Podcast: The Most Beautiful – Part 3 of a Conversation with Jane Clare Jones

Back in mid-April, I spoke with writer, philosopher, and fellow Prince obsessive Jane Clare Jones for so long that our conversation ended up being split into four parts; but by the end of that conversation, we were also talking around things more often than we were talking about them. So, last week, we got together for a redo. The resulting podcast is a Frankenstein’s monster–but a fun, interesting Frankenstein’s monster!–of our original discussion on Mayte’s The Most Beautiful (placed, for maximum confusion, at the end) and some setup for the things we were talking around–which we’ll finally address in our episode next week. We also take advantage of the passage of time by discussing some of the major developments in the Princeverse last month: the Celebration, “Deliverance,” and that godawful TV movie.  I promise it’s more coherent than it sounds.

00:00:00   “Friend, Lover, Sister, Mother/Wife” (from Emancipation, 1996)

00:02:02   Zach’s Review of Mayte’s Book

00:04:42   Channel 5’s (/Reelz’) Docudrama Thing, Prince: When Doves Cry

00:06:56   Part 1 of the Podcast

00:10:07   “Paisley Park” (from Around the World in a Day, 1985)

00:14:50   Peach and Black Podcast’s Deliverance EP Review

00:15:17   “Positivity” (from Lovesexy, 1988)

00:16:44   Zach’s Blog

00:17:35   Alex Hahn’s Interview on Michael Dean’s Prince Podcast

00:28:23   “All the Critics Love U in New York” (from 1999, 1982)

00:39:13   “Deliverance” (2006 Recording)

00:44:54   Zach’s Writeup of the Revolution Show

00:47:36   “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” (Live at the Sydney Opera House, 2016)

00:58:11   “The One” (Live in Copenhagen, 2002)

01:11:12   “Little Red Corvette” (Live at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, 2004

01:13:07   “The Love We Make” (Live at Montreux Jazz Festival, 2013)

01:18:33   “7” (from O(+>, 1992)

01:24:38   “Letitgo” (from Come, 1994)

27 replies on “Podcast: The Most Beautiful – Part 3 of a Conversation with Jane Clare Jones”

Wow…endless gratitude to Zach, to Jane, and to everyone that left replies on the blog over the past couple weeks. Thank you for the Cases of U, the podcasts, the blog and the discussion. So many gifts from all of you this week, and from someone (perhaps a funk god who laughed at how I silly I look running around unexpectedly busy, knew how many of you I sorely need to thank, and knew how amazing the latest podcast installment was. That someone gave me a need to drive right when the podcast became available. I drove, listened to the podcast, and want to thank you so much for the topics you chose, and for how you chose to talk about them.

There is so much I want to say but, for better and for worse, time is limiting my wordy self.

Jane — I can’t begin to describe how excited I was to get the Cases of U. I didn’t ever expect to have access to all those versions of that cherished song that were done by absolutely beloved artists. I knew, for example, that Prince performed the song many times, but I didn’t think I’d ever get to hear. Thank you, Jane, for touching our souls.

Penny –Then there’s the gift of being able to say “our.” The gift of having read the thoughts of people like you, Zach, Jane and many others has led me to people who cherish the same songs, and cherish looking at different performances of the songs. Hearing your thoughts on Cases of You meant so much, Penny. This is really corny, so sorry in advance, but sometimes I think of artists’ ever varied performances of beloved songs as like multiple kisses and embraces. Each time an artist plays the song is a unique communion, a new loving interplay. I nearly fell over when I saw the contents of what Jane posted. To be able to hear this, to be able to share responses. Jane, you really have touched our souls.

Zach and Jane — this podcast — so, so, interesting and bringing more thoughts than anyone would ever want to read. Maybe it’s A Case of You playing in my head with it’s “frightened by the devil” lyric (and thanks to Penny for showing me how that evolved!). Your podcast brings to mind some of the down sides to polar categories. Your earlier discussion of Prince’s reactions to categories surely does as well. Perhaps ideas of saints and scoundrels, ideas that threaten to venture into one-dimensional pictures, caused some pain for Prince, for those like Mayte, who knew and loved him dearly, and for his fans. Perhaps a tendency to categorize people who become dependent on substances, to divide them into good and (“utterly hedonistic and irresponsible”) bad people, may also have caused some harm. Like the appreciation that you described in the podcast, I too am grateful for what’s been shared by those who knew him best. I’m grateful for these chances to, maybe, get to know him just a little, to have the picture fleshed out just a bit. I think it means a lot to many who love his music.

