The Guardian in America

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At the Guardian's Comment is Free blog, American Prospect contributing editor Michael Tomasky announces the launch of Guardian America (which he will also edit), a website for those of us who like our Sovietophilia without peculiar British spelling. (If you think I exaggerate the Guardian's nostalgia for the East Bloc, click here, here and here. And let's not forget David Cox's classic "Saddam: A Tribute"). Currently populating the Guardian America homepage: Tomasky's interview with Hillary, a paean to Woody Guthrie, Sid Blumenthal on Valerie Plame, and a music critic asking if "Bob Dylan's new ad for the gas-guzzling Cadillac Escalade make[s] him the biggest sellout the world has ever seen?" (The author says off-handedly that Dylan also "sold out" when he went electric). The Guardian huffs that its eco-conscious constituents best not "look to the man for any sort of spiritual or moral guidance."

The offending video:

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  1. “But don’t look to the man for any sort of spiritual or moral guidance.”

    Yeah, I think Dylan has been telling people that for, oh, about 45 years now.

  2. Don’t know or care about the rest of the paper but the Guardians sports section, especially football, is great. Check out their football podcast and live commentaries of various matches.

  3. Dyan sold out when he went electric. Did they guy mention that Alger Hiss was innocent anywhere? What a blast from the past.

    I know Dylan is not the greatest guy in the world, but you have to love him for consistently giving the finger to the hippie old left crowd. Dylan could have been an unstoppable God among them if he just would have towed the line. The temptation to sell out and do so had to have been huge. But he never did.

  4. This just makes me want to buy a cadillac. Go, Bobby, go.

  5. Guardian America: Same old America hating snipe, but now for Americans!

  6. I am neither a General Motors fan nor a fan of Mr. Zimmerman’s music. However, his fans do entertain me.

  7. I am a big fan of Bobby D. It seems that those on the far left who have always idolized him have really idolized a false Dylan they created in their own minds. Then, when the real Dylan fails to “take up the cause” they ascribed to him, they call him a sellout. Been going on since the 60’s.

    He did declare he’s not gonna work on Maggie’s Farm – why are they shocked when he doesn’t.

  8. You know you’ve got a real, old-school lefty rag when on the first page of the first issue, they can find a way to mention, let alone think about, let alone write an article about Bob Dylan. It’s just sad.

  9. OMFG!!!11!11

    I didn’t read this far before I posted: (The author says off-handedly that Dylan also “sold out” when he went electric).

    Who the fuck still talks about this? Who the hell still sits around ruminating about this? Jesus h fucking Christ, let it go. What’s next, a four-part series on the meaning of that Beatles album cover about how barefoot McCartney is out of step with the other three?

  10. “He did declare he’s not gonna work on Maggie’s Farm – why are they shocked when he doesn’t.”

    Very true. I also love how they all think “Like A Rolling Stone” is the greatest song ever, even though if you listen to the lyrics it is nothing but 5 minute slam on leftist rich kids pretending to be a part of the masses. That song lampoons everything that your typical baby boomer leftist hippie was in the 1960s, but they can’t get enough of it.

  11. A question for the board. Which, if any, 60s icons haven’t “sold out”?

  12. There’s not a damn thing wrong with Woody Guthrie. Don’t despise him because the Bolsheviks at the Guardian want to associate themselves with him.

  13. …a website for those of us who like our Sovietophilia without peculiar British spelling.
    Much of that “peculiar British spelling” is probably just typos, for which the Guardian (or the Grauniad, as Private Eye calls it) is legendary.

  14. Lemme hit this “music critic” with a tidbit of information: No one cares about Bob Dylan. Let the man alone. If there’s one thing that can probably make Mr. Dylan’s eyes roll like a badly thrown bowling ball is for some brain-fried octagenarian (who was “there” in the sixties, natch) with the grey ponytail, trying to chew Dylan’s ear off about how he never should have gone electric.

  15. A question for the board. Which, if any, 60s icons haven’t “sold out”?

    J sub D:

    The ones no one cares about. It’s funny how that works.

