[lbo-talk] MoDo on Dylan

Max Sawicky sawicky at verizon.net
Sun Apr 10 07:50:49 PDT 2011


I don't usually read her but the headline caught me. Summary: Dylan sells out by playing a pre-approved set list in the PRC.

Funniest line, attributed to Dylan: "Folk music is a bunch of fat people."

(For the sake of concise, I ignore the irony of MoDo accusing someone else of selling out.)

By MoDo, Dylan has always opportunistically embraced whatever access he was afforded to make it professionally, first folk music, then activism, not believing in a bit of it.

As someone deeply involved in his music since forever, I don't quite believe this. Dylan has made it clear he doesn't want to be appropriated by anyone else or reduced to any particular cliché. Nor does he want to get drawn but so far into any causes.

The music & lyrics are what they are, whatever you think about their source. What is clear is he likes to perform and maintain some kind of connection with an audience. I would say his choice of audience is his politics. Back when there was some kind of boycott of South Africa, Linda Ronstadt said it would be better "to get rock and roll in there." I would say the same thing about the PRC, which will not be able to insulate itself from Dylan by censoring a handfull of his songs. Quite the opposite, I would think.

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