Another enjoyable podcast–thank you once more! I particularly appreciated the discussion of the “things that must not be discussed”, which is a very curious aspect of the Prince community that I’ve long puzzled over. Of that, and of Mayte’s book, I will simply say: He was so talented as expressing vulnerability as an artist, but tragically could not access that trait effectively in his personal life, and he (and Mayte, and in some sense the rest of us) paid very dearly for that. The work of sociologist Brene Brown conceptualizing the life-giving value of embracing vulnerability is quite apropos here.

Prince shared so many gifts with the world: important lessons about how to live our lives wholeheartedly, AND also critical lessons about ways of being in the world that don’t serve us that well in the long run. I believe that to fully honor this tender and strong man, we need to pay careful attention to all forms of wisdom communicated by his life. My heart breaks at the pain, struggle, resolve and hard-wired discipline implied by the reports of pills found cut in halfs and quarters. I can only respond with compassion and an effort to understand, and to attempt to live my own life enriched by his example.

Not to keep quoting OTHER singer/songwriters, but reflecting on all of this, I keep coming back to Leonard Cohen’s “Song of Bernadette”:

We’ve been around
We fall, we fly
We mostly fall, we mostly run
And every now and then, we try
To mend the damage that we’ve done…

So many hearts I find
Broke like yours and mine
Torn by what we’ve done and can’t undo
I just want to hold you,
Won’t you let me hold you?
Like Bernadette would do.

Yes! And I really appreciated that Jane and Zach had rather the opposite of that “things not discussed” tenor. I loved that they shared with us how and why they ended up taking two runs at the discussion. Faced with those topics, I can imagine doing the same. Thanks for being so open! For me, it made the podcast all the more fascinating and vital.

Lots of tough stuff about damage, suffering and available coping mechanisms. Really interesting thoughts from Jane that raise the question of whether it might have been better, in the long run, for classic coping mechanisms to have worked not quite so well. Could it have motivated a turn to look and square off with some things?

Penny — I’m going to look up Brene Brown, and thank you for the words from Leonard Cohen.

Maybe you’ve seen this page. It has remembrances for Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen. It also shares this quote from Tom Hoopes: “Prince is like Leonard Cohen: unafraid to make public his intimate life both with women and with God, and gifted with the ability to express them both in an evocative language all his own.”

I would recommend her books “The Gifts of Imperfection” or “Daring Greatly”–also she did an easily findable TED talk that’s a good intro to her work. Thanks for the Cohen link!

Friends – thanks for your comments, especially about appreciating our explorations of why we did a do-over…I did find that very telling, the power of his disapproval, and what it enabled him to conceal. I still think the conversation about Mayte – which is from the first conversation – is a little hesitant and elliptical…what we get to next week will hopefully be a little less freighted by fear of pissing Prince off :). With regard to the discussion of vulnerability – and the mention of Brene Brown, her work is just great – it’s really the core of my philosophical work…because it’s underneath so much of the fucked-upness of the world (my PhD takes one instance of that and looks at the relation between masculinity-as-invulnerability and sexual violence)…Anyway, I think the vulnerability in P’s work is one of the core things that attracts many of us to it, and is executed with such fearlessness and lack of shame, it does feel in some sense truly puzzling that it seems to have been so unavailable to him in his life, and was so implicated in his death. I had a half-thought coming out of sleep this morning – with all the podcastness atm it seems my brain has taken to trying to work him out even when I’m unconscious – that there was something about the emotional containment he experienced while in music, and his ability to surrender himself so completely into it, that allowed him to do it there while he couldn’t outside. It was and had always been his safe place (and one also, which was in some sense, self-sufficient, the fear of dependency and abandonment was absent there, because it could never leave him…and it could never be repulsed or reject him for what he expressed)…and so, it held him in a way he couldn’t otherwise hold himself (or allow another person to really truly hold him), and y’know, P was basically a very sensitive and emotional person, and had a ton of intense stuff buried in his psyche which clearly felt very threatening to him…and it needed containment to be released, and music was that containment…so, at the same time as music was in one sense an escape mechanism from himself, it was also a very significant valve, unfortunately however, one which in itself couldn’t quite provide the kind of processing/confrontation he really needed to be able to do in the long term…

