Vatican Culture Minister Tweets Lou Reed Tribute, Downplays The Whole Heroin Thing

Vatican Culture Minister Tweets Lou Reed Tribute, Downplays The Whole Heroin Thing

This tribute to Lou Reed is several kinds of sweet:

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican’s 71-year-old culture minister, paid his own tribute on Monday to the late rocker Lou Reed, tweeting one of his best-known songs before clarifying he was not condoning any reference to drugs some have seen in the song.

Ravasi, an Italian who is the same age as Reed was when he died on Sunday, tweeted the third verse from Reed’s song “Perfect Day”.

“Oh, it’s such a perfect day/I’m glad I spent it with you/Oh, such a perfect day/You just keep me hanging on”.

The song can be read as a love song, although what with it being a Lou Reed song, the “you” could just as well be heroin as a friend or lover. Or maybe it’s just a nice song about going to the zoo and feeding the animals. As Darach McGarrigle put it a few years back,

We can’t say with complete certainty that “Perfect Day” is about heroin use, but Lou Reed only really wrote two types of songs: songs about heroin and songs about transvestites. And it’s not about a transvestite.

On the other hand, if you choose to read it without all that stuff, “Perfect Day” is also a beautiful romance song. About someone deeply in love.

(In love with heroin.)

Anyway, Ravasi later clarified that he did not mean to condone drug use, and he

tweeted a Bible passage that warns against “illusions” and noted that Reed quoted from the passage when he spoke in the song about reaping what one sows.

And just how awesome is it that this guy is the Vatican’s Culture Minister?

Ravasi is a Bible expert who represents the Roman Catholic Church to the worlds of art, culture, science and even to atheists and says he is a firm believer in the power of contemporary culture.

Wonder if he’s heard that awesome little song the Beatles did about a little girl’s colorful drawing? It’s called “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

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  • johnnymeatworth

    Everyone knows the Vatican’s favorite song about smack is “Slow Death” by the Flamin’ Groovies.And godspeed Lou.

    • Vecchiojohn

      I heard Francis is partial to “Too Drink to Fuck.”

  • Farb

    Condolences to Laurie Anderson.

  • el_donaldo

    Yeah, it’s not about heroin. The funny thing, though, is that people do tend to hear it as being a love song, ignoring the refrain at the end and the self-loathing at the heart of it. It’s a lovely song, but it’s also really, really depressing.

  • (((JustPixelz)))

    Everyone knows sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll don’t mix.

  • kindness

    A Perfect Day was nice for the last Velvet’s album but I prefer Sweet Jane.

  • Come here a minute

    He also wrote some great stuff about cancer!

  • Nixon, etc.

    Some dude in a dress goes on and on about Lou Reed…plus ça change, etc. (wonkitz zinger dbl-post!)

  • x111e7thst

    Oh pardon me sir, it’s the furthest from my mind I’m just lookin’ for a dear, dear friend of mine From Mr. Reed’s musings on the nature of agape..

  • Tallmutha

    Uh, I think this is weird. I never heard that ANYONE thought the song was about heroin before it was used in Trainspotting, where the jaw-dropping beauty of its appositeness arose partly from the unexpectedness of its perfection in that context. Nothing in the original song made that connection; that’s why its use in the film was genius.However, it’s not weirder than people thinking “Perfect Day” is a wholesome song of romantic love perfect for weddings. It’s about unhealthy obsession, recrimination and self-hatred. The narrator is so abject before his idealized love object, so sure that this narcissist he prostrates himself before holds the key to making him think of himself as “someone else, someone good,” that just a simple day of uncomplicated togetherness sends him into tsunamis of ecstasy even while he fully knows that the bastard “just keeps him hanging on” and will cheat on him next chance he gets.Ann Powers referred to the song as Lou Reed’s own “Hallelujah,” and that seems right: It’s a song beloved by about 1,000 people for every single person who has the slightest clue what it’s about.

  • hellslittlestangel

    I hope Jesus helps Ravasi find his proper place.