Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 27, 2020

Open Thread 2020-24

The post I worked on today didn't pan out.

Please use yesterday's thread for further discussion of the pandemic.

Other stuff can go here ...

Posted by b on March 27, 2020 at 18:16 UTC | Permalink

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i love Dylan's music

...when it's played by Johnny Winter!

smell the asphalt?

Posted by: john | Mar 30 2020 19:50 utc | 201

i do think if b did a post on dylan or the concept of over population, there would be an interesting conversation to be had at moa in all of this! or not, lol...

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 19:50 utc | 202

@ 201 hey john!! i used to have that album.. i didn't realize he was playing a dylan song on it either! i got to see johnny winter live about 8 years ago, maybe 10.. great show... i really dig his brothers work - edgar - probably more.. the entrance album was one that i wore out..

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 19:52 utc | 203

edgar winters entrance album... i haven't listened to it in a long time..

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 19:55 utc | 204

i guess i was into jazz before i realized i was into jazz, lol..

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 20:05 utc | 205

james @200

Please read my comment @178.

Then re-read my comment @198.

You remarks about being "ripped off" by your fellow band members fails to address the issue(s) with Dylan. I'm talking about artistic integrity as well as ethics. You're not really engaging with the issue and I find that very strange.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 30 2020 20:10 utc | 206

@ 206 jackrabbit.. i read both posts.. i am not sure what to say about them! what would you like me to comment on? the idea that his memory was wrong about seeing link wray with buddy holly in 59? i know people get stuff wrong and it sounds like he did on that one... that he admired buddy holly - great.. what can i say about it? i am trying to engage with you as best i can.. sorry! ethics.. so.. you are saying dylan has no ethics or intergrity.. i think that is what you are saying, as opposed to - he forget and got wrong the details.. and the cliff notes on the speech idea - maybe he dialled it in.. i have no idea... it is a lot of subjective stuff that it is hard to comment on definitively.. how is this supposed to affect my listening to his recording shared by grieved earlier in the thread?? am i suppose to hate the cheap sell out and just ignore my impressions from listening to the song? i respond based on the listen, not based on a collection of data that is supposed to highlight what a shit he is! and, i am open enough to say i don't know him well enough to do that.. and, it still wouldn't interfere with my ability to listen to his music and have it stand on it's own apart from my not knowing him! it is an interesting road we've gone down here..

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 20:23 utc | 207

james @207:

... what would you like me to comment on?

@198, I wrote:

Dylan is likely to have lifted a substantial part of the speech from Cliff Notes and Spark Notes. That makes his claim to have been influenced by his school-age readings a lie.

Dylan also appears to exaggerate his connection to Buddy Holly.

This is playing with us and mocking us.

I would think an artist might be bothered by something like that.

... And his lack of anything of any importance to say for thirty years makes "Murder Most Foul" very suspicious.

... the idea that his memory was wrong about seeing link wray with buddy holly in 59?

Are you being deliberately dense? If he loved Buddy Holly so much he would've taken an interest in his band members. If he was so close to the stage, he would've had a good view of them. He would not have made such a mistake. It calls into question if actually attended the concert.

But what's most important is his playing upon his fans - mocking them, really - when Dylan says that Buddy:

... looked me right straight dead in the eye, and he transmitted something. Something I didn’t know what. And it gave me the chills.

<> <> <> <> <>

You've been participating on a blog that is concerned with international relations for years.

This isn't a music blog. The song, at least superficially, concerns a political event. A USA coup. It could also relate to USA society.

It's the political-social aspect that is most important for moa readers. The music/artistic aspect is secondary here.

Repeating: Dylan releases a song like that after having virtually nothing to say for 30 years and we are supposed to just swoon? He says he's had the song on the shelf for some time. For how long? And why release it now? These are valid questions for moa readers, whereas Dylan's music fans only want to relive/revive the 'good times' and mad affection for their idol.

I hate to take you to task like this because I value your smart commentary and reasonable POV. But with Dylan, you seem less reasonable. You seem unwilling to separate the man and his music and the music from the message. Yet as a critic of international developments, you exercise a healthy skepticism.

I'm neither a fan nor a hater of Dylan. I think he's been irrelevant for more than 30 years. But I'm a cynic with a nose for bullshit. And there's much to question about Dylan and his "Murder Most Foul".


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 30 2020 21:06 utc | 208

@ jackrabbit... he thought it was link wray.. it wasn't... lots of musicians are bad with details.. i have non music friends and they are sometimes encyclopedic with details! kid you not... i give him a pass on that memory..

regarding this comment of his - "looked me right straight dead in the eye, and he transmitted something. Something I didn’t know what. And it gave me the chills." fairy tale stuff.. so much of it is imagination and up to a person to take or leave.. i wouldn't take this line of his literally but more figuratively..

yes - correct.. it is a political blog, not a music blog! i don't want to dismiss anyone's comments out of hand, although adkc saying 'artists are selfish' seemed a bit over the top...

for the comments he has made - he had the song on the shelf for some time and why release it now.....i don't know... i just see it in broader terms, but i will acknowledge others can read all sorts of malevolent and etc into it...

it's okay jackrabbit... i don't mind talking about this with you.. i might seem less reasonable, but i do think i am separating the man and his music and the message and i get a different read on it all... i am receptive to the scepticism, but i am less oriented to it with dylan here... maybe i am naive.. it is not like i am a fan of dylan.. lots of musicians are bad with some of the details of their past, or wish to write it differently... reading levon helm, or robbie robertsons biography will give you that impression immediately! and they played and interfaced with dylan too as part of ''the band''... i could see how someone would say this is just a complete sell out snake oil sales job... i don't personally see it that way and i remain focused on the music itself, as opposed to the life of the messenger.. maybe if albert grossman was still his manager i might view it differently! i wonder who his manager is now? thanks for your comments!!!

