Leonard Cohen Songs & Poems – So Sexy They May Be Illegal
To protect himself from charges of complicity, Leonard Cohen may want to start pasting the DrHGuy-designed warning label shown atop this post on his albums and books.
It turns out that the the involvement of Leonard Cohen’s “Book Of Longing” in a suit charging sexual harassment and discrimination brought against the venture firm of Kleiner Perkins1 is not the first time sexually charged verses by Leonard Cohen have led to legal problems.
This story of Crime, Cohen, and Punishment, as reported by the Associated Press and published in the September 25, 1996 edition of The Titusville Herald (Titusville, Pennsylvania), follows:
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — There might not be a cure for love, but a Danish court hopes a $173 fine will stop the symptoms. The fine was levied after a man asked Danish national radio to dedicate “Ain’t No Cure for Love” by Leonard Cohen to his former girlfriend, even though he was under court order not to contact her, the Berlingske Tidende newspaper reported Monday. The lovers, who were not identified, broke up in 1991 after a six-year relationship, the newspaper said. In 1993, police issued a restraining order forbidding him to contact her in any way. When the radio broadcast his dedication of the song in April 1994 it was unaware of the restraining order, the newspaper said.
This episode certainly gives a new twist to the chorus of Cohen’s “Different Sides:”
Both of us say there are laws to obey
Yeah, but frankly I don’t like your tone
You want to change the way I make love
(But) I want to leave it alone
Until this kind of warning is available to prevent, oh say a senior partner in a venture firm from giving a potentially inappropriate gift to a female junior partner,
… it’s up to each individual to be aware of the dangers of Leonard Cohen’s work:
Music & Poetry By Leonard Cohen
Use At Own Risk
- A male senior partner of Kleiner Perkins gave Cohen’s Book Of Longing to a female junior partner in the same firm. The legal issue is whether this gift was a sexually provocative act (because, as the plaintiff’s motion points out, the book contains “many sexual drawings and poems with strong sexual content”) or, as the defendant’s response maintains, a misunderstood holiday present of “a book of poetry written by Leonard Cohen during Cohen’s five-year stay at a Zen monastery” from “a practicing Buddhist [the senior partner]” to the junior partner, who had given “him [the senior partner] a book and a Buddha statue as holiday gifts following discussions the two had about Buddhism. See Sexual Harassment Suit Reveals (Gasp) Eroticism In Leonard Cohen’s Book Of Longing for a discussion of this point. [↩]