Tags: bob | dylan | china

Bob Dylan Turns 70

Monday, 23 May 2011 07:37 AM

By Jon Friedman

Recently, Bob Dylan figured in a controversy when he decided to play concerts in China, a repressive nation, without performing any of his vintage, so-called "protest songs" such as "Blowin' in the Wind" or "The Times They Are a-Changin'" or "Masters of War."

It was a ridiculous charge by journalists who wanted to exploit Dylan's name in the hope of increasing their own fame (and the number of their page views on the Internet).

The naysayers utterly missed the point of what Dylan, who turns 70 on May 24, has always been all about. He walks softly and carries a big stick, in the tradition of another great American. He seldom speaks out on political issues. Anyway, Dylan's great finger-pointing songs were always more about calling attention to examples of injustice than partisan politics.

Dylan pointedly lets his music do the talking, his policy since his earliest folkie days in Greenwich Village in 1961 and continuing it when he performed at the famous civil rights rally in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963. (Yes, that was when the Rev. Martin Luther King delivered his stirring "I have a Dream" oration.)

But Dylan has always kept his own counsel. As he sang on his "Street-Legal" album in 1978, "I have dined with kings/I've been offered wings/And I've never been too impressed," a reference to how Jimmy Carter deftly courted the young-people's vote in 1976 by quoting Dylan lyrics, notably "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," on which Dylan had sung: "And if my thought dreams cold be seen/They'd probably put me head in a guillotine." (Maybe Jimmy Carter didn't get quite that far when he perused the lyrics sheet.)

As people note Dylan's big birthday, let's remember his good work and fine example. He has been playing shows and making records now for 50 years, a testament to his longevity and a major accomplishment in itself. He has given us a lot. In return, let's give him our appreciation.

Jon Friedman writes the Media column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.

© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Nation Feeling Obama Burnout

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 08:02 AM

Obama could have looked dynamic if he had ventured forth to riot-torn Ferguson, Mo. . . .

'Ice-Bucket Challenge' a Winner for Social Media

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 11:27 AM

It seems that a social-media phenomenon has exploded in which people spill a bucket of ice water over their heads and pa . . .

Media Tear Into Tiger Woods

Monday, 11 Aug 2014 08:33 AM

I was legitimately wondering what the people's sentiment is these days about the star we loved to hate a few years ago. . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved