>At the risk of alienating the Dylan fans on the list (I know there are a
>few), I've just *got* to ask... What do people see in Dylan?
Let me preface this by saying I'm certainly no Dylan fan.
Bob Dylan is a poet. In modern times we don't particularly value poets in
the same way as they did in the eras of Alexander Pope, John Donne, and
Samuel Pepys. It's pretty tough to make a living as a poet these days.
For a poet there're really two ways to keep doing your work if you'd like
to buy that Audi with the V6 engine and Leather Bucket Seats: One, you can
start writing books, which are tangible enough to sell in stores; Two, you
can hook up with a bunch of long-haired studio musicians and start jamming.
As a singer, Bob Dylan sucks -- but in the vacuum that existed after the
Jack Kerouac / Beat scene Dylan became the voice of a decade, inspiring the
works of guys like Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, and Norman Mailer.
He is culturally significant, and I suppose it's conjecture to suggest that
the people who swoon as he gets wheeled out onto the stage on a dolly for
his one song per night tend to reminisce about days when he was the leader
of the rebellion. Much like listening to a CD in your car is enriched by
the experience of seeing the band play the same songs live, seeing Dylan
play live is enriched by the experience of having read his work or watching
him sit cross-legged on some railroad tracks as the US Military tries to
haul a bunch of MX missiles onto the Nellis AFB Range.
In Canada, where everyone in the entertainment industry is "like" someone
in Hollywood, we have Leonard Cohen. He couldn't sing his way out of a
paper bag. Two years ago we gave him a Juno ("like" a Grammy) for Best
Male Recording Artist. This brings to light the fact that in Canada,
there's a third option: Federal Government grants.
At least you're not paying for Dylan.
Ian Andrew Bell firstname.lastname@example.org
BCTEL Interactive (604) 482-5708
"Make it idiot proof and someone will make a better idiot."