(SCENE: Liam Branbert and his wife Slainte, midly disheveled, under the covers, smoking cigarettes).
LIAM: “So did the earth move for you?”
SLAINTE: “Sure, a little”.
LIAM: “But did it move in a progressive way, or kind of a conservative way?”
SLAINTE: “Um – I dunno? Why?”
LIAM: IT’S IMPORTANT, DAMMIT!”
Well, on the left, nothing is too absurd.
Which brings us to Brian Lambert’s little poison-pen blog post about Scott Johnson’s observance of Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday.
Other than the melodies, I always wonder how conservative ideologues (ir)rationalize the work of people like Bob Dylan? (Likewise, T-Paw claiming to be a big Springsteen fan.)
For starters, because a great piece of art – I’m talking everything from Bach to Darkness on the Edge of Town – connects with people on a way that is much, much deeper than politics. Although with some on the left, maybe nothing goes deeper than politics.
But I digress. Scott, my friend and former NARN co-host, is as articulate a music critic as there is:
“In his outstanding City Journal essay on Pete Seeger (“America’s most successful Communist”), Howard Husock placed Dylan in the line of folk agitprop in which Seeger took pride of place. Husock’s essay is an important and entertaining piece. Dylan is only a small part of the story Husock has to tell, however, and Husock therefore does not pause long enough over Dylan to observe how quickly Dylan burst the shackles of agitprop, found his voice, and tapped into his own vein of the Cosmic American Music. Looking back on his long career, one can discern his respect for the tradition as well as his ambition to stand at its head. On 1964’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ album, Dylan foreshadowed his break from the folk movement in ‘Restless Farewell,’ the album’s closing song.”
Lambert – for whom Randy Rhodes (the host, not the guitarist) may be the most evocative artist:
By his next birthday I’m guessing Johnson will have transformed Bob into the poet laureate of The Heritage Foundation.
Or – here’s a radical notion, albeit not a Radical one – he’ll enjoy it.