LAURIE ANDERSON


The Mysterious 'j' Lyrics

In the book there are several chapters about women
talking and women writing. Now it seems likely that men
invented writing and wrote what? Maybe ninety, maybe
ninety-five percent of everything that's ever been
written. Oh there's the recent theory that a woman, the
mysterious 'J', wrote much of the Old Testament, but
only because God was portrayed in this book as
patriarchal, tyrannical and inconsistent, the way
presumably only a woman would write about a man. But I
think I can picture this 'J' scribbling away and
laughing although the first time I saw the Bible re-
enacted was sometime in the 70s and there was a cable
TV show in the Midwest and Bible study groups would act
out parts of the Bible. But these were pretty low
budget productions and shot in a church basement or
somebody's ###160109 and all the prophets had towels
wrapped around their heads for turbans, but you could
see the tags, the ones with the washing instructions,
sort of sticking out and back. There were very few
women on these tapes. They tended to be the odd
shepherdess sort dancing girl bit part.
Then last year I was invited to perform in Israel and I
was very excited because I wanted to see Jerusalem
where this mysterious 'J' had spent her life writing
and working and the Gulf War had made me even more
curious. So I did some asking around, some informal
research, and I talked to an Israeli woman who was
living in New York and she was really having a hard
time living there, and she was always complaining about
American men, and she'd say:

' You know, American men are such wimps, I mean,
they're always talking about their feelings.

And I said:

' They are?

And she said she really liked Israeli men because they
were so tough and because they all had guns and I said:

' Guns, you like guys with guns?

And she said she did and went on about how terrible it
was that Clinton wanted to reduce the army and she was
so animate about this that I started to get kind of
worried. Yeah, I thought, yeah that's true, what are
all these military people going to do when they lose
their jobs? And then I thought, well, hang on, we've
got all these service industries now, things like
psychotherapy, and the military approach to
psychotherapy would really be kind of perfect, really
efficient and fast, you know, listen, you are nothing,
you are a worm, and if you don't get that mother
complex out by 0400 hours you are dead meat.

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Songwriter(s): LAURIE ANDERSON

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