Bob Dylan to AARP (!): "The government's not going to create jobs. It doesn't have to."


Bob Dylan, the greatest creative force in postwar America (in my opinion), has given a fantastic and uncharacteristically straightforward interview to AARP magazine. Most of the talk focuses on his upcoming album, Shadows of the Night, in which he croaks his way through songs from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s (sounds pretty good from the clips I've heard).

But in a discussion of whether or not any of us is ever truly, permanently happy, the auteur behind the awesomely apocalyptic LP Slow Train Coming (sample lyric: "My so-called friends have fallen under a spell/They look me squarely in the eye and they say, "All is well"/Can they imagine the darkness that will fall from on high/When men will beg God to kill them and they won't be able to die?") is asked if he's ever "touched happiness." His response:

We all do at certain points, but it's like water — it slips through your hands. As long as there's suffering, you can only be so happy. How can a person be happy if he has misfortune? Some wealthy billionaire who can buy 30 cars and maybe buy a sports team, is that guy happy? What then would make him happier? Does it make him happy giving his money away to foreign countries? Is there more contentment in that than in giving it here to the inner cities and creating jobs? The government's not going to create jobs. It doesn't have to. People have to create jobs, and these big billionaires are the ones who can do it We don't see that happening. We see crime and inner cities exploding with people who have nothing to do, turning to drink and drugs. They could all have work created for them by all these hotshot billionaires. For sure that would create lot of happiness. Now, I'm not saying they have to — I'm not talking about communism — but what do they do with their money? Do they use it in virtuous ways?

Q: So they should be moving their focus here instead of …

A: Well, I think they should, yeah, because there are a lot of things that are wrong in America, and especially in the inner cities, that they could solve. Those are dangerous grounds, and they don't have to be. There are good people there, but they've been oppressed by lack of work. Those people can all be working at something. These multibillionaires can create industries right here in America. But no one can tell them what to do. God's got to lead them.

Q: And productive work is a kind of salvation in your view? To feel pride in what you do?

A: Absolutely.

"The government's not going to create jobs. It doesn't have to. People have to create jobs…" That line (and its populist snark directed at "big billionaires," "hostshot billionaires," and "multibillionaires") reminds me of Dylan's always dissonant politics. As he wrote in his memoir, Chronicle, he was at odds with liberal bent of the Greenwich Village folk scene from which he emerged:

There was no point in arguing with Dave [Van Ronk], not intellectually anyway. I had a primitive way of looking at things and I liked country fair politics. My favorite politician was Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who reminded me of Tom Mix, and there wasn't any way to explain that to anybody.

Dylan wote that in the 21st century, of course. Back around 1964, he was willing to pen songs such as "I Shall Be Free No. 10," which includes the following jibe at Mr. Conservative: "If you think that I'll let Barry Goldwater/Move in next door and marry my daughter/You must think I'm crazy!" Elsewhere, he's disdained the protest songs through which he gained his first bout of celebrity, saying he was just trying to impress his friends (this, like all Dylan musings, is to be taken with a grain or ten of salt). While he dabbled in radical chic (see the fabulously misinformed song, "The Hurricane," for instance), Dylan's genius is precisely that he was never really at one with his audience, who have always projected onto him whatever it was they thought they needed.

At his early peak, in 1966, when it was his turn to be the nation's singing savior, he disappeared (he says in the AARP interview it was because he wanted to be family man and raise his kids). When he returned, he started doing goddamn country music at a time when even Sammy Davis Jr. for god's sake was driving deep into the psychedelic night (Sammy's cover of "Candy Man" speaks of a "groovy lemon pie."). But there's Dylan, warbling through songs with Johnny Cash and hanging out in Nashville, then the squarest city on the planet. At the height of the coke-filled, ultra-libertine 1970s, he released the aforementioned Slow Train Coming, the greatest and purest jeremiad that rock music has yet spawned. Only a few years later, in the age of Reagan, he shed his born-again persona and seemingly embraced the state of Israel (see "Neighborhood Bully" on Infidels), which caused rending of garments and gnashing of teeth among his more liberal followers. Was Bobby some kind of right-winger? In 2012, as Reason's Brian Doherty documented, Dylan refused to play along with an obsequious interviewer at Rolling Stone, who desperately need the Maestro to endorse Barack Obama and ratify a hardline on global warming. And just WTF was up with that great nativist Super Bowl commercial for a foreign-owned car maker?