Re: the Mayte conversation being elliptical, I totally thought the same thing while I was editing…fortunately we do return briefly to the book a few times in the next episode!

I very much enjoyed listening to this. Thank you both. Just a few pieces of feedback. Sometimes it felt a bit too wordy/dense…perhaps a slower pace with more listening to the other would have worked better for me. Also it felt like the possibility of Prince taking his own life was too terrible to contemplate and dismissed too readily. I am really curious about the fact that the image that he had worked tirelessly to maintain throughout his life was probably about to fall away with the prospect of rehab or some sort of outside support imminent. How was Prince going to face the fall out from this with all the shame he must have been feeling. I believe that even someone with very strong supportive healthy relationships would struggle severely with having to face this situation never mind someone who seemed to isolate himself from people other than those who did not challenge him greatly. I still can’t find anyway to understand the fact that he died in an elevator with his clothes on backwards which is why I think the possibility of suicide needs to be at least acknowledged fully especially in the context of a discussion that is seeking to be open and transparent. I feel nothing but complete compassion and sympathy for Prince. I don’t seek to pass any judgement on him no matter what the circumstances of his death.

Emer – thanks for your comments. A few of things I’d like to respond to…I don’t think we discounted the possibility of suicide because it is too horrifying to contemplate. I do happen to believe it’s not a choice he would have made – because I don’t think the fighter in him was quit, I don’t think it would ever have been quit, and he was still just going forward right until the end – but that is not the reason I feel certain that this wasn’t that. Rather, as I said, it’s because had he made that choice, it would not have been done like that. Not only would he never have allowed anyone to find him in that state (this is a man who didn’t even want his girlfriend to come over when he wasn’t looking perfect…whose wife never saw him looking anything less than immaculate almost the entire time they were married) – nor do I think he would have chosen to do something that he knew would cause that kind of distress to either the people who found him or his friends or the fans or the world at large, or for that to be the last image people had of him in his minds, but more than that, had he made that choice I think he would have choreographed it the way he choreographed every other thing he had ever done. He would have done it as an aesthetic gesture, not as the antithesis of an aesthetic gesture.

I do agree that there was a lot of shame involved, and that shame was very likely a major factor in him not asking for help sooner (if he did finally ask for help)…but there had always been some (possibly considerable if repressed) shame in Prince I think, stemming from what had happened to him as a child, and his response to it was, basically, to escape it by trenchantly and obsessively striving for excellence and covering it with swaths of ‘we’re the best!’ swagger. Which is to say, I don’t think shame would ever have won out over his deep wells of pugilistic resolve, even in these circumstances, although it certainly impacted his ability to admit weakness or make himself vulnerable – which did significantly impact the outcome.

As for the clothes and the elevator – I agree, the elevator is weird from a symbolic point of view, but there is just a hell of a lot of weird symbolic synchronicity in Prince’s story in general – the date of the recording of ‘Sometimes it Snows in April’ being only one of the most obvious. Like Prince and Mayte, I don’t actually feel the need to explain these things…to me, it’s just a pleasingly-strange-and-not-that-unusual Princely synchronicity (which can also, at the same time, be plausibly explained prosaically), rather like the rainbow over Paisley the day of his death. I understand maybe that’s not enough for other people, but it is enough for me, maybe because I am a bit of a foof, and I don’t find it odd that odd symbolic stuff just kind of happened around him from time to time. As for the clothes, it’s not something I feel the need to or really want to discuss, not because of a desire to conceal things or because I think certain possibilities shouldn’t be considered (as I’ve explained above, I have considered them and have reasons why I have discounted them), but because I think there is an obvious prosaic explanation, and, when it comes to that, I do want to respect his dignity, and, to me, it feels both unnecessary and distressing to be more explicit about it. Again, I’m aware that some people do find it really difficult to understand, but I’m not one of them – I just find it painful and heartbreaking – so I’m sorry to not be able to be more helpful there.

