Because Dylan deals in myth. It informs his output as much, if not more, than the actual people in his life. Dylan uses motifs like floods and trains in order to wrestle universalities down and trap them in his verses. He, like Lennon, will always be associated with the 1960s, but more than any other major artist from that period he has always written songs that are designed to transcend the context in which they were created.
You don’t need to know anything about the movie Masked and Anonymous. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s not meant to make sense. But look at this scene with Giovanni Ribisi and Dylan. The video is quiet, so I’ve included the portion of the script.
[Ribisi:] I come from a small village in the mountains. We don’t even have a doctor. So, I joined the rebels. I didn’t know what the answers were, I still don’t. I just knew you had to take sides. I suffered, sickness, and wounds. My own family turned against me. They disowned me. I tried to explain, but… but, but they just wouldn’t listen to me. Pretty soon, I saw the rebel warlord was corrupt. The leadership were lying to the people. They — they wanted to replace the old government with a new government, which was just as bad. They were, they were taking people’s money, they were, they were, they were making promises with no intention of keeping them.
“And then a small army of counter-revolutionaries go to battle the rebels in the mountains, where the government forces were ineffective.
“I changed sides. No one ever noticed.
“This new movement was — was fighting for the truth, the rebels supposedly believed in, but really didn’t. And then I realized that this movement was being funded by the very government I wanted to topple. At that point, I realized, I didn’t want the government to fall. It would only be replaced with anarchy.
“I started believing in preserving the republic, so I joined the government forces. I fought bravely for the cause.
“And then one day we wiped out a small village. They, they, they told us something about the, the rebels having infiltrated… it was a lie. All the men were, uhhh, either dead, or old. And there were, there were, there was nothing but, uhhh, women and children left. …
“It was my village.
“And, uhhh, some- sometimes, uhhh, when I, when I dream — my dreams become my reality. and I wish I could live in my dreams.
“Do you ever dream?”
[Dylan]: “Yeah, I dream. My dreams are mucking through fire, intense heat. I don’ pay any attention to my dreams.”
Em is now back from her First Descents excursion. As predicted, this was an intense time and I have no doubt the reverberations will continue for quite some time to come while they’re being worked into her general psyche and identity. Basically, take about fourteen young adult cancer survivors to Jackson Wyoming (scene, coincidentally, of the Beckerantz honeymoon) and take them rock climbing, out of their comfort zone and let everybody feel alive in a way they never have before. The results are hard to put into words, especially for someone who wasn’t even there, but I’m sure she’ll be reporting at length on Seeemilyplay. But tonight, it’s all about iMovie. I’ve supplied this girl with what little knowledge I have and she’s running hog wild. The results are already tremendous, and she’s only up to about the three minute mark. Hopefully, by the end of this long weekend, I’ll link to an audio-visual document that will give you some idea of what she has experienced over the past week.
ProsaicParadise is soaking in the groovy sounds at ProgDay 2009 down in Chapel Hill. She’ll be seeing Ozric Tentacles and some other cool acts over two days. Kudos to her for making the trek in the name of great prog!
FBdN is in the country with his family and the greyhounds. Bucolic and calming pictures are already starting to emerge, and I urge you to check them out.
It’s Fringe Festival time here in Philadelphia and one of the local acts is an opera based on the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings and Alberto Gonzalez’s extraordinarily humorous performance. The thing itself was outrageous, but the The Gonzales Cantata is swiftly becoming a national craze, especially thanks to Rachel Maddow.
Aliette de Bodard is catching up on her Battlestar Galactica and has a few choice thoughts as she gets into season 4. This woman is an exceptional writer of sci-fi and fantasy and her career is just starting to take off, so it’s exciting to get her sincere thoughts on BSG and everything else. Her blog and fiction are highly recommended.
Finally, there is a great Dylan bootleg from July 5, 2009, that has just surfaced at T.U.B.E. There’s always great audience tapes of Bob’s shows, but this one is from the soundboard, which gives it a little more clarity. Great setlist, including my favorite from the new record, a lil ol’ blues number called Jolene.
Over at io9, there is a link to a massive analysis of why the Battlestar finale is the worst ending in sci-fi history. That’s a mighty assertion, but Brad Templeton seems to have the analysis to back it up. Unless I have a mssive flare-up of colitis and have to spend the next few hours in the men’s room, I’m not sure whe I’ll have time to read this, but one thing is for sure: any TV show that can get someone to do this kind of work is pretty powerful stuff.
And I’ll take this opportunity to keep banging the drum about what these people (Ron Moore, et al.) do for a living – they write series. A series does not have a beginning, middle and end. If you told a sponsor that you had solid gold viewership, millions of fans week in and week out, but that the show was only going to be on the air for a few months, would you get that sponsor’s support? Maybe, but networks, sponsors, show-runners, all crave stability and consistency. If it’s here today and gon tomorrow, that’s not really helpful, from a business sense.
So, who really cares if they flunked the ending? Who cares if the mysteries aren’t fully resolved and the questions aren’t once-and-for-all answered? Was it a good show? Did you enjoy watching it? Yes? Then STFU. I think the abuse of Bob Dylan in Battlestar is basically a crime against nature, but that’s not going to make me a hater. Battlestar Galactica still one of the best things to ever come out of that idiot box.