gore/Kerry was a wise thing for the David’s to do even though they and I disagreed with many of GWB’s policies including gay rights. Somehow gay rights didn’t carry the same weight as freedom for everyone (gays included).

  10. John Bookie permalink
    October 17, 2009 4:32 pm

    Oh – and BTW – Horowitz “quote of the day” is real “pro-gay.” Some pretty hateful garbage if you ask me.

    • October 17, 2009 4:37 pm

      You’re not worth my time.

      • P-Diddle permalink
        October 17, 2009 6:04 pm

        He really isn’t worth your or anyone else’s time Dave. Keep up the great work!

  11. John Bookie permalink
    October 17, 2009 4:53 pm

    Take the easy way out. Gay rights activists encouraged “unsanitary” anal sex – this is what Horowitz is saying – am I right? The more unsanitary (read: deviant) sex one had the better. Oh those radical activist types encouraging gays to have “unsanitary sex” and then eventually getting diseases like HIV. What a moronic statement. Gay Rights had nothing to do with fighting for the same rights as straights but about gettin’ it on – rebelling against the dominant social order by having anal sex. This argument is so twisted up in knots I don’t know where to start. Idiotic.

    • October 17, 2009 5:05 pm

      It’s all factually accurate. Hate to shatter your illusions.

  12. Cas Balicki permalink
    October 17, 2009 5:02 pm

    Historically professors of higher education have up held the political moment in their views. Academics, especially North American academics, only became leftist in the second half of this century, prior to that they were mostly of right-wing political bent. What we are discussing here is fashion, plain and simple fashion.

    What you are trying to do, John Bookie, is align knowledge and its acquisition along political lines so that anyone and everyone that defended established belief was a bad guy, and more specifically a conservative, while every shred of progress ever made was made by a good guy, or as you would say a liberal. This is a historical stupidity that confirms you have no practical knowledge of science or progress. This because all of mankind’s progress has been made in apolitical fields, fields such as physics, chemistry, and medicine. Furthermore, the bulk of scientific progress was made after the scientific method became established among scientists. Prior to this point all progress, such as it was, was made by politicians making political arguments as opposed to scientific arguments. Thus the earth centered universe held sway for centuries because it sounded good as an argument and not because it was true. In addition this earth centric universe was believed by all within the society of the time irrespective of political tendency. But by the silliness of your argument Copernicus and Galileo were liberals because they saw a different picture. How preposterous, how devoid of historical understanding, and how utterly revisionist your pseudo-argument is. Has it ever occurred to you that proof in a scientific sense is a very conservative notion? You must not only have a correct hypothesis, you must demonstrate that hypothesis true to all doubters in such a way that they, the doubters, can if they wish imitate your experiment and prove your hypothesis to themselves. Why you are being Bill-Maher silly is that it is the weight of doubt, scepticism if you will, that proves the science and not your imputed hindsight.

    Where problems arise is that pseudo-scientists such as sociologists and political scientists come along and try to appropriate and apply scientific methods to their particular fields of expertise. To the extent that statistical methods can be so applied this is not unreasonable, but statistics does not prove anything beyond doubt. Statistics only provides a balance of probabilities. Setting aside how any might feel about the odious O.J. Simpson, he was acquitted in criminal court where proof beyond doubt is required and defeated in civil court where evidence is considered on a balance of probabilities. If this example does not clearly set out the difference between proof and probability what can? What you are doing, John, is wrapping your prejudices, your hindsight if you will, in the shame pseudo-sciences of the humanities and holding your opinion out as right on the balance of your personally weighted probabilities. This method does not make you right nor does this attempt to pass off lunacy as argument do your readers here justice. Liberals are not responsible for all the progress of the world any more than conservatives are responsible for delaying that same progress, especially since progress as we define it is almost always technological and scientific, which is to say apolitical. As a corollary to this argument, not all progress is good, for proof I refer you to Mao’s great leap forward, or is Mao too liberal for your liking John?

  13. MaryAnn permalink
    October 18, 2009 8:27 am

    I liked LunchBreak better without the politics. Great artist, great video.

    • October 18, 2009 8:30 am

      Me too. That’s kind of the point. But then some angry leftist had to come in and politicize it…

      Maybe I’ll put into the general Lunch Break guidelines to try and stay apolitical in the comments.

  14. MaryAnn permalink
    October 18, 2009 9:20 am

    I thought you had. “Lunch Break is NewsReals daily apolitical post.” Not difficult to understand.

    • October 18, 2009 9:26 am

      Well, I didn’t explicitly say that people need to not comment in a political way. Sometimes with the real True Believers (of both Right and Left) one needs to spell things out clearly.

      That has been corrected starting with the Lunch Break I just published 20 minutes ago:

  15. October 18, 2009 10:35 am


    Great video. And quite artistic. Great art, whether done by leftist or right-ist artists, nourishes the soul, as Ayn Rand, herself a great artist-philosopher, noted.

    On a related note, I can enjoy Barbra Streisand’s singing or Diego Rivera’s murals, even though they’re both idiotic socialists. Art becomes a thing-in-itself, enjoyable in itself, even if the artist himself is anti-life. For example, I enjoy Hemingway and used to teach him in my litt. classes, even though he was an anti-life, nihilist, existentialist who thought life was absurd and not worth living. You can still dig into his stuff and discuss it and enjoy it. jd

  16. October 18, 2009 10:46 am

    Thank you-at 77 I still look ahead-the video was great-the left is slipping and its scaring them-hence the blathering -I still like “What unites us is greater than what divides us.”

  17. "gunner" permalink
    October 18, 2009 11:22 am

    mr. bookie reminds me very much of the angry, shrieking leftists who used to infest the former “museum of left wing lunacy” web site.

  18. Judy permalink
    October 18, 2009 4:10 pm

    Please do do take John to the woodshed. He is oblivious to the point of that the post is for the enjoyment, self-reflection and consideration of all regardless of political beliefs. Besides, Mr. Bookie reminds me of another shrieking, angry, confrontational, non-contributor that was recently blocked. See the similarities????

  19. Judy permalink
    October 18, 2009 4:21 pm

    John Bookie,
    Your knowledge of Johnny Cash’s political beliefs is not only in error, but, neglects to state that he was a very private man that did not openly share with the public anything other than his belief in Jesus,accountability,self-respect,honesty,loyalty to America and the power and importance of the family.He certainly was not a “political” figure and I find it humorous that you would choose to interject your political take and lack of knowledge of Cash’s beliefs into the enjoyment of this music video. The music video is what it is. Enjoy it for what it is and move on.

  20. October 18, 2009 6:44 pm

    A friend passed this to me and I was moved by it.
    This is also a music video.
    caution religious content

  21. October 18, 2009 6:45 pm

    A friend pass this on to me

  22. gatekeeper96740 permalink
    October 18, 2009 7:07 pm

    He is a clone of another troll.

    This was sent to me and I love it.
    Art and music.

    *Caution religious content

Comments are closed.