Hi Jane. I don’t believe that Prince would have been able to think in a rational way the night before he died. I can’t imagine the terror he must have faced at the prospect of his life long carefully crafted narrative shattering in such a shocking manner. Once outside expertise was introduced it was only a matter of time and of course Prince knew this. I understand the strength of Prince’s coping mechanisms. Even his near death experience the previous week was not enough to break through these mechanisms. I can’t help wondering whether the prospect of the shattering of his carefully crafted life long narrative was a fate much worse than death.

Well, there are a lot of questions that will never be fully answered, but here is what I think. He had had a near death experience the previous week, which those of looking at in hindsight see as a huge flashing warning, but given what I understand about his temperament, and the way he handled everything in his life, I’m guessing his reaction was: “I ALMOST died, but I didn’t, so Jehovah wants me to live; I just need to take care of a few things and everything will be OK.” We can now see that as unfortunate or crazy or indicative of some level of denial, but in truth, it’s also a pretty common reaction after a near-miss tragic experience. Rather than thinking, whoa, I’m in huge danger, I can imagine him interpreting his recovery from the plane incident as a sign that the worst was behind him. And, of course, that perspective would be extremely attractive to him because it would allay any lingering fears and was consistent with how he never wanted to look backwards, just forwards, and how he preferred not to acknowledge limitations, vulnerability or pain. So, his focus in the days before he passed included damage control, pursuing medical help, and managing his pain/dependency as he had been doing for 15 – 20 years. The way I see it, his luck just ran out. I have to agree with Jane that if it was a suicide, what ultimately occurred is the very, very last way he would have chosen to go.

Yeah, I won’t rule anything out because of course there’s no way we can know anything for sure; to me, though, the evidence in favor of accidental/negligent death is more compelling than the evidence in favor of deliberate suicide. Anyway, thanks for listening!

Yeah, I’ve thought about this, and if there is such a thing as ‘accidental/non-deliberative suicide’ then it could possibly be something like that. Emer, I agree with you, I do think it’s likely he wasn’t thinking rationally at the time, fear may have been a factor, but whatever it was (pain, withdrawal, shame, fear, all of the above) it seems likely he was so strung out by that point he wasn’t thinking at all clearly…and the fact that there was clean safe prescription oxy found in PP does raise the issue of why the hell P?? I guess here it just gets conceptually hazy…I personally think he was so strung out he just wasn’t thinking clearly and took a stupid stupid risk he shouldn’t have taken (as Penny says, I think it was just bad luck), but even if it’s not that, I guess I think that if he was that strung out, he was too strung out for it to be considered determined suicide…and, as I’ve said, I don’t think determined suicide would have looked like that (and I don’t think P in anything resembling a normal state of mind would ever have considered determined suicide)…but yes, given what we (and everyone else I think) just don’t and will never know about his state of mind in those few hours, it is anybody’s guess…

People are as sick as their secrets….there are 3 selves, the self presented to the public, the self presented to close family and friends, and the inner self nobody but that person knows. Mayte got as close to that inner self as anybody… too threatening. Nothing you did girl! I understand! Shout out and prayers for Mayte, carry on a good and giving life, you are carrying forward the good part. You are loved. Peace and Love.

Did he have any incentive to look at his pain in a place other than his muse or music, money,sex ,narcassism, god status to some extent ,a great diversion… We may never have had the amazing breadth and depth of his work if he’d worked this stuff out in some other way . Many a creative person used up some others on the way …. vulnerable complicated humans ….. Loving the conversation , the points about addressing himself to women , a lone male figure in this respect ,thats what makes me feel so strange ..anyd clearly so many other women …Ive only been in this the year since his death

Was just thinking some more about the points you made that Prince directed his work to the female gaze , and it made me think of the John Berger book “Ways of Seeing ” where he talks about art and how the female is practically always depicted as seeing herself outside her body and is often alluring or somehow judging how she looks to others…..Prince is surely one of the few men who also does that and puts his allure above and beyond his intellect and his power in a straightforward way…although of course allure is power….He surely had a very strong intellect but he seemed to me to be putting his aesthetic and sexual energy at the forefront……the combo of intellect and allure is perhaps what is so arresting and so very unusual in a man and so damned hot….

