A Crazy Form Of Immortality

From a 2002 conversation between Dick Gordon and Studs Terkel (thanks Dan Stockman):

My north star, my guide, is a poem by Bertolt Brecht. I’ll offer brief passages from it. We think of Brecht and “Threepenny Opera” — well, he was a poet.

In this poem he says, “Who built the seven gates of Thebes? Who lugged those hunks of rock one place to the other?” When we get this in school — Caesar conquered Gaul, you know — was there not even a cook in the army? And when the Chinese Wall was built, where did the masons go for lunch? I was told in school, Sir Francis Drake conquered the Spanish Armada in 1588. And I thought, he did it by himself? So Brecht says, “When the Armada sank, we read that King Philip of Spain wept. Were there no other tears?” Is the last line of the poem.

And so, to me, history’s about those who shed those other tears, those who made the wheels go round. Those who don’t make a footnote in the history books, who’ve been there from year one. And who are never remembered.

 

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