Spotify playlist

Here is the Spotify playlist for the next 4 classes, in which we’ll be dealing with “The Ambient Century”:


“Clara (Benito’s Dream)” by Scott Walker (lyrics)

From The Drift (2006)

On 28 April 1945 Benito Mussolini was taken for execution by members of the commitee of National Liberation for Nothern Italy. Claretta Petacci insisted on dying with him. They were shot, the bodies piled into a truck and taken to the Piazalle Loreto in Milan to be strung up by the heels side by side, their heads about six feet from the ground. They were mocked, vilified and riddled with bullets by the crowd that had gathered.



This is not a cornhusk doll
Dipped in blood in the moonlight
Like what happen in America

This is us
Our eyesides snagged
Dipped in mob in the daylight
Like what happen in America

The breasts are still heavy
The legs long and straight
The upper lip remains short
The teeth are too small
The eyeside is green
The hair long and black
Still coming through
Still coming through

She knows this room
She can navigate it in the dark
She entered the Palazzo at night by a side door
To ascend to a lift in the upper floor
She lies on the bed
Looking up not yet seeing
The signs of the zodiac painted in gold
On the blue vaulted ceiling
His enormous eyes as he arrives
Coming nearer in the surrounding darkness
His strange beliefs about the moon
Its influence upon men of affairs
The danger of its cold light on your face
While you were sleeping
She’ll eclipse it with her head
Stroke him ‘til he sleeps
Until he has nothing to do among men of affairs

Sometime before dawn
Her bare feet cross the floor
She gazes from the window
At the fountain in the courtyard

“Sometimes I feel like a swallow
A swallow which by some mistake
Has gotten into an attic
And knocks its head against the walls in terror”

This is not a rabbit skinned
With a body of silver
Like what happen in America

This is not a terrapin
With its shell torn away
Like what happen in America

The breasts are still heavy
The legs long and straight
The upper lip remains short
The teeth are too small
The eyeside is green
The hair long and black
Still coming through
Still coming through
The mood soon changed
In the clear morning air
A man came up towards the body
And poked it with a stick
It rocked swiftly 
And twisted around at the end of the rope

Finer than a hair from every side
Finer than a hair



This is just a cornhusk doll
Dipped in blood in the moonlight
This is just a cornhusk doll

This morning in my room
A little swallow was trapped
It flew around desperately
Until it fell exhausted on my bed
I picked it up
So as not to frighten it
I opened the window
Then I opened my hand

Life During Wartime by Talking Heads (lyrics)

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons,
packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway,
a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance,
I’m getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstore, lived in the ghetto,
I’ve lived all over this town

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
this ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain’t got time for that now

Transmit the message, to the receiver,
hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas,
you don’t even know my real name
High on a hillside, the trucks are loading,
everything’s ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nightime,
I might not ever get home

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
this ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no mudd club, or C. B. G. B.,
I ain’t got time for that now
Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
to last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no
headphones, ain’t got no records to play

Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can’t write a letter, can’t send a postcard,
I can’t write nothing at all
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
this ain’t no fooling around
I’d like to kiss you, I’d love you hold you
I ain’t got no time for that now

Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock,
we blended with the crowd
We got computer, we’re tapping pohne lines,
I know that ain’t allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives,
or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle, so many times now,
I don’t know what I look like!
You make me shiver, I feel so tender,
we make a pretty good team
Don’t get exhausted, I’ll do some driving,
you ought to get some sleep
Get you instructions, follow directions,
then you should change your address
Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day,
whatever you think is best
Burned all my notebooks, what good are
notebooks? They won’t help me survive
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace,
the burning keeps me alive
Try to stay healthy, physical fitness,
don’t want to catch no disease
Try to be careful, don’t take no chances,
you better watch what you say

One more by Mary Oliver

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life that you could save.

Some poems by Mary Oliver

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?


