Monday, August 06, 2012

Music Monday~ 3 x Leo : Sheen, Knopfler, Obama, & Brothers In Arms

Two Sun in Leo artists, different genres, were seen and heard at the closing of the episode, Two Cathedrals, finale of the second season of acclaimed TV series The West Wing (we watched it on DVD at the weekend):

Martin Sheen (3 August 1940 at 8:03 PM, Dayton, Ohio - chart at Astrodatabank); and
Mark Knopfler (12 August 1949 at 9:50PM in Glasgow, Scotland, UK at 9:50 PM - chart at Astrodatabank ).
Martin Sheen, playing President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, having just attended the funeral of his longtime secretary, has questioned his faith during a wonderful diatribe in the cathedral, anger aimed at God for all the ills visited upon him, his friends and the world at large. After a moving scene when his dead secretary and boyhood mentor seemed to speak to him, as she had done often in the past, bringing him back to earth to remember what is truly important, he's about to face a barrage of questions from the press about his, until now hidden, multiple sclerosis. He walks outside into lashing wind and rain, towards the State Department and a press conference, refusing a raincoat held out by his aide. White House staff follow to the press conference, a riveting guitar plays in the background: great television, great song, great guitar! I recognised the guitar at once (one of the only two I can recognise : Mark Knopfler's - the other being Willie Nelson's). The track playing was Brothers in Arms, written by Mark Knopfler, from the Dire Straits album of the same name. The track was exactly right for the atmosphere of the scene. It's here, on YouTube!

The song's lyrics:
These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptism of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

Martin Sheen's natal Sun, Moon, Mars and Pluto are all in Leo, sign of The Leader, so his West Wing part of President Bartlet fits him like a glove.
His Aquarius rising connects to his well-known political activism in real life, for which I have the greatest admiration.

However, having said that, while researching, I came across a piece published in March which gave me pause. "Martin Sheen Has Harsh Words For Progressives Critical Of Obama", by Joshua Ostroff.

I suspect Mr Sheen, in spite of his reputation for activism, cocooned as he is from much of the real world by his fame and wealth, remains unable to see and accept that the President (Sun in Leo-type #3) and the Democratic Party are truly as corporate and uninterested in serving the needs of the people as are the Republicans.

I do not take kindly to the finger-wagging of Martin Sheen, much as I admire him as an actor and an activist. I voted for Obama in 2008 because of his positions and promises, I was, then, enthusiastic and hopeful about the next four years. I didn't wake up one morning with my opinions suddenly reversed. A gradual descent into disillusion has happened, arising from broken campaign promises, disappointments again, and again. A commenter (The Handyman) in the thread of comments below the linked article wrote more or less what I'd have wished to say myself:
Sheen has confused playing a President on TV with actually being one as well as having forgotten all the HOPE and CHANGE Obama promised but has failed to deliver on. Sheen is apparently still stuck in all those words Obama throws around but somehow fails to reconcile the difference between the words and the real action required to make those words meaningful.

There was his promise to filibuster the FISA and Telcom bill which he reneged on. There was the promise to come up with a single payer health care plan and then he dismissed it. There were the 9 things that the health reform bill had to have in it before he would sign it, like the public option, which we later found out he lobbied against, and yet when he signed it it had none of them. He said he was going to bring the troops home from Iraq and only wound up doing so because Bush had already signed an agreement with Iraq as to their removal date, or they would still be there.

There is his increase in the number of military in Afghanistan and that war's expansion into Pakistan not to mention Somalia, Libya, Yemen. and Bahrain. He is rattling the swords of war on behalf of the Israeli's.

Then there is his cut to Social Security revenue through his backdoor ploy by cutting payroll taxes which support SS.

There is his support for new nuclear power plants whose construction is not only paid with US tax payer dollars, insured with tax payer dollars, but eventually cost the taxpayer higher energy bills and then left with the cost of paying for their upkeep and eventual dismemberment. Not to mention the danger of all the waste and radiation caused by accidents! And this is barely scratching the surface.

Sheen is blind and confused, we Liberals and Progressives aren't! We understand Obama is as dangerous to us as Bush was. His signing of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act ) after threatening to veto it proves it!
Sheen's praise for Occupy Wall Street (OWS) towards the end of the linked article doesn't take account of the fact that his hero, President Obama, didn't ever speak in support of Occupy, in the way many Republicans voiced loud support for the Tea Party. The Occupy movement appears to have crumbled.

We are left with a choice of voting for two bought-and-paid-for corporate parties, with hardly anything to choose between them. If only people such as Martin Sheen, with a public platform and many admirers, would acknowledge this and begin the fight for something better, there might be hope of change. There isn't. Fiction and music are helpful, occasionally healing, distractions but real life is always there, waiting.

Back to Mark Knopfler: many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones


DC said...

btw....Knopfler is currently on a tour of North America with Bob Dylan....just a FYI :)

anyjazz said...

Makes one wonder. Just where is the mind of the public with all this evidence to guide it.

Good eye in spotting this parallel.

A good read as usual.

Twilight said...

DC ~~ Thanks for the heads up, DC.
I looked up the schedule and see that they'll be at a venue between Dallas and Fort Worth at the beginning of November -that'd be their nearest stop to where we are, but stilla good 3 hours' drive. Maybe! We'll see. Those huge arenas are not my favourite venues, but it'd be great to see both of 'em live. :-)

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~~ Thanks aj. The mind of the public is such a peculiar entity - evidence doesn't seem to mean a lot, it believes what it wants to believe.

Wisewebwoman said...

I just watched Sheen's "The Way" and it was a little spoiled for me by the heavy handed religious imagery.
I believe he is a Born Again Catholic and in the sway of the Vatican philosophy which espouses the Obama Christianity.
Just my own humble thought on that.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ I doubt we'll investigate The Way, then, WWW.

Yes, in interview at the end of one DVD Martin Sheen was described as very, very devout in his RC religion. In which case I'd expect him to rail against President Obama's wanton use of drones, killing innocents in foreign lands, and staying virually silent on the matter of gun control as one tragic event involving a madman with guns takes place in this country.

It is disapointing, WWW. But, as I always tell myself about Frank Sinatra's iffy doings and attitudes, we can take only what artists offer us - the rest of their opinions and attitudes are not for us to judge (ulness they try to foist them on to others and come believe they are the fount of all wisdom - which Sinatra never did, but Sheen would like to do, it seems.

Twilight said...

Meant to type "one after another tragic event takes place....

R J Adams said...

Aha! Mark Knopfler is my all time favorite guitarist, and Dire Straits (sadly, no more) my all time favorite band. Though, Pink Floyd come close.
As for Obama - definitely NOT my all time favorite politician. Come to think on it - I don't have one.
As for Martin Sheen, there was a time when actors and actresses were considered very low creatures, indeed. We should return to those days. After all, take away the glamour and acting is just plausible lying. It's what they're good at, so why pay them so much?

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ Sailing to Philadelphia is my favourite of Knopflers - never tire of listening to it, or anything on the CD of the same name. :-)

Yes, re actors, you're right. Because many of them have a certain charisma, they are able to influence people - which can be a two-edged sword.