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Replay: Why Leonard Cohen Ran Toward War Bari Weiss

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In 1973, Leonard Cohen announced he was done with music for good. The same year, in October, war broke out in Israel.

The Yom Kippur War would become the bloodiest in Israel’s young history—and Cohen was there to witness it. As the war broke out, he left his home on the Greek island of Hydra to fly into the warzone.

Leonard Cohen never said much about why he went to the front. What we know is that in the months that followed, he would write “Who By Fire.” Five decades later, on Spotify and in synagogue, you can still hear the echoes of this trip.

So what was it that happened in the desert in October of 1973 between this depressed musician and these too young soldiers going off to battle? How did it remake Leonard Cohen? How did it transform those who heard him play? And how did the war transform Israel itself?

Those are just some of the questions Matti Friedman explains in his beautiful book Who By Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai.

This episode aired last year on Honestly, and we’re thrilled to reshare it with you today, as we approach the 50 year anniversary of the war that remade a country—and one searching folk star. 

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Join Me at 6:00p.m. ET Tomorrow For a Q&A on Palestine Chris Hedges

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Join me tomorrow, Friday 6:00pm ET for a live Q&A on Palestine. We will be streaming on my Twitter account and on my YouTube channel.

We will be taking questions both live and from this post on Substack. To comment here, you must be a paid subscriber. Hope to see you there!

Thank you for reading The Chris Hedges Report. This post is public so feel free to share it.

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June 19, 2024 Heather Cox Richardson

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This Company Believes in “Protecting Women’s Sports.” TikTok Banned Its Ad. Julia Steinberg

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Jennifer Sey started an apparel company that believes in “protecting women’s sports and spaces.” Its ad was just banned on TikTok. (XX-XY Athletics)

This piece was first published in our news digest, The Front Page. To get our latest scoops, investigations, and columns in your inbox every morning, Monday through Thursday, become a Free Press subscriber today:

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In March, our friend Jennifer Sey, the former Levi’s exec and Covid-19 lockdown critic, told us she was starting an apparel company for women athletes, and since then she’s done exactly that. Her company XX-XY Athletics has put leggings, t-shirts, tank tops, and hats on the market, with both women’s (XX) and men’s (XY) collections. XX-XY Athletics counts its mission, according to Sey, as “protecting women’s sports and spaces and encouraging others to do the same.” 

“If you want your daughters to have the same opportunities you had, stand up,” a recent XX-XY ad says, adding, “If you don’t think it’s fair or safe to allow men to play women’s sports, stand up.”

It turns out that this is not the sort of thing one is allowed to say on TikTok. The Chinese-owned social media platform quickly banned the ad on the grounds that it “may violate TikTok’s advertising policies by featuring offensive content.” Sey posted on X, “When you run an ad standing up for women and girls’ sports, you get banned for life from @tiktok_us.” 

Sey, who was a champion gymnast herself, told me that the ads were on TikTok for less than a week before they were taken down—and that XX-XY’s account has been suspended from posting any ads on the platform. “They offered no reason for how we violated their policies,” Sey said. “Despite the fact that I find the ad quite uplifting, it’s anodyne.” (Watch it for yourself here.) 

Sey’s team will likely appeal TikTok’s decision, which has become a critically important platform for reaching young people. “Fifty percent of people under 30 are on TikTok,” she said. “You gotta fish where the fish are.” At the very least, Sey wants an explanation of what policy she violated.

Julia Steinberg is an intern at The Free Press. Read her piece on the college dropout who unlocked the secrets of ancient Rome using AI. And follow her on X @Juliaonatroika.

 

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