At Blackwater
are not even a dime a dozen–
they are free,

and each floats and turns
among the branches of the oaks
and the swamp azaleas
looking for another

as, who doesn’t?
Oh, blessings
on the intimacy
inside fruition,

be it foxes
or the fireflies
or the dampness inside the petals
of a thousand flowers.

Though Eden is lost
its loveliness
remains in the heart
and the imagination;

he would take her
in a boat
over the dark water;
she would take him

to an island she knows
where the blue flag grows wild
and the grass is deep,
where the birds

perch together,
feather to feather,
on the bough.
And the fireflies,

blinking their little lights,
hurry toward one another.
And the world continues,
God willing.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke

This is an English translation of the poem by Rainer Maria Rilke quoted by Hannah Arendt on her chapter “The Concept of History: Ancient and Modern.”

Odd, the words: ‘while away the time’.
How to hold it fast the harder thing.
Who is not fearful: where is there a staying,
where in all this is there any being?

Look, as the day slows towards the space
that draws it into dusk: rising became
upstanding, standing a laying down, and then
that which accepts its lying blurs to darkness.

Mountains rest, outgloried by the stars –
but even there, time’s transition glimmers.
Ah, nightly refuged in my wild heart,
roofless, the imperishable lingers.

“Galileo” by Bertolt Brecht (1939)

This is scene 7 from Bertolt Brecht’s play.


Galileo, feeling grim,
A young monk came to visit him.
The monk was born of common folk.
It was of science that they spoke.

