Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dowd Blows In Dylan's Wind

In "Dylan's new tune in China," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd gives the ancient folk singer a good swift kick in the pants.
"Bob Dylan may have done the impossible: broken creative new ground in selling out."
Dowd's pit-bull attack on the icon-legend is obviously an attempt to smear any "good feelings" baby-boomers and aging hippies may have about the troubador.

Here is my simple but solid response to Dowd's doo-doo:"It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains." ~ Thomas H. Huxley

Truth be told, if you were Bob Dylan, wouldn't you rather be on your way home with a pocketful of coins than otherwise detained in a place you would rather not be? Back to Dowd's piece:
"A 22-year-old Dylan did walk off “The Ed Sullivan Show” when CBS censors told him he couldn’t sing “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues.”

But he’s the first to admit he cashes in.

David Hajdu, the New Republic music critic, says the singer has always shown a tension between “not wanting to be a leader and wanting to be a celebrity.”

In Hajdu’s book, “Positively 4th Street,” Dylan is quoted saying that critics who charged that he’d sold out to rock ’n’ roll had it backward.

“I never saw myself as a folksinger,” he said. “They called me that if they wanted to. I didn’t care. I latched on, when I got to New York City, because I saw (what) a huge audience there was. I knew I wasn’t going to stay there. I knew it wasn’t my thing. ... I became interested in folk music because I had to make it somehow.”

“Folk music,” he concluded, “is a bunch of fat people.” "
So I guess Bobby D is fat and happy? More power to him!



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15 comments:

  1. I stopped being a mild Dylan fan at about the time I realized that there was an industry behind all of the recorded music that had a vested interest in hoodwinking young people( I was about 18). The fact that Bob Dylan could even release songs of protest meant that he was receiving approval from the Pop Industry, which is as conservative as they get. This is, to refer to the right critic, the dialectics of enlightenment. With that realization, most idols fell, and so did the pop industry. These mass concerts for the poor and disaffected, Geldorf, etc.. nothing but noisy hype in the end. Concert for Bangladesh? I think Balngladesh is still waiting for the proceeds, while the white vultures discuss rights and cents....
    We will help our fellow humans in our nation and abroad more by being generous, kind-hearted, by controlling our use of resources and for goodness sakes by voting for candidates who are honestly ethical.

    As for Dylan, he is a moneymaker, and has been laughing all the way to the bank since day one. His lyrics have teenager appeal, but his quirky metaphors are quickly jaded and easily immitable, by the way. Artistically, he has never progressed. He has maintained the woozy sound, but there is no fire there at all, he is cruel to his fans, in short, he is a manure artist. So his routine in China is just in bad taste for me, it is kowtowing to a monstrous regime, a kind of more colorful North Korea, but he probable has investments in the country and it behoves him to give the monstrous bureaucrats there some legitimacy. Like most rich people, he has no moral or ethical compass.

    I love classical music anyway, but in the more popular field, let me just mention Tom Waits as someone who manages to create special music, sounds, lyrics that make our brains go "ding" every now and then. In the Soviet Union, there was the famous Vladimir Vyssotzky, also a real speaker for the people.

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  2. So much of American culture is just a front for seeking the main chance. Bob Dylan and many of his ilk were interested in making piles of money through selling records and had hit upon a winning strategy. I suspect that many of the current icons of the Right like Glenn Back are just more Bob Dylans. They've got a good money thing going for themselves and will exploit it so long as it produces the gild. Shallow people, shallow culture. A few years down the road the buying public will be interested in a different flavour of tooth paste.

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  3. I'm really glad that the Beijing elite went to see Bob Dylan. What Maureen Dowd has confirmed is what many Americans people my age (61 and a progressive Democrat!) have know for a very long time:
    he's a common American huckster, his lyrics are mindless, and his music banal. That anyone could think anything else is a sad reflection on American culture. As a country we are too easily led in entertainment - and politics - if there is a difference anymore.

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  4. I never liked Dylan anyway. What's next? Old Jewish folksongs on CD?

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  5. Here are some of the replies posted by commentators on the New York Times website: http://breningstall.typepad.com/breningstall-on-typepad/2011/04/replies-to-maureen-dowds-blowin-in-the-idiot-wind-bobdylan-maureendowd-dylaninchina.html.

    ReplyDelete
  6. THAT PIC OF SEBASTIAN CABOT SAYS IT ALL, BRO!

    HEEEEELARIOUS!

    ReplyDelete
  7. O how far has the hero of the red diaper doper babies fallen!

    ReplyDelete
  8. http://copyrightlitigation.blogspot.com/2011/04/fair-use-fridays-rebecca-black-bob.html

    ReplyDelete
  9. As Steve Miller once sang. "Go on...take the money and run."

    ReplyDelete
  10. U GOTTA LOTTA NERVE TO SAY YOU ARE MY FREND

    ReplyDelete
  11. The co-incidence of these two pieces struck me as particularly interesting for what they say about the boomer generation.

    Blowin’ in the Idiot Wind - NYTimes.com

    We Don't Know The Language We Don't Know - NYRB.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. The film I'm Not There gives a good picture of the chameleon character of Dylan.

    I would prefer to sharpen your characterization of Dowd:

    It wasn't a kick in the pants. She kicked him in the balls, and he deserved it!

    I like Maureen Dowd, she is a "ballsy" lady who speaks truth to power and has a wonderfully catty way with language.

    ReplyDelete
  13. TROUBADOR?

    I THINK YOU MEAN JEW-BADOR!

    ReplyDelete


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