March 28, 2011

A conference on Bob Dylan and the law.

At Fordham:
[The first session examines] the Dylan songs "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" and "Hurricane." "Hurricane" chronicles the true-life plight of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who was found guilty of murdering three people in 1966. His conviction was overturned after Dylan's song was released because of faulty evidence. "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" is about the 1960s murder of a black barmaid in Baltimore at the hands of wealthy white man, who spent a mere six months in jail for the crime.
I hope they take account of my parody "The Lonesome Death Of William Zanzinger."
[The second session] will primarily consist of academics and judges presenting papers on Dylan and the law. For example Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner David Zornow will present "Dylan's Judgment on Judges: Are Power, Greed and Corruptible Seed All That There Is?" University of Kentucky College of Law professor Alison Connelly will present "Dylan as the Complete Trial Lawyer: Using Hurricane Carter to Teach Trial Skills."...
Hmmm. Seems like too much Hurricane Carter... and too much obviousness. Does Dylan belong in academia? He answered that question himself:
I put down my robe, picked up my diploma
Took hold of my sweetheart and away we did drive
Straight for the hills, the black hills of Dakota
Sure was glad to get out of there alive...


shiloh said...

Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”

Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”

God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”

God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but the next time you see me comin’ you better run”

Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”

God says, “Out on Highway 61”

Bob Dylan's father ~ Abraham Zimmerman

Methadras said...

Jesus. Two of the worst combinations ever thought up.

shiloh said...


Yes, in the late 1970s, Dylan became a born-again Christian ...

EDH said...

Hurricane Carter, The Other Side of the Story
A poorly designed web site, but a trove of information on the Carter case.

A verse- by-verse critique of his incredibly inaccurate song "Hurricane," which hurts the good people who put Carter behind bars.

BOB DYLAN last played "Hurricane" on Jan. 25, 1976. See web site: "How Long Has it Been Since Dylan Played..."

CachorroQuente said...

Dylan's song was released because of faulty evidence.

Who knew?

Patrick said...

"His conviction was overturned after Dylan's song was released because of faulty evidence."

Dylan's song was released because of faulty evidence?

Who writes this stuff? Is this what we should expect from Fordham profs, and grads? In addition, of course, to the twaddle they are meeting to discuss.

The Crack Emcee said...

Does Dylan belong in academia?

Unless it's a songwriting class, no.

CachorroQuente said...

The Crack Emcee said...
"Does Dylan belong in academia?

"Unless it's a songwriting class, no."

For the win!

Patrick said...

I agree with Crack, but hasten to add that almost none of what ends up in law reviews turns out to be at all useful, even to attorneys. Maybe to professors, but only to add to the vast stores of unread law review articles.

Almost like the Circle Game, except that was Joni Mitchell, not Dylan.

Leo Ladenson said...

Bob who?

shoutingthomas said...

Hurricane Carter was guilty as hell of triple murder.

He wasn't a legitimate contender.

Dylan got carried away on this one.

Maguro said...

Looks like a complete waste of time. Do professors go to things like this on their own dime or does the university pay for them to travel to NY and sit around a conference room blathering about Dylan?

traditionalguy said...

Academia is starting to ride Dylan's genius reputation. Then after building him up for 50 years, academia will debunk its own myths and discover that he was just another man. I still think he is a latter day Hebrew Prophet. Mere men don't write words like Dylan writes them.

ironrailsironweights said...

Dylan completely disgraced himself with his defense of the obviously guilty Carter. I can't understand what point he was trying to make.


AST said...

Dylan was writing a corrido. I never expected his song to be evidence in court. It's just a heck of a song with his old protest fervor in it, and I doubt that the courts gave it much weight.

All of which reminds me somehow: Have you watched the program "Justified" on the FX cable and satellite channel. It's on Wednesday nights and repeats on the weekends. It's about a deputy U. S. Marshall in Harlan County, Kentucky and has some of the best, albeit adult, writing on television. It's based on a story or book, not sure, by Elmore Leonard. And the line between law and crime seems to somewhat waivering and smudged.

Your mention of Dylan reminded me of it. There's a federal judge portrayed by Stephen Root who hires hookers to give him bjs and wears red satin panties. That's just the beginning of his disregard for what anybody else thinks.

It reminds me a lot of how the real world disillusioned me when I started practicing law. It was the realization that there was a whole layer of low-life society that I had never really known much about and had only associated with tv. It was like turning over a rock.

Trooper York said...

Of course they should study Bob. He has a whole wing in the Overrated Hall of Fame.

autothreads said...

Bob Dylan's father ~ Abraham Zimmerman

Shiloh, are you familiar with the account in Genesis of the binding of Isaac?

There's no indication that Bobby Zimmerman had a strained relationship with his father. On the contrary, Abe seems to have been a bit of a doting father. Though Bob left Hibbing after high school, he returned for his father's funeral. Abe's grave near Duluth, where the Zimmerman family is buried, is well maintained and is visited by family members.

shiloh said...


Yes, I'm familiar w/the Bible ie (12) years of parochial school. ;)

and having read (2) books about Dylan, he was probably being ironic if there was a connection between his father and the song. When Dylan was six his father was stricken w/polio.

btw, Joan Baez said he wrote (50) verses for Like a Rolling Stone, but had to "edit" it down to four ...

Titus said...

Brian Adams, the Canadian singer, is HUGE in India. So is cricket, Bollywood and really thin people. My husband said they were thin because they were poor. Why are poor Americans not so thin?

A big "caste system" in India which I thought was not very nice but got used to.

The economy is booming in India. Too many jobs and not enough applicants. The food though..forget the meat.

