Commemorating Independence Day, The Fourth of July 2021
America's 245th Birthday
Thematic Images for the Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack:
"Romantic 'Total Revolution':
The Democracy of Soul & The Goddess of Liberty"
(Concerning the GS's previous musical essay for the Summer Solstice celebration.) Given that America's Independence Day follows on the heels of the Summer Solstice, the Fourth of July celebration naturally partakes of high summer festivities. As stated on a typical Federal Holiday website: "Independence Day is commonly associated with barbecues, picnics, concerts, carnivals, parades, and fireworks."
"In fireworks are released, all the explosive pyrotechnics of a dream. The inflammable desires, dampened by day under the cold water of consciousness, are ignited at night by the libertarian matches of sleep, and burst fourth in showers of shimmering incandescence. These imaginary displays provide a temporary relief." —Kenneth Anger
The Bruce Springsteen song, “4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)," is not only appropriate here but also harks back to the GS' previous musical essay series, "May Day Carnivalesque," about carnival and carnivalesque.
click on meme to access the "Carnivalesque" webpage.
Actually, the previous two series of musical essays, "May Day Carnivalesque" (with its emphasis on how the premodern public festivals for May Day "misrule" increasingly, through rituals of "social inversion" of hierarchies, took on a political edge, leading to instances of popular insurrection) and "Carnivalesque," served as an appropriate lead-ins to this current "Independence Day" musical essay series, with its theme of "Total Revolution." Thus, the following important statement from the "May Day Carnivalesque Epilogue" will find its way into this current musical essay series for Independence Day: "The popularity of the term carnivalesque and its approach to carnival owes much to the influence of Bakhtin, whose exuberant descriptions of the festive life of the Middle Ages--"carnivalesque"--have led scholars to explore how popular culture might work as a force for political change."
The question behind the Independence Day Orphic Essay-with-Soundtrack:
WHAT IS AMERICA?
America has been described as a "democratic experiment." Some astute observers of our nation have ventured to describe America as an "idea," a "conversation," and a "dream." However, the GS likes to conceive of America as a "tune." To read some visionary quotations about what America really is, click on link below.
Thematic Images of the Imagination of America,
from 16th to the 19th Centuries
"America" (from The Four Continents series, Zucchi 1777)
Thematic Images of America as African Amerindians
Thematic Images of America as "Indian Princess" & the "Goddess Columbia"
Amérique as Indian princess (terracotta c. 1840)
Columbia and Indian Princess (fresco in U.S. Capitol, Brumidi 1855)
Goddess of America Allegories
(2) "The Commissioners"
(1) "The Female Combatants, or Who Shall"
(3) The Tea Tax Tempest, or the Anglo-American Revolution
(4) America [Minerva] Triumphant and Britannia in Distress
(5) Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression
(6) The Goddess Liberty holding a portrait of Jefferson
(7) America Guided By Wisdom
(8) America! with Peace and Freedom Blest
(9) Columbia Teaching John Bull his new Lesson
(10) The outbreak of the rebellion in the United States 1861
(12) France offering liberty to America
(11) America. To Those, who wish to Sheathe the Desolating Sword of War. And, to Restore the Blessings of Peace and Amity, to a divided People
(14) Triumph of Liberty. Dedicated to its defenders in America
(13) The Works of Minerva
(15) Study For Liberty Displaying the Arts and Sciences, or The Genius of America Encouraging the Emancipation of the Blacks
(16) Shall I trust these men, and not this man?
Thematic Images of the Goddess of Liberty, or Libertas
Liberty Leading the People (Delacroix 1798)
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death to Tyrants
- Long live the Peoples (Alsace 1792)
In a chariot of light from the regions of the day,
The Goddess of Liberty came,
Ten thousand celestials directed her way,
And hither conducted the dame...
~ Thomas Paine, “The Liberty Tree”
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in his journals about the “Spirit of America" in almost archetypal terms: “a living soul, which doth exist somewhere beyond the Fancy, to whom the Divinity hath assigned the care of this bright corner of the Universe.” Although he does not name this female divinity, he’s probably referring to the goddess Columbia/Liberty, who was popular in 19th-century as America’s newly emergent protectress of Liberty and Peace.
Thematic Images of the Goddess Minerva as America & the Statue of Freedom
Statue of Freedom, the bronze statue atop the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, D.C. (Crawford and Mills 1855-1863). It was based upon the well-known iconography of “Libertas” first codified in eighteenth-century emblem books. During the French and American Revolutions, “Libertas” symbolized freedom from tyranny as is evident in the Paul Revere masthead for the Massachusetts Spy in 1781. Images below are of the goddess Minerva and the Statue of Freedom modeled upon her.
Thematic Images of the Goddess of Liberty & Statue of Liberty
Since her arm out of the dust has raised me
Beats my heart so boldly and serene;
And my cheek still tingles with her kisses,
Flushed and glowing where her lips have been.
Every word she utters, by her magic
Rises new-created, without flaw;
Harken to the tidings of my goddess,
Harken to the Sovereign, and adore!
~ Holderlin, “Hymn To Liberty”
It's coming from the women and the men
O baby, we'll be making love again
We'll be going down so deep
The river's going to weep
And the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway
In amorous array
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
~ Leonard Cohen, “Democracy”
Thematic Images of the Angel of Liberty