Tuesday, December 06, 2005

White mobs do love their Bobby Dylan

What am I working on? Two things for The Common Ills actually. Hopefully, I'll have at least one completed this week.

In the meantime, have you been following Pop Politics?

There's a fire storm going on. Bernie posts that Bob Dylan is next to godliness and someone doubts that in the comment and it's a fire storm.

Misogynist Dylan's baby boom defenders swarm in on their Little Rascals to holler.

This is the same crowd that booed sinead o'connor at the 30th tribute to Dylan.

Bernie can cream in his shorts over who ever he wants. He can even quote the neocon bible The New Republic. The comments surprise me: a) didn't realize the readers were all baby boomers and kids who wished they were; and b) they can't take a contrary opinion.

You really should read the comments because they're really hilarious.

The one who upset the boomers said that Dylan had done anything in 40 years which is more or less true. By then, he'd stopped ripping off the melodies of folk songs that most people then and now didn't know so they'd talk about what wonderful music Dylan wrote. I always wonder about people who brag about his ability to write music -- does it hurt to be that stupid?

But the defense is hilarious. Dylan got married! And divorced! And he had kids!

With those hips? Don't think so.

What that has to do with art is beyond me but then Dylan hasn't approached art in a little less than 40 years.

This comment's too priceless not to note:

how about becoming a father and husband, going through a divorce, finding a new faith, battling drug addictions, carrying the dylan burden, remarrying, alcoholism, fighting a rare heart disease and constantly touring while releasing around twenty albums....

"Releasing around twenty albums" is the closest the comment has to do with music. (Strange that the children outside of marriage aren't mentioned. But then maybe they don't realize that while he was on his Jews for Jesus trip and preaching the gospel, he was also fathering kids? Reportedly, he married her. I don't remember if it was the second time she was pregnant or after she'd had the second child.)

Dylan's a joke. He was a Buddy Holly wanna be who couldn't mesh with a band and ended up in folk. His best moments were then but it's not as though he wrote any wonderful music and only the musically ignorant would claim otherwise. If I write "Where's The Rain?" and set it to the Lennon & McCartney's music to "Yesterday," I haven't written great music.

That's really why his post folk period is so disappointing.

He's an old man who preaches the apocalypse and has for years. "Drifting Too Far From Shore."
Does anyone pay attention to the "message" these days? He's an old crank.

I can party down with the Wallflowers but Dylan hasn't made it in years. We're all supposed to go "Hey, 'Hurricane' was about something!" But it was a badly written song.

But the same mob that booed Sinead turns out to scream, "Leave our Bobby alone!"

As for Bernie's opinion, he's welcome to it. I disagree. Bright Eyes "When A President Talks To God" is not only a great song, it's a watershed moment. If you can't handle it, how do you handle someone singing "ten dead in Ohio"?

I do, however, worry about anyone that reads The New Republic. (And hat tip and thank you to Rebecca who gifted me with Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege which dispenses with any thoughts that the rag, New Republic, is anything but a conservative bible -- why do you think Fred Barnes and Andrew Sullivan wrote for it? Or how about the fact that they supported every war, not just the current one, although Marty P puts the "P" in PNAC.)

As for the mob, when you're too busy jerking off to the sixties and mythic icons, you may have trouble hearing actual music. You'll also notice that they didn't comment on Ani DiFranco. That's because the mob has a hard time acknowledging women. Rock criticism hasn't fed them women over and over and all they know is what they're told.

"Both Hands" is better lyrically than anything Dylan's written since he went electric. And since Ani actually wrote her music as opposed to stealing from a folk song, she's also a better music writer than Dylan.

As for the rap claims, I went to a rap lover there. I asked Cedric, "The Roots, Dylan influenced?"

After he stopped laughing, he told me that he couldn't think of any Dylan influenced rapper though he feels the White press likes to push that notion.

It's like that laughable moment in Dangerous Minds when Michelle Pfeiffer teaches the kids Dylan. They would have booed her out of the room. Which is why in the actual person that the movie's based upon, LouAnne Johnson's (who wrote My Posse Don't Do Homework) used rap, not Bob Dylan.

Cedric's right. The White world needs to believe that Bob Dylan means something to everyone because they've invested so much in him.

Two suggested reads, Cedric's "Collaborative working" which takes a look at what goes into turning out a new edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review and C.I.'s "NYT: 'U.S. Interrogations Are Saving European Lives, Rice Says' (Joel Brinkley)."