Ani DiFranco was great last night at SummerStage in Central Park. We had hoped to see her in Montréal while we were there, but that show was sold out.
Ani and her accompanist coaxed a lot of varied sound out of just an acoustic guitar and upright bass. But the highlight for me was her lyrics: very clever and complex, full of word play and irony. We have nearly all her albums, but I'm mostly familiar with Little Plastic Castle and Up⁶. The performance encouraged me to listen more carefully to the others as well.
One of the strongest segments was the poem called ‘Reprieve’ from her upcoming album of the same name. Now, I'm generally not very big on poetry, believing as I do that eight of the scariest words in the English language are, “I'm going to read this poem I wrote.” But this was pretty amazing.
It did allude to the concept that war is a product of the patriarchy, and if women ran the world there wouldn't be any. I hear this sentiment voiced periodically as part of the new anti-war movement, where it dovetails nicely with modern adaptations of Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Although it might be a heartening thing to believe, I am aware of precious little evidence that it's actually true. Admittedly, all women throughout recorded history have been products of the patriarchy themselves, and so their behavior can be understood only as reaction to it. We have yet to perform controlled experiments that could confirm or refute the hypothesis.
I guess I basically believe that all humans are engaged in a constant struggle to mollify their inner barbarians. And while there may be differences between the sexes, this isn't one of them.