Blowin’ in the Idiot Wind
April 10, 2011 3 Comments
Maureen Dowd takes a whack at my fellow Duluth native Bob Dylan for “selling out” in China and not singing his trademark protest songs. I attended the Beijing concert. He could have been crooning anti-government rants and nobody would have known. In his best days he was hard to understand. Now he just grumbles and growls. From where I was sitting, it sounded like he was singing in Cantonese or Hakka. It was a great concert and great evening, however. He had an excellent band behind him, and it was interesting to see how many young Chinese people were in the audience and very familiar with his music.
Here is the beginning of Dowd’s piece, with a link below:
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.