Friday, July 25, 2008

The Garden of Allah

"The Garden of Allah" is a new song on Don Henley’s greatest hit disc Actual Miles: Henley's Greatest Hits. I came out in 1995 and is presented as a modern-day tale where Satan, presumably visiting the site of the Garden of Allah resort in West Hollywood, California, discovers he has become superfluous and obsolete. Mankind has perfected evil and no longer needs his help to promulgate it.

The hotel doesn’t get it’s name from the god of islam, but rather from an openly lesbian actress named Alla Nazimova who was the original owner. It became notorious for the wild parties allegedly held there by Nazimova.

The Garden of Allah became home to many celebrities and literary figures including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Benchley, Aldus Huxley, and Sheilah Graham who wrote a book about the place.

In spite of the fact that it was among the landmark buildings of the west side of Los Angeles, it was torn down in June 1959 and replaced by a bank.

You can find out more about the hotel resort here

The lyrics of the song have become quite prophetic as we look at our national society today.

“The Garden of Allah” by Don Henley
(Satan’s words in quotes)

It was a pretty big year for fashion
A lousy year for rock and roll
The people gave their blessings to crimes of passion
It was a dark, dark night of the collective soul
I was somewhere out on Riverside
By the El Royale Hotel
When a stranger appeared in a cloud of smoke
I thought I knew him all too well

He said "Now that I have your attention
I got somethin' I wanna say
You may not want to hear it
I'm gonna tell it to you anyway
You know, I've always liked you, boy
'Cause you were not afraid of me
But things are gonna get mighty rough
Here in Gomorrah-By-The-Sea"

He said "It's just like home
It's so damn hot, I can't stand it
My fine seersucker suit is all soakin' wet"

And all the hills are burning
The wind is raging
And the clock strikes midnight
In the Garden of Allah

"Nice car.........
I love those meticulous
Y'know, I remember a time when things were a lot more
Fun around here
When good was good, and evil was evil
Before things got so.........fuzzy
I was once a golden boy like you
And I was summoned to the halls of power in the heavenly court
And I dined with the deities who looked upon me with favor
For my talents; my creativity
And we sat beneath the palms in the warm afternoons
And drank the wine with Fitzgerald and Huxley

And They pawned a biting phrase
From tongues hot with blood
And drained their pens of bitter ink
Vainly reaching for the bottle full of empty Edens
Branded especially for the ones
Who had come with great expectations
To the perfumed halls of Allah
For their time in the sun”

We were stokin' the fires
And oilin' up the machinery
Until the gods found out we had ideas of our own

And the war was coming
The earth was shaking
And there was no more room
In the Garden of Allah

"Today I made an appearance downtown
I am an expert witness, because I say I am
And I said, 'Gentleman....and I use that word loosely....
I will testify for you
I'm a gun for hire, I'm a saint, I'm a liar
Because there are no facts, there is no truth
Just data to be manipulated
I can get any result you like
What's it worth to ya?
Because there is no wrong, there is no right
And I sleep very well at night
No shame, no solution
No remorse, no retribution
Just people selling T-shirts
Just opportunity to participate in the pathetic little circus
And winning… winning… winning…"

It was a pretty big year for predators
The marketplace was on a roll
And the land of opportunity
Spawned a whole new breed of men without souls
This year, notoriety got all confused with fame
And the devil is downhearted
Because there's nothing left for him to claim

He said "It's just like home
It's so low-down, I can't stand it
I guess my work around here has all been done"

And the fruit is rotten
The serpent's eyes shine
As he wraps around the vine
In the Garden of Allah

There used to be a time when good was good and evil was evil and we ALL knew where it could be easily defined. But since radical judges have allowed the rule of law to become “fuzzy,” people have learned to rely on their own understanding of good and evil.

Furthermore, as long as people in today’s society can make money off of anything without having to face the moral and ethical ramifications, then society will continue to decline.

What do we do?
First, pray to God for His guidance and be sure to live a life that glorifies Him.
Second, don’t buy into what the world deems as right. Set a standard for yourself and those around you that raises the bar so you don’t get sucked into that mire of degradation.
Third, get involved in the political process. Be sure to promote and vote for candidates who live and work with a duty to morality. AND THEN BE SURE TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE TO THAT STANDARD!

At the 1982 World’s fair, Ronald Reagan said it best with, “Our principles have not failed us. Too many times, we have failed to live up to our principles.”

It’s time for us to strive to reach and live up to those principles that make this country great and refuse to acquiesce to the lowest common denominator simply because it’s the simplest thing to do.

We ALL have to strive to make the devil work harder.

You can watch a poor quality version of Henley’s video for the song here

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