(AoD)Laurie Anderson / Big Science / 1981

O Souverain” was a prayer to “the sovereign” in the 3rd Act of Massenet’s Le Cid opera from 1885. Anderson used this powerful operatic statement as a starting point for her chilling attack on U.S. foriegn policy with O Superman. Giving Anderson’s spoken-word delivery and lyric a powerful subtext.

The album title begs an interesting question, What is “Big Science“? The answer is interesting. Big Science is a term coined after WWII by the scientific community in those…”industrialized nations”. You know the ones. The cost of research had become so overwhelming that independent medical institutions could no longer afford to provide the funding. Leaving only the deep pockets of national governments and corporations as funders.

In other words, the revenue stream for scientific research projects became more and more dependent on the deep pockets of an economic system built on profit over discovery. Permanently, changing the trajectory of science among those “industrialized nations”. Let the implications of that thought set as we face a globel enviromental meltdown. Big Science is Big Business.

O Superman: This is the hand, the hand that takes. Here come the planes. Made in America. Smoking or non-smoking? And the voice said; Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift / Completion of their appointed rounds / Cause when love is gone / There’s always justice / And when justice is gone / There’s always force / And when force is gone / There’s always Mom / Hi Mom! / So hold me, Mom, in your long arms / So Hold me, Mom, in your long arms / In your automatic arms / Your electronic arms / In your arms / So hild me, Mom, in your long arms / Your petrochemical arms / Your military arms.