Jane can probably speak to this better than I can (because she’s smarter than me), but yes, I completely agree: Prince is one of very few male artists who construct and present themselves “to be looked at,” as Laura Mulvey would say, entirely for the female gaze (and presumably the gay male gaze, though I suspect that wasn’t his main intention). This is both a huge part of his appeal to women–who make up, if not the numeric majority of his fanbase, then certainly the most passionate–and is what makes him such a disruptive and fascinating figure in terms of gender politics. Back when I was in grad school I would construct my whole lecture on gender and sexuality around Prince–problematic in the sense that he was, for all his gender-bending, a cis hetero man, but irresistible because what other cis hetero man gives you the opportunity to talk about gender as performance AND reversal of the gaze AND genderfuck and so on on!

Ooooh, I like this one (goes all overenthusiastic girl at back of class with her hand madly waving in the air). So, yes, there is certainly a strong element of constructing himself for the female gaze for sures…which is great, because y’know, pretty as all hell, as well as that whole sinuous hard-bodied thing, and with a pleasing streak of extraterrestrial cat goddess creature (which I’m particularly partial to) thrown in for good measure, sooooo, hmmmmmmmm, yeah, anyway…..right. However, above and beyond the objectification thing (objectifying is not actually the problem, it’s pretty hard to have sex with someone without objectifying them some…the damage is done through desubjectivization), the problem with patriarchal sexual construction is the separation of sexual relation into an active-passive dyad..i.e. making one party (usually female) passive and the other (usually male) active…because that’s just bad sex (and also kind of rapey either which way round)…so, while there is something kind of radical about simply reversing the dyad – and making the male the object of the female gaze – it nonetheless still leaves the structure intact…And I think what is most important about P, is that while he puts himself in the position of the object of the female gaze he is very rarely passive when he does so. To a significant extent the address is not so much to the gaze as it is to women’s desire – and there is actually an important difference here, because the gaze is the most objectfying of the senses (and insofar as (masculine) desire is usually thought through the gaze…desire itself is then constructed as more objectifying than it probably is…because actually, we don’t only (or even predominantly) want with our eyes). Anyway, when P addresses himself to women (and I’m using the present deliberately here, because he’s going to doing that shit for all damn eternity as far as we’re concerned :)) he is not only, or most importantly, offering himself as a thing to be looked at…like I said in the podcast, the address is very somatic, and it’s an address to women’s desire, specifically as it is *felt,*…that is, he is offering to make you feel something by doing something…and he will then go to great lengths to make sure you understand more or less precisely both what he’s offering to do and what it will make you feel…by saying it, and by embodying it, and miming it, by making the music express it/imitate it…you all know what I think about the guitar, and as someone else said to me on the org the other day, the rhythm just sounds like purple monkey sex…which pretty much sums it up really. So what I think is interesting is that there is this constant interplay of being object and subject, of activity and passivity, and the activity and passivity itself is also not divided in any straightforward masculine/feminine way…a lot of the activity is him advertising his goods by enacting his physical identification with women’s receptivity to his goods, which are themselves a product of his identification with women’s receptivity (and so it goes)…which is definitely not what stereotypical masculine ‘activity’ is supposed to look like (that’s usually a lot more like the bullshit in the Gett Off video, which is why it’s such a turn off as far as I’m concerned)…but I wouldn’t call all that passivity…there is nothing remotely passive about all that stripping and moaning and quivering and wotnot…and it’s most certainly intended as an active come on…and somehow, at the same time, he can pull it all off without compromising his masculine energy in the slightest….maybe just because he is an unspeakably cocky swaggering badass (who is simultaneously totally unrapey and undominating). So, in short, rather than just reversing the active-passive structure, he just fucks the whole damn thing up…which is politically frickin awesome, and also – because that’s what good sex actually does – happens to be about the sexiest thing any human being has ever done on a stage (that is, if the gratuitous narcissism doesn’t wig you out, which I know it does for some people…but thankfully I’m immune to that).