Next on the travel plans was Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, China, Singapore and Bangladesh which is India's Mexico.

I saw some middle age women from America in Calcutta on a "Eat, Pray, Love" tour and yes they were wearing traditional Indian dress-very sad.

Did the Toy Train up to Darjeeling through the mountains, very beautiful.

Went to Australia for Mardi Gras. It was nice but I was over it.

I am totally married. I didn't realize how rich my husband was until I traveled to India. Not that I cared one way or another but it is nice. He has a driver and cook and maid and someone who does his gardens-kind of like Karen Walker.

Back in Wisconsin (for a month) Miss Althouse-ready for dindin?

Next my husband and I are heading to UK and Mexico. I am getting used to this life. I thought I would hate all the flights but international air travel is not bad especially in first class.

We will be based in London starting August 1.


Titus said...

GO VCU! Their coach is soo hot and is name is something like Shakra! Never thought he would be from Oregon Wisconsin, he looks and sounds so East Coast.

take care, get back to your American issues.

I am all about the entire world now. I am a citizen of the world.

Beth said...

Does Dylan belong in academia?

Boots of Spanish Leather is the Norton Anthology of Poetry, and I include it in my sophomore survey poetry, in the ballads unit. I link to both Dylan and Nanci Griffith's performances. Just because I love them both.

Beth said...

A ballad in a poetry class is just where it ought to be. But I don't see how a song would be particularly useful in a law conference in terms of law, or as evidence in a murder case. Have law conferences become about pop culture?

But by all means, enjoy a ballad about the vagaries of justice.

elektratig said...

I hope they don't overlook Percy's Song.

ricpic said...

Hurricane Carter killed three whites. But of course the whites were bigots and deserved it. Right, Dylan? Right!

phx said...

~~She's nobody's child, the law can't touch her at all.~~

shoutingthomas said...

Hurricane Carter killed three whites. But of course the whites were bigots and deserved it. Right, Dylan? Right!

Yes, that is exactly what Dylan said.

Everybody makes terrible mistakes in their life. This is one of Dylan's.

Best not to publicize it, Althouse. It's really vile shit.

Manan said...

Hurricane Carter killed three whites. But of course the whites were bigots and deserved it. Right, Dylan? Right!

shoutingthomas said...

Well, the other part of Dylan's "argument" was that Carter was deprived of being the next Champion of the World.

This was also bullshit. Carter was a washed up pug.

Dylan got it all wrong. He was trying to write another civil rights anthem.

We all make mistakes. Unfortunately for Dylan, his mistakes are broadcast around the globe.

shoutingthomas said...

The worst part of this is that Fordham is rubbing salt in the wounds of the victims and their families again.

Fordham isn't that far away from where the murders took place.

I know Jersey well. The families of the victims, not to mention the good law enforcement officers slandered by Dylan, have taken a hell of a beating over this.

It doesn't surprise me that Fordham would debase itself by dragging the families through this again. It's a Jesuit school. Beating up on whites with generalized racial guilt is just a damned stupid thing that the Jesuits can't stop doing.

The amazing thing is that they think they're doing good.

Sad business.

Anonymous said...

Forgetting the absuridty of a conference on a songwriter's thoughts on law (roughly the equivalent of Clarence Darrow being elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), what's interesting is that the two key songs, "Hurricane" and "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol", are both totally factually wrong.

Ruben Carter got away with triple murder. And, William Zanzinger, while a scumbag, was not a murderer. He whacked a black woman with a toy cane while drunk, and she died a day later of pre-existing health conditions. He's an absolute coward, and should go to jail for hitting a defenseless woman, but a murderer he is not.

Fordham's statement that:

"The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" is about the 1960s murder of a black barmaid in Baltimore at the hands of wealthy white man, who spent a mere six months in jail for the crime"'

is just an out and out lie. Zanzinger was neither tried for nor convicted of murder. Its just Fordham lying, no doubt because the purported facts (a white guy getting away with the "murder" of a black woman) fits their narrative of America as an irredemably racist place.

Dylan is in fact a very dishonest songwriter. He has a tendency to glamorize and whitewash vicious criminals, such as Joey Gallo ("Joey"), Ruben Carter ("Hurricane") and Pretty Boy Floyd (a Woody Guthrie song, but Dylan has performed it), while slandering people like Zanzinger.

If you're interested on conservative musings, check out my blog at:

Kirk Parker said...

Beth, really??? You include Dylan's pale imitation of a traditional ballad, just because it's in Norton, when you could use something new and genuinely Dylan-esque instead, like... oh, I don't know... maybe... Tangle Up In Blue? :-)

Sixty Grit said...

Ol' Croaky - as correct on the law is he is a good singer.

Beth said...

Kirk, the best thing about "Tangled Up in Blue" is his rhyming "employed" with "Delacroix." I love that.

But I like the humor and interplay of speakers in "Boots" as much.

traditionalguy said...

Anonymous...When whacking people with canes you have to take them like you find them. That is negligence law 101, and it applies more forcefully to intentional acts. Bob was pointing out that the system here worked overtime to protect Zantzinger from the consequences of causing a death. You and the Court found that poor Mr Zantzinger was the victim of an unkown defect in Hattie Carroll. But his whacking her with a cane was at the very least manslaughter.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Who killed Davy Moore?
Why, and what's the reason for?

Tyrone Slothrop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...

If you like the employed/Delacroix rhyme, how about rhymin' "triple mur-der" with "put his ass in the stir"?

Beth said...

I should have mentioned "Delacroix" is pronounced Del-uh-crow, at least in referring to the little town in St. Bernard Parish.

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