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Pure Babylon say I

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My colleague and friend Breea Willingham e-mailed me from Poland today, the latest but not last stop on her world tour of presenting papers and taking part in panel discussion at international conferences. She wrote:

There was A LOT of Bob Marley paraphernalia in Poland, especially in Krakow. His music, t-shirts with his image, earrings -- everywhere there was Marley. Even bongs and pictures of weed on souvenirs ... Ha!!

Did he have a connection to Poland or is/was he just an international star?


I replied, "Marley was an international superstar, and I don't use that word lightly. If he had a connection with Poland, I'm unaware of it.

"I think, though, that much of his enduring worldwide popularity is because of the Rasta connection with ganja. The Rastafari used the herb in religious connotations; they believed it brought them closer to Jah (God) and enhanced their abilities to meditate.

"I don't think many people who wear Marley T-shirts and get high understand the huge and terrible irony of their situation. Their commodification of Marley, coupled with their getting high purely for sensual pleasures, are behaviors that Marley would say are typical of Bablylon: westernized societies where men and women sin and suffer for it, societies where men and women have lost the intimate connection with Jah and with all things natural (referred to by the Rastas as "ital," with a long "I" and an "ol" sound at the end like in "politics.")

" 'Oh what a rat race,' Marley sang. 'This is the rat race.' Babylon is exactly what he was singing about."

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"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

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• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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