No slander ever accused Bob Dylan of being a “conservative” as we know the meaning of the term.
In the early 1960s he was a “Liberal” kid-philosopher/poet, just a few years older than me. But was he really of the Left? After all, Dylan was a Civil Rights poet who seems to have actually believed his own stuff. And still does. Moreover, it seems, while the Left used the “religion” of black Americans as a prop in those days, Bob instead took their religion on as his own for awhile, and today continues to be shrouded in the tallit of prayer. Not a very Left wing thing to do, you’ll have to admit.
I never liked Bob Dylan’s singing. In fact, he couldn’t sing worth a damn. He had a gravelly voice that gave me a headache. But I loved his lyrics, only better when someone else sang them, people such as Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez and Judy Collins. And he wasn’t real handsome as singing stars go. His dress? Ugh! Worse, what it represented, which was an unwashed, uncombed smelly menagerie of children…my exact age then…who insisted that I was an establishment conformist in my button down madras shirt while they were free spirited non-conformists in their tie-dyes and seedy dungarees…only to be caught red-handed by Madison Avenue while standing in line to buy, New, Off-the-Rack dirty shirts and jeans, designed and manufactured to look as if they if had just fallen off the back of a UNICEF truck in Gambia, only costing $24.95 instead of the usual 3-for-a-dollar down at Goodwill.
This beat goes on, you know, not unlike many bloggers today. Looking seedy is expensive. PT Barnum was right. There’s a sucker (and phony) born every minute.
In two-three short years these armies were wearing “uniforms” just like me, which told me far more about them than all their recitations of Marxian dialectics, interspersed with incantations of “Yeah, man”, combined.
And I decided not to be one of them. Although a liberal, I hadn’t taken complete leave of my (common) senses, for try as I might, I could not draw a straight line between fighting to give the vote to black people in the South, who, since I lived there, I knew to wear suits, white shirts and ties, and sitting around in dirty hovels like howler monkeys picking nits out of each others’ hair. And gad! Although I was bedazzled for a few weeks at the sight of an un-encased breast, I soon came to understand why God had invented the brassiere, since in femininist breastdom, at least 80% of them were in dire need of support. No wonder the Germans laughingly called them Floppenschtoppers. Ever time I hear “Going Up the Country” (Canned Heat) I get a cold shudder up my spine.
Now I’m not the first conservative to comment that the Left long since abandoned the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “freedom” music. Take “In The Wind’s”
“How many years must some people exist
Before they’re allowed to free”
Who believes that on the Left today? Or even in 1980?
The “Times are A’Changing” has even become a theme song for several Tea Party groups. Again I like Peter, Paul & Mary’s version, who interestingly were Christian, practicing Jew and atheist respectively.
I’m not a student of Dylan’s music but could cite several lines from his “freedom music” that the Left abandoned as soon as they came into daddy’s money, or got seniority in the English Department. His anti-war music still “rocks” among the uninitiated Left, only since Roe V Wade, it’s long since lost any anti-death theme. It seems the Left is opposed to only certain kinds of death, while Dylan, much like Roman Catholics, had a thing about killing all things, not just the enemies of the United States (and freedom) on battlefields around the world. And while I might disagree with this view, I always admire people who mean what they say. (That’s why I get along so well with “real” communists.)
Lenin once said that religion was the opiate of the masses. But he didn’t say that it couldn’t be spoon-fed to people to keep them on the plantation.
Since Dylan didn’t sing other people’s music, he never sang religious music in the old days. But in the late 70’s, after composing one of the sexiest songs ever, “Lay, Lady, Lay” Bob Dylan up and got born again. Mind you, he didn’t “find God” or have a “personal revelation” as one might try to find God hiding about in an Anglican chapel in England; he was born again, knocked-down-to-his- knees saved. A few years later he became a Jew again but still a practicing one…a return to his roots, and who can argue with that? He’s never left God.
But some interesting things happened along the way.
The Left left him…
….telling us nothing about Bob Dylan, mind you, but proving everything about the Left, which sadly, very few African Americans know.
I only wish they could know this.
You see, when Bob Dylan “got saved” in 1979, for 2-3 years all his music was religious. He even refused to play old standards at concerts. He was a missionary of his new found faith. The Left’s retreat from Dylan was based entirely on this religiosity. It started out as a planned withdrawal, deftly and subtly going after Dylan “bitter clingers” music critics and serious fans (his first album was a huge success, interestingly titled “Slow Train Coming”), but by the mid-80s this had turned into a full scale retreat more like Napoleon at Moscow, where only the chosen survived. Pro-Dylan careers were dashed, and pro-Dylan fans were excoriated in all the places only music aficionados go. The Left’s love for Bob Dylan had turned to icicles, and in the music business, as we saw when no less than Tipper Gore tried to take on the rap-masters at Time-Warner, the Left and plantation politics call the shots.
During the 1960s, every folk singer or group, except Bob Dylan, had a musical repertoire that included religious music that was predominantly associated with the black community and the Civil Rights movement. I’ve collected it for years. Civil Rights and Religion and folk music were joined at the hip. “We Shall Overcome”, “All My Trials Lord”, and an assortment of folk songs, before “Negro spiritual” had fallen into disfavor, all about the bondage of the Children of Israel which black Americans identified with in their history stemming back to the days of slavery up to the Civil Rights days.
I’d give worlds if some Republicans would go back and listen to some of those songs…BECAUSE THEY WERE OUR SONGS, Martin Luther King, Jr’s, (a Republican’s) songs, and not the songs of these filthy unwashed nit-picking howler monkeys in the Democrat Party and the plantation trustees like James Clyburn, Jessee Jackson and Jeremiah Wright.
Some things never change, so, carpe diem!
Bob Dylan brought all this to light. I’m just reporting it, and why I am reporting is that I just bought a new car which came with a free 90 day subscription to XM radio and the only station my wife and I could agree on was the folk music station, which, for the first time since 1964, I recognized as being as Leftist and sick as it probably was way back then…only then I didn’t know any better.
Go Tell It On the Mountain