"Many people hate Bob Dylan because they hate being fooled. Illusion is fine, if quarantined and…"

“Many people hate Bob Dylan because they hate being fooled. Illusion is fine, if quarantined and diagnosed as mild; otherwise it is potentially humiliating (is he laughing at me? conning me out of my money?). Some still discount Dylan as merely a pop culture here (how can a teen-age idol be a serious artist — at most, perhaps, a serious demagogue). But the most tempting answer — forget his public presence, listen to his songs — won’t do for Dylan has exploited his image as a vehicle for artistic statement.—Ellen Willis on Bob Dylan”

-

fivedollarradio:

This quote is at least thirty-years old, but even with that much historical distance, it’s hard to image Dylan as a teen idol. I’ve been sitting on it for a couple days now, since I found a older book of Willis’s at the library, most of the essays written in the late 70s. Admittedly, I’m not a Dylan fan, so Dylan-worship is all forms disturbs and fascinates me. Actually, so

That’s the thing, right? Or a thing. Dylan gets taken Seriously as an Artist despite having been a teen idol and having “exploited his image as a vehicle for artistic statement.” See also: Bowie, etc. But women who play with their image and/or are teen idols are seen as opportunistic and cynical.

And there’s my killjoy moment of the day, also do I have to read Ellen Willis now?

Leave a Reply