Thursday, April 14, 2011


I’m not taking sides in this either. Maureen Dowd seems to have a hair up her ass about Dylan in China. Was it worth going along with the authorities to infiltrate rock & roll into China? And where was Ms Dowd when Bob was working for Victoria’s Secret?

“Bob Dylan may have done the impossible: broken creative new ground in selling out. The idea that the raspy troubadour of ’60s freedom anthems would go to a dictatorship and not sing those anthems is a whole new kind of sellout — even worse than Beyoncé, Mariah and Usher collecting millions to croon to Qaddafi’s family, or Elton John raking in a fortune to serenade gay-bashers at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding. Before Dylan was allowed to have his first concert in China on Wednesday at the Worker’s Gymnasium in Beijing, he ignored his own warning in “Subterranean Homesick Blues” — “Better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose” — and let the government pre-approve his set. Iconic songs of revolution like “The Times They Are a-Changin,’ ” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” wouldn’t have been an appropriate soundtrack for the 2,000 Chinese apparatchiks in the audience taking a relaxing break from repression. Spooked by the surge of democracy sweeping the Middle East, China is conducting the harshest crackdown on artists, lawyers, writers and dissidents in a decade. It is censoring (or “harmonizing,” as it euphemizes) the Internet and dispatching the secret police to arrest willy-nilly, including Ai Weiwei, the famous artist and architect of the Bird’s Nest, Beijing’s Olympic stadium. Dylan said nothing about Weiwei’s detention, didn’t offer a reprise of “Hurricane,” his song about “the man the authorities came to blame for something that he never done.” He sang his censored set, took his pile of Communist cash and left." (Click here for the rest)

Click here for a late posted but excellent commentary by our old pal Charles Shaar Murray


Aleleeinn said...

So what was his setlist? If I think about this long enough I'll start parodying songs with lyrics specially created for the Chinese tour.
I don't follow "Jesus Zimmerman".
Dylan was always somewhat enigmatic. And I was never a true believer for any cause. SO if he is out to make a buck--well I judge that against everyman not against an idol.

FurryBootsCityBoy said...

I don't expect Dylan to speak out against human rights abuses in China because of his politics. I expect it because he's a human being. Politics has nothing to do with that.

Diamond Jim said...

Yeah, I'd like to see the setlist.

Mick said...

There's mention of the songs the Chinese objected to in CSM's story.