In a strange way, it feels almost like a victory, albeit an exceptionally perverse one. After all the writing Yours Truly has done — over the course of a sad, wasted youth — lambasting the dang “liberal media” for their persistent misportrayal of Bob Dylan as a left wing protest singer type, now we have this. In that great iconic Mother of All Liberal Media Outlets that is the New York Times, the poisonous princess of the Op-Ed page herself, Maureen Dowd, rips Bob Dylan in 2011 as a sellout (Blowin’ in the Idiot Wind). Further, she attaches herself to the notion that Bob Dylan never really was that lefty utopian true-believer he’s so often been sketched as being, but merely an opportunist who saw the folk scene of the early 1960s as providing his quickest entré to fame and fortune. Continue reading Maureen Dowd slams “sellout” Bob Dylan in New York Times
Bob Dylan played his first gig in communist China today, having played first a few nights ago in Taiwan. By Beijing time, the gig took place last night, the night of April 6th, in a venue called the Workers’ Gymnasium. Already, some media outlets are engaged in trying to interpret Bob’s setlist; a hobby usually limited to obsessive fans with too much time on their (or our) hands. From Reuters (Bob Dylan gets rapturous reception at China concert):
Famous for his songs against injustice and for civil liberties and pacifism, Dylan struck a cautious line in Beijing and did not sing anything that might have overtly offended China’s Communist rulers, like “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”
There’s been many references to the fact that Bob Dylan’s songs had to be “approved” by the Chinese regime in advance — and there’s no question that they do employ those tactics with foreign entertainers — but I don’t know that anyone has concrete evidence of any songs he was ordered not to sing. So the above kind of thing is speculative. Continue reading Dylan goes to China: Bob in Beijing
Having just asserted in a different venue that I’m not going to try to keep up with everything happening in the Dylan universe anymore, this story nevertheless requires follow-up. It is now reported that the Chinese Ministry of Culture has approved two Bob Dylan concerts to take place in April, one in Beijing and one in Shanghai.
The official Bob Dylan website has not confirmed these as of writing, but everything else seems now to indicate that they will take place — and I’m guessing the same will be true for the proposed shows in Taiwan and in Vietnam. Continue reading Bob Dylan: Approved to play in China