  16. Damn, that was an awesome commercial. That ranks up there with those ones where the guy in the jetta is flying over sweet landscape to stop the wedding. I loved Dylan before and love him even more now!

  17. Didn’t back in the ’60s Dylan gave an interview about owning homes and worrying about there property values, and owning guns to shoot any trespassers.
    In the movie, “The Big Chill”, Klein and Berenger are talking about how they’re classmates would see them now, both rich,as to when they spoke on campus about money being an “anchor” or “bullshit” or something.
    Klein responds, “Fuck’em, I mean couldn’t you tell we were joking.” or something like that.
    That is Dylan. He has always played the lefties in audience for fools.
    Good for him.

  18. The Guardian huffs that its eco-conscious constituents best not “look to the man for any sort of spiritual or moral guidance.”

    …for which Bob Dylan is undoubtedly eternally grateful.

  19. A question for the board. Which, if any, 60s icons haven’t “sold out”?

    The dead ones.

  20. A question for the board. Which, if any, 60s icons haven’t “sold out”?

    Not sure how you are defining “sold out” but to my knowledge Neil Young hasn’t let his music be used in commercials.

  21. British papers make me ill. You should read some of the reefer madness garbage that they spout in their papers. Here is a sample headline: Mental Illness Rate Soars Among Users of Skunk Cannabis. I think the papers editors are mentally ill not the cannabis users.

  22. “With ones haven’t sold out?”

    They are a 70s icon, but how about Led Zepplin? It has got to be killing them to see lesser bands like the Eagles reunite and pull down a hundred million plus for a tour. If the Eagles are worth 100 million how much would a full fledged Zepplin reunion tour be worth? 200 million? A quarter of a billion? They could make more money in one year now than they did in their whole career before and they even have John Bonham’s son to play drums. I know I would be paying my $500 for a ticket and screaming like a teenager if it ever happened.

    But as of yet, they have not done it. They may be breaking though with their one time re-union concert in London. It is not like they hate each other or anything. They just seem to have too much respect for the now departed Bonham and their previous work to sellout and do a nastalgia show. You have to respect them for that.

  23. They just seem to have too much respect for the now departed Bonham and their previous work to sellout and do a nastalgia show. You have to respect them for that.

    No way, man. I’d respect them for making shitloads of dough.

    Maybe they feel they have enough money, and don’t feel like having young women screaming and throwing themselves at them.

    Riiiiight.

  24. Neil Young sold out harder than anyone, ever, when he stopped making records old hippies hate and became a Neil Young impersonator.

  25. Episiarch,

    I frankly can’t figure it out. They should have reuinted in the 1990s when they were not quite so old. If you look at what bands like the Police and the Eagles make, it boggles the mind to think what Led Zepplin, a band that towered over everyone in terms of sales and concert grosses for nearly 10 years, could make.

  26. A question for the board. Which, if any, 60s icons haven’t “sold out”?

    If this set includes all icons then I submit: William F. Buckley, Jr.

  27. “Neil Young sold out harder than anyone, ever, when he stopped making records old hippies hate and became a Neil Young impersonator.”

    The Harvest Moon record sits quietly in the corner hoping not to be noticed.

  28. I frankly can’t figure it out. They should have reuinted in the 1990s when they were not quite so old.

    Maybe they’re financial geniuses–and patient–and realize that the longer they wait (within reason) the more money they will make?

  29. “Maybe they’re financial geniuses–and patient–and realize that the longer they wait (within reason) the more money they will make?”

    This is the band that first demanded 90% of gross for playing concerts and got a $100,000 bonus from Atlantic before they recorded a note, so maybe you are right.

  30. Maybe they feel they have enough money, and don’t feel like having young women screaming and throwing themselves at them.

    Uhh, no, they won’t have young women screaming and throwing themselves at them. they’re going to have the same (now) tired old hags screaming and throwing themselves at them. That’s why they don’t do a reunion tour. And really, who can blame them?

  31. The Harvest Moon record sits quietly in the corner hoping not to be noticed.

    Case…in…point.

  32. old hippies hate and became a Neil Young impersonator.

    In Mr. Young’s case, that impersonator would be Ethel Merman.

  33. OF Course, as Ann Althouse said, all great art is inherently right wing.

  34. Che never sold out on his ideals of butchery, authoritarianism, and bad hats.

  35. A question for the board. Which, if any, 60s icons haven’t “sold out”?

    The dead ones.

    Yes. But their heirs did it for them.

  36. The 60s icons who didn’t sell out, quickly faded away to leftie niche obscurity. Think Phil Ochs or Arlo Guthrie. Dylan was too smart and too ambitious to follow that path. At best he would have just been another Pete Seeger. “Selling out” was clearly the right artistic choice.

  37. From the Guardian piece:

    Bob Dylan the “countercultural icon” – note the extremely sarcastic quotation marks – has sold out so many times that you’d think nothing would be shocking anymore.

    Who calls attention to sneer quotes?

  38. just been another Pete Seeger

    We need a new Godwin’s Law that applies to the first person to mention Pete Seeger when someone’s talking about the sixties.

  39. “Dylan was too smart and too ambitious to follow that path”

    He was also too good of a musician to follow that path. I think he played the folk music scene and wrote protest songs for the cynical purpose of getting famous. After he had that, he had other musical ambitions to follow. It was more than just the money or selling records. If he had wanted to that, he would have gone electric with session musicians and made top 40 pop. Instead, he hired some obscur noisy blues band and made music that didn’t sound like anything else on the charts. Yeah, it looks like a genius move in retrospect since it worked out, but there is nothing to say it might have failed spectacularly and Dylan would have drifted into obscurity.

  40. Uhh, no, they won’t have young women screaming and throwing themselves at them. they’re going to have the same (now) tired old hags screaming and throwing themselves at them. That’s why they don’t do a reunion tour. And really, who can blame them?

    As logical as that seems, I am assuming you’ve never hung out with young women who love hard rock and Zeppelin (there are plenty, especially white trash). They’d fuck those guys if they were in wheelchairs with colostomy bags. It’s the groupie mentality.

  41. He was also too good of a musician to follow that path. I think he played the folk music scene and wrote protest songs for the cynical purpose of getting famous. After he had that, he had other musical ambitions to follow.

    But what about Glenn Miller’s contributions? Oh, sorry, music that’s fifty years past the expiration date: cool. Music that’s 70 years out of date? You’re just screwed…

  42. They’d fuck those guys if they were in wheelchairs with colostomy bags. It’s the groupie mentality.

  43. Boy, I screwed that post up. If at first you don’t succeed …

    They’d fuck those guys if they were in wheelchairs with colostomy bags. It’s the groupie mentality.

    Agreed. Did Ol’ Blue Eyes ever have a problem getting laid by some sweet young thing?

  44. Same old America hating snipe, but now for Americans!

    Nice.

    In today’s Guardian (British version), Naomi Klein explains that America is turning into a fascist state in 10 easy steps.

  45. Excuse me, but f**k Bob Dylan for a second. Michael Tomasky gets off to a bad start as editor of the Guardian America by admitting that he doesn’t know what the f**k the “Peterloo Massacre” was. (The UK Guardian was founded in reaction to it.) The Massacre occasioned Percy Shelley’s great address to the working class, as follows:

    “Rise like Lions after slumber
    In unvanquishable number,
    Shake your chains to earth like dew
    Which in sleep had fallen on you-
    Ye are many – they are few.”

  46. Speaking of The Guardian….

    whadaya think about this?

  47. I frankly can’t figure it out. They should have reuinted in the 1990s when they were not quite so old. If you look at what bands like the Police and the Eagles make, it boggles the mind to think what Led Zepplin, a band that towered over everyone in terms of sales and concert grosses for nearly 10 years, could make.

    The Page/Plant reunion of the ’90s was effectively a Zeppelin reunion, especially their second tour that was pretty much note-for-note Zeppelin renditions.

    Page is semi-retired and has had health issues, and Plant has become a bit of a dilettante in his old age, flirting now with bluegrass music in the form of a collaboration with Alison Krauss.