wow , thats an amazing reply…I am a long time out of academia and I am re reading it a few times but yes I think i get it …and yes that must be why he has so arrested me … not knowing anything about him till he died then gradually learning about his music , his persona both public and private and reading a few books .. listening to his very complex and varied back catalogue , I’m only on album 8 …..what a force of nature .. You clearly have followed him for all time and I love your descriptions of him …..and what he does it helps me make sense of the craziness I’m feeling …its like a high , or an ecstatic religious experience.. I think its also the fact he an outlier , an outsider looking in and pioneering his way through …such a brave soul , and making so many sacrifices to let the music through ..Like you said in the podcast he even used his lack of pants so his body was exposed in a way that women display their physical wears …he really let us see what he’d got …I hadn’t realised that till you and Zach talked about it , another active passive play around …..Like you say its awesome to see all these reversals .Dont you think you and Grayson Perry could make a great programme on gender with Prince as the subject.!

Ha, yeah, he certainly was in the business of letting us see what he’d got ;). It’s kind of insane actually, the amount of complex intertwining between subject/object positions going on in it…but like I said, that’s what actually happens in good sex, which is where I think a lot of the sexual energy/power comes from (it’s almost as if he is able to enact the whole sexual circuit all by himself…which y’know, makes electricity). It’s also, as you suggest, very closely intertwined with the ecstatic element of his work, which is itself intertwined with a certain version of the spirituality (as opposed to the patriarchal ‘God’s going to punish you for fucking’-part…which is much more a product of a certain conflict in his personality stemming from the narcissistic aspects of his use of sex, I think…anyway, that’s a whole ‘nother thing). But basically, there is a phenomenological/experiential homology between sexual and spiritual ecstasy, all of which is tied up with a way of experiencing which breaks down subject/object dualism, and is also tied up with a kind of surrender into the flow of experiential/creative process in which subject/object dualism also breaks down. All of which he was just amazingly gifted at. The weird thing about P, he was both and at the same time incredible at letting go of his boundaries and just surrendering into the flow of stuff, and also, in his personal life, one of the most defended people around. But yeah, as far as ecstasy in art (and probably sex) goes, he was just frickin phenomenal at it 🙂

I’m very much enjoying the podcasts, thank you. I totally understand the female gaze thing, but then what in your opinion is the reason why so many straight men have admitted their attraction to his beauty and admittedly feel confused and embarrassed by their feelings? And why women are so attracted to him even when he is in one of his phases where he’s obviously closer to his feminine side? Also, I’d be curious to hear your opinion on why we (for a long time I thought I was the only one and it was a relief to discover that I wasn’t!) who have never met the man, some never having even seen him perform live, are so fascinated by him and what he is all about?

Also he kept that appearance up in private too , surrounding himself with so much stuff to express his aesthetic …. and which men can pull off heels but him ….and heels hurt to bar shoes so he really took it seriously …Heels interest me ,height , position …passivity …you can’t run .well he could but lesser souls can’t …whats your take on the heels

I have to say I don’t have much to say about the heels specifically – other than the obvious a) he was tiny and b) its fitted well with the feminine aspect of his presentation and c) the stuff Mayte says about the kind of posture and swagger you get with it which helps with performance, he did at one point say he had tried to play a guitar in flats and felt like Samson without his hair. I’m not a big fan of the whole ‘only Prince could get away with that’ line about his feminine presentation…I think a lot of men could get away with it if they did it with the same degree of swagger…which is a tall order I know, because another of Prince’s gifts was his general excellence at giving-no-fucks, and that is obviously helped by being pretty clear sighted about the fact that you’re a savant genius…but still, I do think more men could do it, and they might find what P found, which is both that a lot of women find it sexy in itself, and they find the swagger (and the lack of misogyny indicated by the fact that doing it has no effect on your swagger) pretty sexy too…

Got so many thank yous to all for the education, and for the new worlds to explore. I’ll never be quick enough to get all the gratitude out there. There’s just a few examples in what follows, but I’m grateful for the blog and all the comments.