Garden of the Florentine Ambassador in Rome. Distant
hum of a great city. GALILEO and the LITTLE MONK of
Scene 5 are talking.
GALI L E O : Let’s bear it. That robe you’re wearing gives
you the right to say whatever you want to say. Let’s
bear it.
LITTLE MONK : I have studied physics, Mr. Galilei.
GALILEO : That might help us if it enabled you to admit
that two and two are four.
LITTLE MONK : Mr. Galilei, I have spent four sleepless
nights trying to reconcile the decree that I have read
with the moons of Jupiter that I have seen. This
morning I decided to come to see you after I had
said mass.
GALIL EO : To tell me that Jupiter has no moons?
LITTLE MONK : No, I found out that I think the decree a
wise decree. It has shocked me into realizing that free
research has its dangers. I have had to decide to give
up astronomy. However, I felt the impulse to confide
in you some of the motives which have impelled even
a passionate physicist to abandon his work.
GALILEO : Your motives are familiar to me.
LITTLE MON K : You mean, of course, the special powers
invested in certain comm issions of the Holy Office?
But there is something else. I would like to talk to
you about my family. I do not come from the great
city. My parents are peasants in the Campagna, who
know about the cultivation of the olive tree, and not
much about anything else. Too often these days when I
am trying to concentrate on tracking down the moons
of Jupiter, I see my parents. I see them sitting by the
fire with my sister, eating their curded cheese . I see
the beams of the ceiling above them, which the smoke
of centuries has blackened , and I can see the veins
stand out on their toil-worn hands, and the little
spoons in their hands. They scrape a living, and
underlying their poverty there is a sort of order. There
are routines. The routine of scrubbing the floors, the
routine of the seasons in the olive orchard, the routine
of paying taxes . The troubles that come to them are
recurrent troubles. My father did not get his poor
bent back all at once, but little by little, year by year,
in the olive orchard ; just as year after year, with unfailing
regularity, childbirth has made my mother more
and more sexless. They draw the strength they need
to sweat with their loaded baskets up the stony paths,
to bear children, even to eat, from the sight of the
trees greening each year anew, from the reproachful
face of the soil, which is never satisfied, and from the
little church and Bible texts they hear there on Sunday.
They have been told that God relies upon them
and that the pageant of the world has been written
around them that they may be tested in the important
or unimportant parts handed out to them . How
could they take it, were I to tell them that they are
on a lump of stone ceaselessly spinning in empty
space, circling around a second-rate star? What, then,
would be the use of their patience, their acceptance
of misery? What comfort, then, the Holy Scriptures, which have mercifully explained their crucifixion?
The Holy Scriptures would then be proved full of
mistakes . No, I see them begin to look frightened. I
see them slowly put their spoons down on the table.
They would feel cheated. “There is no eye watching
over us, after all,” they would say. “We have to
start out on our own, at our time of life. Nobody has
planned a part for us beyond this wretched one on
a worthless star. There is no meaning in our misery.
Hunger is just not having eaten. It is no test of
strength. Effort is just stooping and carrying. It is
not a virtue .” Can you understand that I read into
the decree of the Holy Office a noble, motherly pity
and a great goodness of the soul?
GALILEO ( embarrassed) : Hm, well at least you have found
out that it is not a question of the satellites of Jupiter,
but of the peasants of the Campagna! And don’t try
to break me down by the halo of beauty that radiates
from old age . How does a pearl develop in an oyster?
A jagged grain of sand makes its way into the oyster’s
shell and makes its life unbearable . The oyster exudes
slime to cover the grain of sand and the slime
eventually hardens into a pearl. The oyster nearly
dies in the process. To hell with the pearl, give me
the healthy oyster ! And virtues are not exclusive to
misery. If your parents were prosperous and happy,
they might develop the virtues of happiness and prosperity.
Today the virtues of exhaustion are caused by
the exhausted land. For that, my new water pumps
could work more wonders than their ridiculous superhuman
efforts . Be fruitful and multiply : for war will
cut down the population, and our fields are barren!
(A pause. ) Shall I lie to your people?
LITTLE MONK : We must be silent from the highest of
motives : the inward peace of less fortunate souls.
GALI L E O : My dear man, as a bonus for not meddling with your parents’ peace, the authorities are tendering me,
on a silver platter, persecution-free, my share of the
fat sweated from your parents, who, as you know,
were made in God’s image . Should I condone this
decree, my motives might not be disinterested : easy
life, no persecution and so on.
LITT L E MON K : Mr. Galilei, I am a priest.
GAL I L E O : You are also a physicist. How can new machinery
be evolved to domesticate the river water if we
physicists are forbidden to study, discuss, and pool
our findings about the greatest m ach inery of all, the
machinery of the heavenly bodies? Can I reconcile
my findings on the paths of falling bodies with the
current belief in the tracks of witches on broomsticks?
( A pause. ) I am sorry-I shouldn’t have said that.
LITTLE MON K : You don’t think that the truth, if it is the
truth, would make its way without us?
GA LI L E O : No! No ! No ! As much of the truth gets through
as we push through . You talk about the Campagna
peasants as if they were the moss on their huts.
Naturally, if they don’t get a move on and learn to
think for themselves , the most efficient of irrigation
systems cannot help them . I can see their divine
patience, but where is their divine fury?
LITTLE MONK ( helpless ) : They are old !
GA L I L E O stands for a moment, beaten; he cannot
meet the Little Monk’s eyes . He takes a manuscript
from the table and throws it violently on the ground.
LITT L E MONK : What is that?
GA L I L E O : Here is writ what draws the ocean when it ebbs
and flows . Let it lie there. Thou shalt not read.
( The LITTLE MONK has picked up the manuscript. )
Already ! An apple of the tree o f knowledge, he can’t
wait, he wolfs it down . He will rot in hell for all
eternity. Look at him, where are his manners? Sometimes I think I would let them imprison me in a place
a thousand feet beneath the earth, where no light
could reach me, if in exchange I could find out what
stuff that is : “Light.” The bad thing is that, when I
find something, I have to boast about it like a lover
or a drunkard or a traitor. That is a hopeless vice and
leads to the abyss. I wonder how long I shall be
content to discuss it with my dog !
LITTLE MONK (immersed in the manuscript ) : I don’t understand
this sentence .
GALILEO : I’ll explain it to you, I’ll explain it to you.

They are sitting on the floor.

The full PDF can be found here: