January 30, 2016

France drops hate speech charge against Bob Dylan but not because it doesn't think his speech was a crime.

The charges were only dismissed because Dylan was speaking to the U.S. edition of Rolling Stone interview to the U.S. and did not expressly agree to publication in the French edition.  Prosecutors may go after the publisher of the French edition. [NOTE: I read this as news. First I'd noticed, but it's from April 2014.]

I blogged about the charges, here, back in 2013. Dylan was responding to the question "Do you see any parallels between the 1860s and present-day America?" And he gave the following answer, within which I've boldfaced the words that led to the complaint:

Mmm, I don't know how to put it. It's like . . . the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The USA wouldn't give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that's what it really was all about.

This country is just too fucked up about color. It's a distraction. People at each other's throats just because they are of a different color. It's the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.

It's doubtful that America's ever going to get rid of that stigmatization. It's a country founded on the backs of slaves. You know what I mean? Because it goes way back. It's the root cause. If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today. Whoever invented the idea "lost cause . . . ." There's nothing heroic about any lost cause. No such thing, though there are people who still believe it.

40 comments:

Bay Area Guy said...

It is an incredible testament to the subtle triumph of LeftWing ideology that "charges" were even contemplated for Dylan's rambling comments. Bye-bye, Europe.

rcocean said...

I know we're supposed to respond by attacking France's fascist hate speech laws. But I was more struck by what an odd person Dylan is. He's asked about parallels between the 1860s and today and he goes off on some weird attack on white bigotry and slavery. The historical illiteracy is astounding.

And Jews can smell Nazi blood? Wow. That must have come in handy during WW2.

traditionalguy said...

Prosecuting Speech Crimes sounds so much like an American University. The French are just mad. If they have to fermez la bouche to suck up to Muslims, then Les Americans have to too.

Rob said...

It's a victory for free expression and common sense, but I can't help being disappointed we won't have a chance to hear Dylan testify. Can you even imagine?

chickelit said...

C'est fromage

Fernandinande said...

United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery.

Not really. Lincoln destroyed a large part of the country to save it:

"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. … What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union.”

mccullough said...

If the US never had slavery there would be almost no blacks in the US. Interesting that Dylan thinks it would have been better if slavery had been given up peacefully. Wouldn't the US be a lot further ahead if it never had slavery in the first place?

n.n said...

The only crime committed was reinforcing the belief in inherited sin. The destructive policies that pollute the landscape today were born in that ideology, and have been indoctrinated through progressive corruption, popular education, chauvinist movements, etc.

Fernandinande said...

More complete version:

"I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was." If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views."

Michael K said...

Confirms my opinion of Dylan, and most entertainers, that he is an idiot.

I don't even like his music. Strange Baby Boomer psychology.

traditionalguy said...

That Zimmerman guy, I guess he just did not know what a great system slave labor can be for the Owners and their trusted Overseers.

Alex said...

Michael K - try some Dream Theater and King Crimson.

Curious George said...

Who sucks more...Bob Dylan, or France. Let's call it a tie.

Michael K said...

"try some Dream Theater and King Crimson."

I prefer this to Dylan and most rockers.

SteveR said...

I'm 58 and have enjoyed Dylan's music for a long time. I find him lyrically creative and I sing badly enough to feel ok singing along. Does not mean I know about, much less care about, his intellect or politics. People care about that? I can't imagine why. Care about the people you vote for, or who your neighbors vote for. A singer?

n.n said...

Michael K:

Classic.

Modern music presumes to direct its listener in the same manner as modern theater. The most enduring art resonates when it leaves something to the imagination. It's improved when it evokes optimistic feelings about life, the universe, and everything.

walter said...

Right now we contain this level of attempted speech control to the academic side of Two Americas...for now.

William said...

Dylan did not achieve fame and wealth by means of his analytic discourse.. They should permit speech like this to collapse under the weight of its own crap.........His protest of the Nazis is framed in Nazi logic. My mother's grandmother, the one who moved to America, was Jewish. The rest of her family was German. Who smelled who?........From what I've read, the American slaves were somewhat better off than the Russian serfs. The slaves didn't get forty acres and a mule, but, on the other hand, they didn't have to labor for several generations after emancipation to pay for the cost of it. The serf owners had an absolute right to beat their serfs to death. They took advantage of this privilege freely. They used the knout. As an instrument of abuse this was a far crueler weapon than the cat o nine tails........After the Revolution, the former serfs were herded onto collective farms where they suffered more abuse, malnutrition, and outright starvation. There have never been any protest songs about the scumbag revolutionaries who caused them to perish......,There have been many great crimes in the history of humanity, but only some of them merit protest songs and Hollywood movies.

Ken B said...

"The odor my friend
Is blowin' in the wind
The Croat stink is blowin' in the wind"

Ambrose said...

In related news, the French still love Jerry Lewis because he asks you with a grin if you are having a good time.

David said...

Another way to look at it is that our nation was willing to tear ourselves apart in a brutal war in order to end slavery. The fact is that both this view and Dylan's are correct. That's because a nation does not have a reason for doing something. People do, and their reasons for doing the same thing can be similar or highly variable. The causes and motivations of the Civil War were several and variable over time, especially for the North. People love single causation and single motivation theories, but in most cases motivations are hard to discern, often even to the actors themselves in the time they are acting.

J. Farmer said...

I have never understood why anyone would try to ask Bob Dylan a serious question of history or politics. The guy's an idiot savant.

American black males are about 6% of the population and commit around 50% of the murders. The mean IQ of black Americans is 85. This is not about "color."

LakeLevel said...

I thought Dylan's comments were insightful. Historical revisionists not withstanding, the Civil War was about slavery. And yes, racism is detrimental to any society. What the hell is controversial about that? There are those on both the Left and the Right who gain from continuing racism. And so it will continue.

vza said...

"If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood"

Dylan, a believer in inherited guilt? Who knew?

averagejoe said...

Fee-Fi-FoFum, I smell the blood of a Croatian! *sniff sniff* Oh wait, that's just the blood of a descendant of slave owners...*sniff* or is it kin of the Klan? *sniff sniff sniff* No, it's Nazi!

Mick said...

Nothing is more depressing than that Bob Dylan IBM commercial, where he is "conversing" with a computer.

Mick said...

David said...
"Another way to look at it is that our nation was willing to tear ourselves apart in a brutal war in order to end slavery".


That's what you think it was about? The mind control is deep, and history is told by the victors.

Mick said...

"There shall be no Corruption of blood"

jaydub said...

His speech may not have been a crime, but his voice was.

Krumhorn said...

Serbs smelling Croats? I wonder what the Croats smelled during the siege of Sarajevo...which lasted far longer than the siege of Stalingrad. And I wonder what the Croat women smelled when one of the chief tactics of warfare was to plant a Serb baby in their bellies?

I never liked Dylan's music, and I like him even less now. The preening sanctimony drips off his snout. Just anther self-absorbed leftie shitbird.

- Krumhorn

DKWalser said...

I don't think Dylan meant that Jews can literally smell Nazi blood or that blacks can smell Klan blood. Instead, some Jews are so attuned to anti-Semitic views, it's as if they can smell it in the blood. Some blacks are so focused on spotting racist attitudes, they can spot a racist from a mile away. Of course, some are so good at spotting objectionable views, they can see them where none exist.

Char Char Binks said...

Krummy, the Serbs suffered atrocities at the hands of the Croats and Muslims as much, maybe more, than they dished out. The "evil Serb" meme was just propaganda from their enemies, propaganda that the West ate up like ajvar and polenti piperki, and was propagated by Hillary and her UCK buddies in Kosovo.

Rhythm and Balls said...

It's a fucking metaphor you imbeciles and "Nazi" isn't a nationality anyway.

As for Michael K's need to dictate stale old tastes like a smelly old fart.... well, that metaphor writes itself. And it's natural for a guy like him.

It sort of figures that he'd identify with a Europe in such a state of political and social decline that he can't even stand to see its music scene updated. No wonder The Beatles and David Bowie couldn't go anywhere had it not been for Elvis and rock and roll. But he probably hates all of them too. Everything relevant has to go! Stick with Beethoven and Islam and no free speech. You know, real old school stuff.

walter said...

Apparently a country that is selectively Charlie...or Bob should have drawn it in cartoon form.

Michael K said...

"Michael K's need to dictate stale old tastes like a smelly old fart.."

I am really starting to wonder if you are doing a parody of an ignorant millennium punk or you really are that stupid.

Beethoven has lasted 200 years. Your tastes ? Can you remember what you liked last week ?

I do enjoy the examples, though. Keep it up.

ken in tx said...

The British Empire ended slavery without a war. The Spanish Empire ended slavery without a war, sort of, with a wink and a nod. Brazil ended slavery without a war, even after they had invited defeated Confederates to resettle there with their slaves, and many of them did. So why did the US need a war to end slavery? We didn't. We had a war because of regional hatred. The North hated to South and the South returned the favor. They despised each other and many of us still do today. You can see it on this website.

CJ said...

So ... what part of that was supposed to be "hate speech"? I ask you seriously. Which part of that was a chargeable offence?

Jupiter said...

LakeLevel said...
"I thought Dylan's comments were insightful. Historical revisionists not withstanding, the Civil War was about slavery. And yes, racism is detrimental to any society. What the hell is controversial about that?"

Well, given that what modern Americans call "racism" is what every previous society on Earth has called common sense, I would say that your statement may not be controversial, particularly in the circles you go around in, but it is fatuous and pig-ignorant. Really? Racism is "detrimental" to Japanese society? How, exactly?

Peter said...

"In the beauty of the lilies
Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in his bosom
That transfigures you and me
As he died to make men holy
Let us live to make men free
While God is marching on

"Glory, glory, hallelujah ..."

Does that imply that the U.S. Civil War was a crusade? Or just that it was fought for many different reasons?

In any case, counterfactuals ("If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today") are inherently unprovable. If someone writes an entertaining "alternate history" novel I'm willing to suspend disbelief and enjoy it because, after all, it's fiction. But if someone wants to assert certainty about what would have happened had history been different, well, that person is a fool, for there can be nothing close to certainty in such assertions because history is an inherently chaotic process.

In any case, we're surely fortunate that the First Amendment was ratified in 1791, for it surely could never be ratified today.

Thom Stone said...

Mick said: That's what you think it was about? The mind control is deep, and history is told by the victors.

It is easy to figure out. Look up what was changed in making the constitution for the southern states. And what state rights, the existing southern states didn't have too much trouble thinking all new states added did NOT have their own rights in certain decisions. Yes, it is easy to figure out slavery was the cause no matter the victor, but only if one really wants to find the truth.