October 1, 2005

Right wing Bob.

Right Wing Bob got a lot of traffic directed his way as a result of my hotly disputed assertion that "great artists are inherently right wing," and that made him want to give a precise explanation for the point of his site, which may appear to be devoted to the proposition that Bob Dylan is right wing. Officially, then, his site is devoted to:
(a) refuting the long-propagated notion that [Bob Dylan's] work (including the early part of it) belongs to the left, and

(b) making the case that conservatives can find much to cherish and little that attacks their own sensibilities in the work of this great American songwriter. And that is something to say, considering how rarely you could say it about other major pop-culture or rock’n'roll figures.
I haven't read enough of this blog to know, but that sounds as though the writer is a conservative and a longtime Dylan fan, who's probably heard a lot of people say things like "How can you like Dylan? He's a big lefty!" So he found himself wanting to make the argument that Dylan has something to offer righties and got into it enough to make it into a blog.

9 comments:

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whit said...

OMG! How can you devote a website solely to such a pursuit? Get a life man.

Das said...

I've been listening to Richie Haven's version of Dylans "The Times They are a Changin." It is beautiful but the lyrics are pure mid 1960s. That OK because the theme is about today. Sitting up here in Seattle under the buttocks of Jim McDermott I feel revolutionary supporting the president's push to bring freedom to the oppressed; the Leftys (the entire city including all my former friends and family) are dug in like 1930s isolationist reactionaries with hair-trigger hatred of Bush and and vast reservoirs of sympathy for Islamic murderers. We're using the words conservative and liberal the way we used them in the 60s; I think that is wrong. The times they are a changin.

amba said...

Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, the conservative (and innovative) neuropsychiatrist and culture warrior I helped with a book, knew (knows) every word of every lyric of Dylan's. (I don't know if he's kept up with the most recent ones.) That, among other things, suggests that Dylan's vision has transcended simple political divisions for a very long time.

Scott Lemieux said...

Perhaps then we should call the idea that you have to convince yourself that an artist shares your political convictions before you can admire their art "right-wing"...

Ann Althouse said...

Scott: Are you calling me right wing? If so, why? Is it more legitimate to call me right wing than it is to call the attitude of a great artist right wing? Considering that I support abortion rights, gay marriage, the separation of church and state, and that I've voted for Russ Feingold multiple times and am registered as a Democrat, how can you justify making such an outlandish, over-the-top assertion? I'm just trying to get a handle on this term "right wing" that everyone seems to think I've misused.

Robert R. said...

Maybe it's just me, but to "find much to cherish" about Dylan, wouldn't it be easier just to play "Blood on the Tracks" or something like that?

That's not to say that there's no merit to the website or the position that Dylan isn't a "doctrinare left winger", only that the best way to create more fans is to find listeners with open minds and play some good Dylan. Being "open minded" would seem to be the key.

GE Mantel said...

"Right Wing Bob" is a Crock Royale'

He says that Dylan doesn't belong to The Left; then adds that Dylan belongs to all of us. Then launches his campaigns which say "Dylan belongs to all of us ... minus The Left."

He says "I don't speak for Bob Dylan," but his website (and himself) are titled "Right Wing Bob."

He says Dylan never ONCE spoke out against the Vietnam War. BS -- he did so in song (Tombstone Blues) as well as when personally asked ("It's ridiculous," as stated to a reporter in Australia in 1966).

And those are just the things I noticed right away ....

JimB said...

OMG! Ann! Democrat! Voted twice for Feingold! And here I thought you were a rational person.