The Weight of All That Greed

With her impossibly gentle hands
And her blood-red fingernails


Joni Mitchell
Shades of Scarlett Conquering

Out of the fire like Catholic saints
Comes Scarlett and her deep complaint
Mimicking tenderness she sees
In sentimental movies
A celluloid rider comes to town
Cinematic lovers sway
Plantations and sweeping ballroom gowns
Take her breath away

Out in the wind in crinolines
Chasing the ghosts of Gable and Flynn
Through stand-in boys and extra players
Magnolias hopeful in her auburn hair
She comes from a school of Southern charm
She likes to have things her way
Any man in the world holding out his arm
Would soon be made to pay

Friends have told her “not so proud”
Neighbors trying to sleep and yelling “not so loud”
Lovers in anger “block of ice”
Harder and harder just to be nice

Given in the night to dark dreams
From the dark things she feels
She covers her eyes in the x-rated scenes
Running from the reels

Beauty and madness to be praised
’cause it is not easy to be brave
To walk around in so much need
To carry the weight of all that greed
Dressed in stolen clothes she stands
Cast iron and frail
With her impossibly gentle hands
And her blood-red fingernails

Out of the fire and still smoldering
She says “a woman must have everything”
Shades of Scarlett conquering
She says “a woman must have everything.”

"Carry the weight of all that greed" - Machiko Terauchi - Child Abductor

“Carry the weight of all that greed” – Machiko Terauchi – Child Abductor

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Joni’s song does not say that it is greedy to be strong, or that Scarlett is particularly guilty of something and now it’s the men’s turn…  She is responsible for what harm she does,  and has done;  but what I think is  moving  is that it uncracks the shell of all that anger and “will to power” we see in her, and  explores why it is there in the first place.. What causes her to become ungenerous, so dictatorial, demanding, and possessive of her object?  What is the weight of hurt she is carrying, such that lovers who dare to come near “will soon be made to pay” for a crime – for investing some hopes in reciprocity with her?  Traditionalist moive themes inspire images of love and perfect romance that were never truly believed, but that provide a spectacle that feeds desire and resentment anyway. Intimacy becomes foreclosed once facing resentment and fear is barred. In Joni’s song, the character’s  demands produce conventional shock: (“not so proud!” “block of ice!”).  In the end she is left to be swallowed by antagonisms. She is “brave”, which is difficult to be; but her inability to see that the damage she suffers is shared and produced with others, produces an appearance of greed and resentment.
“A woman must have everything” … if she thinks that she uniquely deserves it; she is entitled to it; she can demand it for herself. She can never crave it enough, or drown it.

Bp            08/03/2013

About Brian Prager

I am the father of a beloved son who has been retained in Japan by his Japanese mother against my will. My boy has been kept out of contact with me since June, 2010. I am struggling to save him and get justice for us.
This entry was posted in Brian Prager, 誘拐犯, Hague Convention, Japan Child Abduction, Japanese Child Abduction, Machiko Terauchi, Parental abduction, Parental Alienation, Rui Prager, Rui Terauchi, 寺内るい, 寺内真智子 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Weight of All That Greed

  1. Jeff Ragsdale says:

    It had been years since I heard this song but it’s regained its currency in a new and painful context.


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