The more deeply one looks into the life and times of Joan Baez, the less she seems to resemble so many historical figures whose portraits frequently emerge as complicated and contradictory, with tentacles sprawling across light, dark, and the liminal shadows.
Often, the only way to make ultimate sense of many lives is to acknowledge their disparate parts, to admit that they don’t always make sense, that there’s frequently a notable split between people’s inner and outer lives. MLK, JFK, Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Steven Jobs—all people that Baez admired deeply—were also flawed characters, leaving a trail of greatness but also pain in their wake.
Say what you want about Baez—and many people have—but the salient aspect or characteristic of her 74 years on this earth, it seems to me, is how all of a piece it appears to be, how singular the thread is that weaves it together.
It is as if she emerged from...Read More