No, I'm not doing a theme day here on the blog, although as I set out this morning, I felt I'd left behind three posts that look like a theme: blogging/vlogging... blahhh! I'm not doing that. I keep telling myself not to blog about blogging too much.
But I had to make fun of those bloggers who gravitated to Clinton's lunch. It made me think of this video clip a reader sent me yesterday, with President Bush standing intimidatingly close to Matt Lauer and repeatedly making stabbing finger-pointing gestures at him. I like the way Lauer wasn't the slightest bit cowed. I want nervy bloggers who stand up to powerful politicos, not folks who gush about their charm and hospitality and how good they made their ideas sound.
But I lit out before I could dispel the impression that I had a theme day going, because I wanted to take the long way driving into work and listen to "Theme Time Radio With Bob Dylan." What was the theme? For the first time, there wasn't a precisely articulated theme like flowers or the devil or baseball. It was something about traveling all over the map. The first song was the city-naming song "I've Been Everywhere" -- which made me assume, incorrectly, that the most obvious city-naming song, "Route 66," would come up later. Sometimes Bob acted as if the theme was cities. There were songs about Chicago and Tulsa and Jackson and Knoxville. But not every song had a city name. There was "Jersey Girl" and "Hawaiian Cowboy" and "Stars Fell on Alabama." So what exactly was the theme? As the show was ending, under Dylan's closing remarks, we heard a mellow, evocative guitar rendering of "America, the Beautiful."
I think the theme was "America," but a decision was made to be subtle about it. Was anything said about 9/11? No, no, nothing at all. But I thought it was very interesting that Bob chose to play a song about the great Baltimore fire of 1904 and then took the time to quote what the mayor, Robert McLane, said at the time, when offers of help poured in: "As head of this municipality, I cannot help but feel gratified by the sympathy and the offers of practical assistance which have been tendered to us. To them I have in general terms replied, 'Baltimore will take care of its own, thank you.'" And: "To suppose that the spirit of our people will not rise to the occasion is to suppose that our people are not genuine Americans. We shall make the fire of 1904 a landmark not of decline but of progress."
Did he mean to imply something about New Orleans and New York City today? Was there a subtle political message to extract?