  48. I believe we all remember the great Bob Dylan interview as of late from Rolling Stone, and I’d advise Kelley at the Guardian to review it:

    Wenner: What do you think of the historical moment we’re in today? We seem to be hellbent on destruction. Do you worry about global warming?

    Dylan: Where’s the global warming? It’s freezing here.

    And in the next priceless quote, we hear so succinctly stated what very much sounds like a died-in-the-wool libertarian:

    Wenner: It seems a pretty frightening outlook.

    Dylan: I think what you’re driving at, though, is we expect politicians to solve all our problems. I don’t expect politicians to solve anybody’s problems.

    Wenner: Who is going to solve them?

    Dylan: Our own selves. We’ve got to take the world by the horns and solve our own problems. The world owes us nothing, each and every one of us, the world owes us not one single thing. Politicans or whoever.

    Wenner: Do you think America is a force for good in the world today?

    Dylan: Theoretically.

    Wenner: But in practical fact ?

    Dylan: The practical fact is always different than theory.

    Wenner: What do you think the practical fact is now?

    Dylan: With what’s going on? Human nature hasn’t really changed in 3,000 years. Maybe the obstacles and actualities and daily customs change, but human nature really hasn’t changed. It cannot change. It’s not made to change.

    And I’d rather not repeat in this forum what you all probably know, Dylan’s mention of Goldwater being the only politician he ever really liked.

  49. Personally, I don’t like when musicians try and sell me cars. Screw Dylan for that commercial. Though of course he’d be just fine with me feeling that way.

    I also love how they all think “Like A Rolling Stone” is the greatest song ever, even though if you listen to the lyrics it is nothing but 5 minute slam on leftist rich kids pretending to be a part of the masses. That song lampoons everything that your typical baby boomer leftist hippie was in the 1960s, but they can’t get enough of it.

    That’s funny, John, I’ve always read that song as a slam on a hypothetical wealthy conservative who didn’t give a crap about the masses but then went broke. But I guess you can read it as being “anti-” whatever you want. Certainly Dylan would say you could.

    But as of yet, they have not done it. I know somebody mentioned it already, but come on guys, what were the “Page/Plant” tours if not a Zeppelin reunion tour?

    Neil Young, of course, rocks as much as ever, and yes, I do appreciate that he doesn’t let people use his songs in commercials.

  50. The British press sucks.

  51. In today’s Guardian (British version), Naomi Klein explains that America is turning into a fascist state in 10 easy steps.

    What a one-dimensional article. It boils down to “be mean and paranoid and target your political enemies…and stuff”. My funny feeling is that Ms. Klein has no real idea what Fascism is.

  52. lotsa talk about selling out. someone had a good point about a led zeppelin reunion tour. well what about a motley crue reunion tour? I know those guys hate each other but couldn’t they bury the hatchet for 100 million dollar let’s-get-richer world tour?

  53. John says “I think he played the folk music scene and wrote protest songs for the cynical purpose of getting famous.”

    Nah, you’re being cynical. There’s plenty of evidence that Dylan really admired people like Woody Guthrie, Odetta,Jack Elliott, Robert Johnson and other “authentic American voices.” He certainly bought into that whole romantic artist thing at the beginning. And he was still writing angry protest songs about race issues in the early 1970s (like “Hurricane”)after the radical left had given up on him. I think he was a “true friend of the Negro” and he was sincerely outraged by racial discrimination. But other than the Civil Rights movement he probably didn’t have much in common philosophically with the 60s leftists, and when the boomers moved on to Vietnam, culture wars, free drugs and a lot of hippie posing, Dylan wanted no part of it.

  54. There’s not a damn thing wrong with Woody Guthrie.

    Woody Guthrie was a collectivist thug who extolled marauding ruffians like the Okies and who wanted to put hardworking capitalists like Rockefeller in a reeducation camps.

  55. Oh, I love The Guardian. Every day is a trip down memory lane, whether it’s The Guardian’s nostalgia for the Soviet Union or the fact that no Leftist in the U.K. can get over Thatcher. Yes, the American Left still complains occasionally about Reagan, but it lacks the same immediacy. You’d think Thatcher left office last year.

    When I read The Guardian, I feel like it’s still 1982.

