Blessed Are

This is an old Joan Baez song, from her 1971 album of the same title — an original song by her, after she had passed through her folk music phase and begun composing her own songs. Has some nice lyrics, e.g. “…and their personal acquaintance with pain”. And:

Rain will come and winds will blow,
wild deer die in the mountain snow.
Birds will beat at heaven’s wall,
what comes to one must come to us all.

(There’s no video to see, just that of a tape recorder.)

Brought to mind by this interesting item in Sunday’s New York Times: They Feel ‘Blessed’: Blessed Becomes a Popular Hashtag on Social Media.

Fascinating, because with a single familial exception, this is a phrase I never hear, not at work, not in SoCal social life, not at science fiction conventions, not in posts of any of the blogs or news sites I follow. And if I did hear it in any of these contexts, I would have to be careful not to raise my eyebrows…

The article’s take:

There’s nothing quite like invoking holiness as a way to brag about your life. But calling something “blessed” has become the go-to term for those who want to boast about an accomplishment while pretending to be humble, fish for a compliment, acknowledge a success (without sounding too conceited), or purposely elicit envy. Blessed, “divine or supremely favored,” is now used to explain that coveted Ted talk invite as well as to celebrate your grandmother’s 91st birthday. It is carried out in hashtags (#blessed), acronyms (#BH, for the Hebrew “baruch hasem,” which means “blessed be God”), and even, God forbid, emoji.

“ ‘Blessed’ is used now where in the past one might have said ‘lucky,’ ” said the linguist Deborah Tannen. “But what makes these examples humble-brags is not ‘blessed’ itself but the context: telling the world your fiancé is the best or that you’ve been invited to do something impressive. Actually I don’t even see the ‘humble’ in it. I just see ‘brag.’ ”

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