Bob Dylan? I’m Crushed!

Since then my involvement with Dylan’s music has mostly been limited to explaining what we saw in him. Anyone younger than me has only seen the embarrassing Dylan.

I picked up the paper this morning and went to the opinion pages. I’m so old school.

I was drawn to a piece by Maureen Dowd because of the lead sentence: “Bob Dylan may have done the impossible: broken creative new ground in selling out.”

I remember listening to Dylan on the radio and at my friend Larry Lubsetsky’s apartment back when I was in high school. Youth was pushing back hard against authority and Dylan was our troubadour. I was a huge fan.

Since then my involvement with Dylan’s music has mostly been limited to explaining what we saw in him. Anyone younger than me has only seen the embarrassing Dylan.

It can’t be age. Dylan and Mick Jagger appeared at the Grammy’s this year. Jagger brought the house down. Dylan was awful.

Dowd’s article was triggered by a recent performance in China where he agreed to pass on some of his more controversial songs. She says Dylan, “let the government pre-approve his set.”

That really upset me, but my upset was just beginning.

He can’t really betray the spirit of the ’60s because he never had it. In his memoir, “Chronicles,” he stressed that he had no interest in being an anti-establishment Pied Piper and that all the “cultural mumbo jumbo” imprisoned his soul and made him nauseated.

“I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of,” he said.

I was used!

If you’ve ever been a fan of Bob Dylan you need to read Maureen Dowd today. Be prepared to be crushed. I was.

11 thoughts on “Bob Dylan? I’m Crushed!”

  1. Perhaps being a tad older, I was never drawn to Bob Dylan, and his music. I always thought that he was singing to hear himself sing, not represent a generation of folks. Besides, Dylan may have thought of himself as a poet, but in honesty, he was nothing but somone caught up in the moment of events going on around him. Commercial Dylan?? Believed it from the begining. Sorry Geoff.

  2. I was the opposite of “Big Frank” because I was a bit younger so missed the Bob Dylan, Beatles, Rolling Stones craze for the age of The Monkees, The Partridge Family and Bobby Sherman.

    For the record, I actually enjoyed Bob Dylan on the Grammys because he was performing with Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers.

    I don’t go directly to the Opinions Page but I never not read them…

  3. Geoff you ignorant… It’s been known for decades that Dylan was a “protest singer”. Phil Ochs (who hanged himself in despair) was. Dylan was, and is, a simple navel gazer.

  4. Figured as much.

    I too was a Phil Ochs fan – “Outside a Small Circle of Friends” among other calls to action.

  5. Bob Dylan was a committed activist for social change in the 1960s, participating in civil rights protests in the Deep South at a time when doing so got people killed. No one who hears (or reads) the lyrics of “Blowin in the Wind,” “Hard Rain,” “The Ballad of Hattie Carroll,” “The Times They Are a Changin,” or dozens of other Bob Dylan songs from the 1960s could reasonably claim that the powerful and often angry anti-war and anti-racism messages in the songs are insincere or commercially driven.

    Of course, Dylan rejects the labels of “folk singer” or “protest singer.” He has always seen himself as a musician, not an activist, celebrating and contributing to the American musical tradition in all of it’s manifestations, from folk blues to gospel, to country, to rock and roll.

    I think those who see Dylan as a sell-out or fraud do so because it allows them to feel better for not having participated in the important issues of their time, or for simply not getting Dylan’s music, has always been pretty difficult for most people; in other words, not the kind of music one would make in order to sell out or for commercial success.

    You weren’t being “used” back then, Geoff, although I think you’re being had now.

    Note: the part of my Cousin Michael is actually being played by my Cousin Michael. – Geoff

  6. You should watch the Joan Baez documentary on PBS. It really gives a good look at Dylan back in the flowerchild days. Even back then, he was about the show, and Joan was about the movement. Dylan could draw the crowd, and Joan could spread the word. He was the voice the kids gravitated to, but Joan was saying what they were all thinking.

  7. this level of disappointment can only be achieved when you put too much faith in idols. dylan is just a man after all. what his motives were needn’t have anything at all to do with the good his poetry did to open our minds. “don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meters”

  8. This is a good example of what we “the fans” perceive is not always the truth. I, for one, do not feel betrayed or used. I love Dylan’s music. In my case, I simply enjoy his music more often when it is performed by others. He is who he is…then and now.

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