Thursday, September 29, 2005

Zimmerman: I'll skip the Dylan lecture. It's all there in the FauxPolitik archives. I'll just say this: The "Dylan" generation is unwilling to admit that this guy's stuff made a lot of sense in the midst of LSD's claw-like grip on the reasoning centers of the brain, but not so much 30-40 years down the road.

At best, I'm willing to grant him an exception on the basis of my "Bringing Up Baby" rule, which states that a modern audience cannot be expected to recognize everything that was groundshaking, rulebreaking, or just plain new in a cultural artifact. Even so, within the folk tradition, he was certainly pretty mainstream until he rocked out. One could argue, in fact, that his only genuine innovation occurred when he did plug his goddamn guitar in and drove the folkies nuts.

He was a minor, overrated talent, and represented a victory of public desires and perception over actual musical/literary skill.

The baby boomers keep the Dylan flame alive because, naturally, everything from their generation is the apotheosis of cultural experience. But the groovy, Woodstock-y, nascent "no-nukes" spirit that they all remember so fondly is not the defining moment of the generation. Elvis integrating rock and roll would be less of a stretch, or Little Richard and Chuck Berry integration radio airplay and record sales, or four musically uneducated Liverpudlians completely rewriting the rules of pop music. But more likely, it would be the rise of so-called corporate rock. Or disco. This was the generation, after all, that moved into early middle age to the sounds of Bread, the Bee Gees, and "Hooked on Classics."


  • Note to self: stay away from golf around Flyer, and now Dylan around Eno.

    By Blogger Razor, at 1:37 PM  

  • And this was Eno skipping the lecture...

    By Blogger Razor, at 1:40 PM  

  • Yeah, you don't want the long version.

    By Blogger enobarbus, at 2:04 PM  

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