  56. “Yes, Prime Minister” on the British press:

    Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; The Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; And The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

    Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?

    Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

  57. Ah, memories of Woody Guthrie!

    I remember as a young lad we use to sing his beautiful song about America, “This land is my land”

    This land is my land
    It is not your land
    I’ve got a shotgun
    And you don’t have one
    I’ll blow your head off
    if you don’t get off.
    This land was made for me not you.

    And then today you read about public school revisionist unionized teachers who change the words into a collectivist travesty of Woody’s original song.

  58. “But as of yet, they have not done it. I know somebody mentioned it already, but come on guys, what were the “Page/Plant” tours if not a Zeppelin reunion tour?”

    No John Paul Jones. It is like a Beatles reunion with just Lennon and McCartney and no George Harrison. I know those were close, but Jones really did add to the band.

    “That’s funny, John, I’ve always read that song as a slam on a hypothetical wealthy conservative who didn’t give a crap about the masses but then went broke. But I guess you can read it as being “anti-” whatever you want. Certainly Dylan would say you could.”

    I always thought that to until I really listened to it one day. I think you can read it either way. But, I always had the sense that the girl in the song, certainly didn’t give a crap about the masses but also liked to think that she could mingle with the masses. The line “You used to be so amused
    At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used”. To me that is just radical chic. People who are rich and don’t give a shit but like to hang out and pretend that they do. But its Dylan and like you said he would agree that you can read it about ten different ways.

  59. So communism had no redeeming features?

  60. The fact that Dylan can still get the rubes shouting “Judas!” in 2007 is just more proof of his greatness.

  61. … a website for those of us who like our Sovietophilia without peculiar British spelling.

    Except that the Guardian America won’t fulfill this criteria, because they will be keeping that peculiar British spelling.

    As Tomasky wrote:

    And although I won the battle of the plural -s on sports, I lost a futile argument in London over the summer about the utility of Americanizing (sorry, Americanising) certain spellings.

    They even have an entire article dedicated to the subject, in which it is clearly written: Guardian America, the US edition of the British newspaper, won’t use American spellings and punctuation.

  62. A question for the board. Which, if any, 60s icons haven’t “sold out”?

    I didn’t sell out, son, I bought in…

  63. Wasn’t “Like A Rolling Stone” about Edie Sedgwick?

  64. Captain Beefheart didn’t sell out.

  65. Like a Rolling Stone was about Edie Sedgwick at least in part. I don’t know where she fell on the ideological spectrum.

  66. I’d just like to clarify that I don’t think Bob Dylan sold out when he went electric. I was just listing all the times he has been called a sell out. I’m a big fan of electricity, really.

  67. Holy crap, Peter. My opinion of Dylan just went up 1,000%.

    I don’t know where she fell on the ideological spectrum.

    Wherever she fell, you can be sure she landed on her back with her legs in the air.

  68. As we welcome the Guardian to America, it’s only fitting to recall what may be the most-comprehensive editorial correction ever published — by that same Guardian on July 14,2000:

    In our report, Life after Living Marxism, page 10, July 8 [2000], we referred to the Reason Foundation and said its “leading writer, the syndicated columnist Sandra Postrel, is author of the libertarian book The Enemies Of Freedom and frequently talks at the Hudson Institute”. The Reason Foundation points out that no one of that name works at the Foundation or for Reason Magazine. The editor-at-large and former editor of the magazine is called Virginia Postrel. She is a columnist for Forbes and the New York Times but not a “syndicated” columnist. Her book is not called The Enemies Of Freedom. It is called The Future And Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise and Progress (Free Press). The Reason Foundation says Ms Postrel has never been to the Hudson Institute and has no connection with the organisation

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/corrections/story/0,3604,343167,00.html

  69. Selling out just means that some exclusive cultural niche lost its exclusivity over the offending icon. I thought people got over the notion of selling out when they turned 20 or so. Personally, I can’t stand what major labels do to music, and I feel a cultural disconnect when rebel bands are used as the soundtrack to shitty cars. But “selling out”? C’mon. Give me a Blood on the Tracks anyday over a Highway 61 Revisited.

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