June 14, 2011

Bill Kristol: "Bob Dylan Said It Best."

Yeah, he did, but you didn't. That's the most pathetic appropriation of Dylan I've seen in a long time.

Here's a rule. If the only Bob Dylan song you can think of to quote is "The Times They Are A-Changin'," don't quote Bob Dylan. Please heed the call.


Scott M said...

"The Times They Are A-Changin'"

Ann, have you seen the opening credit sequence to "The Watchmen"? They use this Dylan song powerfully to map a route through an alternate timeline from prior roughly WWII through the 80's with some fairly iconic scenes. Very well done.

MadisonMan said...

I think American Idol should do a Bob Dylan night.

Randy Jackson saying that Scotty McCreery is In it To Win It by singing Blowing in the Wind with a country twist. What wouldn't there be to like in that?

Ann Althouse said...

@Scott No, but the use of this song is a big cliché in my book. And people who really care about Bob Dylan are not stuck in his protest phase.

Ann Althouse said...

@ MadisonMan The Dylan songbook if full of simple and beautiful love songs, and any good singer could find something in there to sing without appearing the slightest bit ridiculous.

Scott M said...

Check it out. As it's the opening credits, you don't have to watch the whole 3 hour flick if you don't want, but it's less about protest and more about moving from WWII-era black and white morality through the muddying of things in the 70's an 80's.

They do a similarly good job of using "Sound Of Silence" and "All Along The Watchtower".

The Crack Emcee said...

"Bob Dylan Said It Best."

Because, truth be told, I haven't listened to a word anyone else has said since his heyday.

Fred4Pres said...

All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die.

Bob Dylan

Fred4Pres said...

People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around - the music and the ideas.

Bob Dylan

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Can you name a non-pathetic appropriation of Dylan? Maybe used by Bill Clinton or Wavy Gravy.

G Joubert said...

Most people in the modern era are not Bob Dylan purists, as you are Professor. But I agree, it is pathetic, mainly because it's beyond trite.

Fred4Pres said...

Jeff, "Nobody for President" was funny.

AFG said...

how about

"Democracy don't rule the world, you better get that through your head. This world is ruled by violence, but I guess that's better left unsaid. It's sundown on the Union and what's Made in the USA sure was a good idea till greed got in the way." - "Union Sundown", Infidels 1983.

NYTNewYorker said...

"Equality, I spoke the word as if a wedding vow, ah but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

Ya' hadda' be there.

CachorroQuente said...

@Scott No, but the use of this song is a big cliché in my book.

Irony. Irony! I love irony.

edutcher said...

You'd think Kristol could aim a little higher in looking for an apt quote.


CachorroQuente said...

Here are some trenchant lines from one of Dylan's simple love songs:

Situations have ended sad,
Relationships have all been bad.
Mine have been like Verlaine's and Rimbaud.
But there's no way I can compare
All them scenes to this affair,
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go.

Isn't it just brilliant the way he points out that a simile is not a comparison? Who else, in the history or the universe, could get away with this kind of shit?

And don't get me started on that fucking Eskimo.

Mark O said...

Both of you?

"And people who really care about Bob Dylan are not stuck in his protest phase."

c71ff said...

Don't think twice, it's all right.

Peano said...

That's the most pathetic appropriation of Dylan I've seen in a long time.

Trust a blonde to completely miss the irony of quoting Dylan in the present context.

jr565 said...

There's something happening and you don't know what it is, do you Mr. Kristol

Jason said...

Are you having a good time?

paul a'barge said...

Althouse defends the Dylan castle ... and I agree with her.

Sigivald said...

I prefer my rule - "Don't quote Bob Dylan".


(Unless you're writing a book about Bob Dylan, I suppose, in which case it's acceptable.)

Mary Beth said...

When does something stop being a trope and become a cliche?

Ignim Brites said...

How bout "It's all over now, baby blue."

LutherM said...

No, Professor - Dylan's one-time girlfriend, Joan Baez sais/sang it best (with a song that Dylan WROTE/COMPOSED)

Seems like only yesterday
I left my mind behind
Down in the Gypsy Café
With a friend of a friend of mine
She sat with a baby heavy on her knee
Yet spoke of life most free from slavery
With eyes that showed no trace of misery
A phrase in connection first that she averred
That love is just a four-letter word

Outside a rambling store-front window
Cats meowed to the break of day
Me, I kept my mouth shut,
To you I had no words to say
My experience was limited and underfed
You were talking while I hid
To the one who was the father of your kid
You probably didn't think I did, but I heard
You say that love is just a four-letter word

I said goodbye unnoticed
Pushed forward into my own games
Drifting in and out of lifetimes
Unmentionable by name
After searching for my double, looking for
Complete evaporation to the core
Though I tried and failed at finding any door
I must have thought that there was nothing more absurd
Than that love is just a four-letter word

Though I never knew just what you meant
When you were speaking to your man
I could only think in terms of me
And now I understand
After waking enough times to think I see
The Holy Kiss that's supposed to last eternity
Blow up in smoke, its destiny
Falls on strangers, travels free
Yes, I know now, traps are only set by me
And I do not really need to be assured
That love is just a four-letter word

Strange it is to be beside you, many years the tables turned
You'd probably not believe me if told you all I've learned
And it is very very weird, indeed
To hear words like "forever" plead
though ships run through my mind I cannot cheat
it's like looking in a teacher's face complete
I can say nothing to you but repeat what I heard
That love is just a four-letter word.