Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bob Dylan: Scion of the Establishment, Spokesman for the Religious Right

Bob Dylan has fooled us all.

He is not the patron saint of counterculture. He is not the human equivalent of flipping the Man the bird. And, my friends, he is not indie rock.

Bob Dylan is mainstream America, through and through.

When Dylan released Modern Times several weeks ago, it shot to Number One on the Billboard Music Charts. You wanna know how he did it? Just like any other pop star does - he pushed it. And with damn clever marketing, too.

As this week's issue of Rolling Stone notes, Dylan pushed the album on an iTunes commercial:

He pushed it with a music video starring It- Girl Scarlett Johannson:

He pushed it on a MySpace page. And he pushed it (gasp!) in Starbucks.

Yes, friends...Bob Dylan went corporate on us. And dammit, I'm glad he did. Does this mean he's a sell out? Absolutely not. Does it mean that his business acumen is as savvy as his song-writing? Perhaps. Does it mean that he owns the punks and the suits? You better believe it.

On a similar note, this week's Weekly Standard features a fantastic analysis of Bob Dylan's politics. Author Sean Curnyn concludes that Dylan has never been as Leftist as the Left wanted him to be. Depite penning myriad songs about war and injustice (most of which were released well before the escalation in Vietnam), Dylan never made a public anti-war statement. He never endorsed a political candidate, never played at a political rally,never sang about impeaching the president, never pontificated about when the president talks to God, and never went on tour with the words "Vote," "for," or "Change" in its title. Curnyn also notes that in Dylan's memoir Chronicles, Dylan says his favorite politician of the 1960s was Barry Goldwater. The final strain of Curnyn's thesis may be the kicker, though. He offers a quote from Dylan's new song When the Deal Goes Down and suggests (convincingly) that the song proclaims a staunch faith in God. Dylan is, after all, a born-again Christian. Just like George W. Bush.

Dylan the Corporate non-Leftist Christian? Who woulda thunk it? Man, solidarity just took a huge hit.


Blogger GE Mantel said...

"Right Wing Bob" is a total joke.

Sean provides daily love letter to himself and tries to convey that "Bob Dylan thinks so, too!"

Sean says he doesn't speak for Bob Dylan but look at the title of his website (as well as himself) ... "Right Wing Bob."

Sean says that Dylan doesn't belong to The Left but rather, he belongs to ALL of us. Eventually Sean manages to tweak this to say, "Bob Dylan belongs to ALL of us, minus The Left." (Huh?)

Sean "picks and chooses" as he pleases to make things fit into a preconceived idea about Bob Dylan (and the world) which just doesn't add up.

And he outright lies -- for instance, Sean will tell you that Bob Dylan never ... NOT ONCE ... spoke out against the Vietnam War, which is ABSOLUTELY untrue.

I tried to contact Sean about some of these matters but apparently Whimpy is out paying for last Tuesday's hamburger.

9:57 AM  

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