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Joni Mitchell: Big Yellow Taxi

Of all of today’s jaw-dropping political insanities, the fact-free, capricious dismissal of climate change strikes me as the most destructive and short-sighted. We can’t lose time, we can’t blame it on China, we can’t just tweet it away. I’ve been thinking obsessively about this Joni Mitchell classic for the past few days—“Big Yellow Taxi,” a cheerful tune with a sharp, still-timely environmental message. I first heard it when I was at college. Joni was a star by then, but for reasons I shall never understand she did a few nights at a little coffee-house in New Haven. I grabbed a friend and went to hear her. She came over to our table after the show and shared a few words with us—a very unpretentious, unguarded person at that time, amazingly sweet. In this video you can see the Joni I met that night, doing one of the songs she sang. I had hoped that “Big Yellow Taxi” would sound dated by now. Alas, it is as fresh and necessary as it was 46 years ago.

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