November 20, 2013

"You will spend the next hour watching this new video for Bob Dylan’s 'Like a Rolling Stone'..."

"...  Good luck not spending the rest of your day watching this."

I linked to that yesterday, and I'm only bringing it up again to observe that I — a big Dylan fan for 5 decades — spent only about a minute looking at it, which is much less than the length of the song itself. So what's the deal with all these journalists claiming that we're going to become obsessed with watching it for hours or all day?

The quote I've chosen for this post seems about typical to me. It comes from David Malitz at The Washington Post, and Malitz appears to be a fairly young person, at least not an old boomer Dylan fan like me.

My reaction to the video was: 1. Here's the Dylan song that's used to represent all Dylan songs when you want to reach the largest possible audience with the message that you are playing a Dylan song, 2. I'm hearing the Dylan recording but I'm seeing some TV person mouthing the words, a type of performance that is annoying even when your dearest loved one does it; it's not cute. 3. So there are a bunch of TV people who were willing to go on camera mouthing the words of the entire 6+ minute song. 4. Either show me Bob Dylan with the voice of Bob Dylan or cover the song with your own voice and do it well (not cutesy) or leave me alone.

People like Malitz aren't so much interested in the Dylan song as in the various TV personalities who signed on the project and did the full 6+ minutes of mouthing and the technological achievement of making an interactive video that allows you to drop in on the various celebrities at any point in the song. Isn't it charming how they're all there on different channels, all synched to the same place in the song? It's not so much about Dylan as it is about hey, it's Steve Levy, hey, it's The Property Brothers. This is what could occupy a lot of time: checking out who all the TV people are and being charmed by how they look keeping up with the song. You've got to find that cute.

But Dylan is not about cute. Sample Dylan uses of "cute":

"And she buttoned her boot/And straightened her suit/Then she said, 'Don’t get cute'..."

"Now your dancing child with his Chinese suit/He spoke to me, I took his flute/No, I wasn’t very cute to him, was I?"

It was all about not getting cute... back in the 60s. But now maybe, with these kids today, cuteness is what it takes. You're supposed to get cute.

25 comments:

traditionalguy said...

That was a not cute semicolon use in paragraph three.

It was like consensus science. And that is not cute either.

Paddy O said...

Koonyah mahlyass koong! Ees too rong tah oong jedi mind trick!

Ya koon tacha poonoo nee sah, gee.

rehajm said...

People like Malitz aren't so much interested in the Dylan song...

With the exception of hardcore Dylan fans, nobody looking in is much interested in the Dylan song, it's the 'sync' gimmick that appeals. A new and different way to interact with the interwebs.

It's viral!

Tank said...

I guess I'm too old or stupid to get what's good about that.

Ann Althouse said...

"That was a not cute semicolon use in paragraph three."

It was a medicinal semicolon, required by the need to restrict each numbered item to one sentence.

Ann Althouse said...

Bob Dylan has never used the word "semicolon" in a song.

But if he did, what word would he rhyme with it?

EDH said...

"stolen"?

Freeman Hunt said...

Sometimes I use a semicolon,
Just to keep a sentence rollin'.

rehajm said...

sine qua non

Ann Althouse said...

I saw Steve Buscemi swollen
With pride for usin' a semi-colon...

Freeman Hunt said...

A hobby like a semicolon,
Take you dancin'; take you bowlin'

Ann Althouse said...

I take my Oscar on stage and my Emmy bowlin'
And I try to write songs with a semi-colon...

Freeman Hunt said...

The Internet loves a semicolon,
Say you can surf or do your trollin'

Ann Althouse said...

Colon for the rebel; tolling for the rake
Colon for the luckless; the abandoned an’ forsaked
Colon for the outcast; burnin’ constantly at stake

surfed said...

The tv people sang to the 1965 version of the song. Bob is legendary for changing his arrangements over the years. The last time I heard him perform Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again it took me almost 30 seconds into the song before I realized which song it actually was. The least they could have done is performed an updated arrangement and kept us guessing until the chorus... The clip as delivered was...boring. Which the song isn't.

Meade said...

To Ann, sir, my friend
Seems i' callin' in the win

traditionalguy said...

"...Well Abe said where do you want this semicolon done? God says out on Highway 61."

Another medicinal semicolon.

Anonymous said...

Re: "1. Here's the Dylan song that's used to represent all Dylan songs when you want to reach the largest possible audience with the message that you are playing a Dylan song."

Naked Bob Dylan Robot is In For Repairs, But I Will say:

They Should Have Went with "Subterranean Homesick Blues".

Shorter Song, to Begin. No Chorus Repetitions. Fun Wordplay: Jenga Game Lip Sync.

Could Have Had the Various Participants Enact the Handwritten Cards of Dylan's Video to Make it More Cohesive (and Entertaining) to Watch, and Thus Could Also have the Dylan Video Itself to Cut Back and Forth With. Have the Participants Write Out Their Own Cards, So Another Level of Random Visual Interplay and Interest.

St. George said...

Why are these journalists saying this?

Because they probably all got given a free CD or they're so young they'd never heard the song before or some other nonsense and/or it's a slow news day, a Tuesday with new Christmas releases coming out after Thanksgiving.

I thought the video was sloppily done. Poor lip synching for the most part. Also, the song is rather surly, and the video's imagery campy.

Amy said...

I liked it. Watched it through twice. Thought the format was interesting, clicking between the channels. Didn't think about or dissect it nearly as much as this post does. Just liked it, and then moved on.

Ann Althouse said...

"They Should Have Went with "Subterranean Homesick Blues"

The celebrities would have had to move their mouths much more quickly, and the channel clickers would have caught more glitches.

It's much easier to coast through all those "How does it feel?"s in "Rolling Stone."

But now that you mention it, I am on the pavement thinking about the government.

Ann Althouse said...

It's a vision of hell. You're just watching TV forever, clicking through the channels, and there are a lot of channels, but on every one, even though it looks like different shows, there somebody singing the same song over and over all in the same voice. But the voice should be Rock-a-day Johnny, and the song should be “Tell Your Ma, Tell Your Pa Our Love’s A-gonna Grow Ooh-wah, Ooh-wah."

Jeff Gee said...

Everything after "Shockwave Player Has Crashed" was boring.

Crunchy Frog said...

I saw Steve Buscemi swollen
With pride for usin' a semi-colon...


There are some things that just cannot be unseen. A swollen Steve Buscemi would be one of those things.

p.s. Does Meade know about this?

p.p.s. And what was SB seeing to make him swollen?

eddie willers said...

I like that I saw Richard Manual on it.