I’m challenged and having fun as I try to learn new vocabulary and new ways of looking at things from people who study/teach film, gender studies, religion, etc.

I’m definitely a beginner, and with a fifth grade son, I spend a lot of time with elementary school studies. : ) In college, I majored in psychology and biology, and I took lots of math and science, along with as much poetry and English stuff as my slow reading speed would allow. The fields above are whole new worlds to me, though my college roommate could probably help me. She was a graduate student in gender studies, and her dad was a minister in the Church of the Brethren.

Suiting my “lightweight” status, I’ve been thinking of a couple of video interviews. They are from 1997 and 1998, years that really tug at my heart when I think of Mayte and Prince and the paths they went down in the late 1990’s. Not surprisingly, Prince includes the descriptions spirituality/spiritual when characterizing focus of his music.

Penny —

The first video made me especially think of you and something you’d written. It was part of answers you gave to my questions about Christianity. You said, “Louise, you’ve brought up several sincere questions about Christianity, so since I’m (so far) the only admitted practicing Christian on these threads I thought a response might be helpful in light of what we are discussing. Obviously, “Christianity” encompasses a very broad range of belief systems; I can best speak to the (progressive) one I adhere to, which emphasizes listening to the Spirit, using the reason God gave us all, and pretty much a total lack of rules about what anyone can and can’t do beyond focusing on love, compassion and connection. Yes, there is the notion that “Jesus died for the sins of humanity,” but in my church the emphasis of that story is NOT on how bad we are, but how we are loved and we are all OK, even as messed up in our own unique ways as we all obviously are. (I’m feeling challenged to share this because I am SO not trying to witness/preach, which is the last thing Christians like me do…truly, just trying to answer your questions. I have NO agenda about what anyone else’s belief system or spiritual practice should be.).”

I, too, have no agenda. I have many times attended Quaker meeting (went to a college founded by, but no longer officially tied to, Quaker organization), and also Unitarian Universalist services. Given that the Quakers are Christian (vs. UU’s who are many things), I appreciated that the Quaker meeting warmly welcomed agnostics and, from my perspective, didn’t “push” the agnosticism to go away. I appreciated that both groups were not traditionally hierarchical. They both emphasized and honored the reason and light within each individual. Most important, Penny, I thank you for your lack of taking offense, and for your generosity in answering a person with little knowledge of religion. I loved your answers!

Jane —

Paisley’s plants get brief mention in the second video. For me, this is one of many things that call to mind the tendency to unusual “sensory” responsiveness that some researchers/clinicians/everyday folks associate with marvelously unique people. I’ve noticed some of this in working with people with schizophrenia and with autism (but NOT implying any possible category for Prince). And Jane, you mentioned Prince’s savant geniusness. I obviously don’t know much about the workings of the Prince senses, but it’s interesting. You pointed out “stuff Mayte notes about how attuned he was to the emotional/energetic properties of what was going on around him (all of which is also related to the foo foo, the need to make sure the level of stimulus in the environment was perfectly controlled, and the energy of spaces was perfectly modulated around him…(it’s kind of comical and ridiculous when he goes into the delivery room and asks if they can turn the lights down…but I also totally get that about him…”

Also in the second video, there’s some banter about sex and spiritual union. From some of what I’ve read in this blog/comments, it sounds like the back and forth with Mel B. wasn’t just about messing with her, much as Prince did love to mess with people.

One last thing re: the second interview. Sitting here with my pet cats, I can hear Prince’s voice when he tells the name of his pet doves: Majesty and Divinity. Wow…what perfectly Princely names.

Speaking of cats, I love the cat godess mentions. If you see this and have time, does any of that relate to the general feline air of quiet, regal intensity, or to the intense eyes and their languid blinks?

:30 to 1:30 or so

15:30 to 17:00 or so

Zach — I didn’t realize those humongous video boxes would appear. Please delete if it’s a problem, or ask me, and I’ll delete.

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