Posted by: james | Mar 30 2020 21:50 utc | 209


I can see that it's not really worthwhile to continue our conversation about Dylan. But I'll add a few last thoughts.

Dylan could've released this song after the end of the Cold War. It might've sparked a conversation that starts like this: the war's over, can we have our democracy back?

But he didn't.

He could've released it when the Patriot Act was being debated or when it became clear that Bush & Co. had lied us into the Iraq War. The message: Look what they're doing NOW.

But he didn't.

Dylan releases this song as his generation and the generation before his is dying and threatened by Coronovirus. That seems petty and mean-spirited. And the virus "lock-downs" ensure no fuss made will be made.

I'm not one of those with a new-agey, fantasy mindset. Hopium is not my thing. So I'm not the kind who's willing to make excuses for yet-another American figure with a cult-like following.

We constantly see excuses for people that mislead us and fail us. Its a cottage industry of lame bullshit excuses. And now it most certainly reaches into the art world via people like Weinstein (film) and Dylan (music).

And what usually signifies that someone merits the help of the bullshit industry? It's usually that they have been successful and have supported the Zionist/Empire (two side of the same coin).

Dylan is lauded because he shut the f*ck up after the Kennedy assassination. If he hadn't he wouldn't have received a Nobel Prize and a Medal of Freedom from President Obama (in 2012 - when it was clear to all what Obama was). "Murder Most Foul" doesn't change that. And we are well within our rights to ask if he's still serving the establishment by releasing this song now.

In "Murder Most Foul" Dylan makes no attempt to link what he fought against in the 60's to the present day. For example, the slow murder of Assange. Will Dylan complement the song by speaking out against such abuses of power? That seems very unlikely given his past behavior.

Joan Baez was right about "Diamonds and Rust". Dylan fans have chosen to see only the diamond sparkle.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 31 2020 0:34 utc | 210

@ jackrabbit.. i can see where you are coming from in all this... i get the impression the title is what it is because baez saw both sides of dylan as opposed to only one??

Posted by: james | Mar 31 2020 1:02 utc | 211

james @211: baez saw both sides of dylan

Yeah. And I'm not saying this isn't some good side. But that was mostly long ago.

Die-hard fans, cult-like "believers" are blinded by the diamond sparkle (the "art"). They refuse to see the rust. Anyone who does is smeared as a "purist", a kill-joy, or worse.

Whether it's Dylan, or Bernie, or Elon Musk, or Hillary, or Netanyahu, etc. A group forms around certain people like a cult. They identify with the person.

It's a strange phenomena that I still have difficulty understanding. Critical thinking gets 'turned off' almost entirely. People WANT TO BELIEVE that there is a God and that there are GOOD PEOPLE that they can trust completely. It's comforting.

This same phenomena is at play in propaganda psyops. Once someone has accepted a certain 'truth' it's very very difficult to get them to see that they are mistaken or have been misled. Their ego and identity become fused with that belief.

That's why myth-making is so powerful. Psyops build on myths and create new ones that people accept without question.

And that's why my default is to be cynical. The establishment knows how to push our buttons and how to play group psychology. Simple skepticism is not enough to stay 'sane' in such an environment. But it's a start.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 31 2020 2:34 utc | 212

@ jackrabbit... well we both share a default to cynical! it is definitely my starting point and yet, i am capable of throwing it off in certain instances like here with dylan.. one could say the same towards a lot of artists - why aren't they addressing the issues of today - julian assange held for years as only one of many examples.. one could point the finger at most all of the major artists of today which might explain why adkc earlier said - artists are selfish... i don't know that is it though..artists are focused on something else - now, that might be the selfish part! think of some musician - composer - artist you know or like.. are they some political advocate for social change and justice? bach, beethoven, or more recent example - ellington, stevie wonder and etc. etc.? stevie might have addressed some of the racial issues of the time.. i am trying to think... one of my problems as a listener is i tend to focus on the mood and sounds and ignore the words.. i have talked with musician friends about this.. some of them are shocked and others relate... it is interesting how we all choose to focus on different aspects of the music.. as i am primarily an instrumentalist, this could explain part of it..

was leonard cohen, or joni mitchell addressing tough social issues?? neil young did some..i am thinking of the quote in the song from lynard synard - sweet home alabama where they address neil young for saying some things about the racial conflict.. lots of the artists shied away from covering political type content.. gordon lightfoot sang black day in july, but generally he didn't touch it either as i understand him.. bruce cockburn did more - gonna buy me a rocket launcher - these are some canuck artists you might not know of... having cynical as default has some liabilities to it too!

Posted by: james | Mar 31 2020 3:09 utc | 213

"Southern Command is ramping up the US military presence in Latin America to counter China, Russia, and Venezuela, after signing a historic military agreement incorporating Bolsonaro’s Brazil into its imperial orbit"
By Ben Norton

From Grayzone;

Posted by: ben | Mar 31 2020 3:13 utc | 214

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