Dylan has always been a couple of steps ahead of his audience and he's always beckoned us to follow, not in the self-hating fashion of many rock gods who swear off their earlier material. No, Dylan is simply living his life and doesn't mind if we want to follow him, even as it takes him into strange and often wonderful places (think the late '90s triumph of Time Out of Mind and, more recently, 2009's Christmas in the Heart, in which the former Robert Zimmerman recasts "Here Comes Santa Claus" as one of the most insistent and terrifying tunes in the American songbook).

I like Dylan because he's always out there, trundling through the night literally on his "never-ending tour" (he talks about that, too, with AARP) and because he really has always been more of a beatnik than a hippie or a folkie. For all the yammering about his identification with Woody Guthrie, Chronicle and the Martin Scorcese documentary No Direction Home, which was built around interviews Dylan taped with his manager, make it clear that Dylan is cursed to wander forever a mythical America like another of his heroes, Jack Kerouac. But he's Jack Keroauc with a stronger liver, or better self-restraint, and somebody who never tires of meeting new people and seeing new places. This comes through too, in the AARP interview, that he's happy rambling and drawing connections to a past that is fading away while he's still busy being born.

And most of all, he doesn't take his gnomic pronouncements on anything too seriously:

The last time I did an interview, the guy wanted to know about everything except the music. People have been doing that to me since the '60s — they ask questions like they would ask a medical doctor or a psychiatrist or a professor or a politician. Why? Why are you asking me these things?

Full Q&A here.

Hat tips: Kurt Loder and Mediaite's Andrew Kirell.

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  1. “Bob Dylan, the greatest creative force in postwar America (in my opinion)”

    Um, what about Eddie Van Halen?

    1. What about Ed Wood? IMHO, that lunatic at the bus station screaming about cats stealing his brain is bigger creative force than Dylan.

      1. Ditto that.

    2. Is it wrong that I’m just not that big of a Dylan fan? I respect his work, and I like these statements that make lefties who think he’s one of them feel faint, but I’m not sure I can accept Nick’s assessment.

      1. I like Blood on the Tracks. I’m not the biggest fan of his recent work.

      2. He had his moments:

        A self-ordained professor’s tongue
        Too serious to fool
        Spouted out that liberty
        Is just equality in school
        “Equality,” I spoke the word
        As if a wedding vow
        Ah, but I was so much older then
        I’m younger than that now

        I suspect lefties aren’t alone in feeling faint.

        1. Sure. I like “All Along the Watchtower”. . .provided it’s the Hendrix version.

          1. “Country Pie” – when covered by The Nice.

        2. I was raised on Dylan, and I can still take the period from _Another Side_ to _Blonde on Blonde_, with a resurgence at _Blood on the Tracks_ and _Desire_, but overall I think he’s probably the second most overrated American musical figure after Jim Morrison.

          He lost me completely with the born-again stuff.

          1. anything he did after I was born is lost on me.

          2. Morrison is underrated as a crooner, which is his proper classification.

        3. I hadn’t given it much thought, but the stanza sounds like disavowing egalitarianism (“freedom is conformity”), which puts him once again at odds with lefty wisdom.

      3. ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ to me is so epic.

        And there’s something to ‘Positively 4th Street’ that captivates me.

        1. Wow. Good taste dude. The latter is the angriest great song written about a women ever.

          Check out ‘Series of Dreams’.

          1. I thought you hated me for being Canuckistani.

            1. No, I like Canada. You gave us SCTV, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell.

              Recently you suck though. But so do we.

              1. Neil Young

                Confirmed for shitty tastes.

                1. Shit. Have you heard Crosby Stills or Nash? NY had 99% of the talent in that group.

                  1. 99% of 0 is still 0.

        2. you’ve got a lot of nerve buddy.

          1. I’m not your buddy, pal.

            1. I’m not your pal, friend.

      4. I don’t know, I think there’s a generational thing with Dylan. I’m 36, so he’s just one of the hippy musicians who lived to me. There’s some stuff of his I think is pretty good, but lacking any nostalgic influence I think he’s just an older, crankier version of Tom Waits that’s not as interesting a musician.

        1. Tom waits wishes he could suck dylan’s ball sweat.

          I’m 34 and realize that dylan had about 25 years of absolute greatness. the first 25 of his career.

      5. No.

        Can we ever get past the icons of the Boomer generation?

      6. He was a better writer than performer.

      7. Not wrong, I don’t think. I like Dylan and think he is an interesting artist. And the way he has always fucked with his fans is great. But I pretty much never deliberately listen to any of his music.

    3. Dylan is fucking awful. I don’t see how anyone can think this guy is a good singer or musician unless they’ve done acid at least 30 million times and don’t have any brain cells left.

      1. He doesn’t sound that good when you’re on acid, either.

        1. I know.

          1. his voice is really warm, it’s just that it aint got not form. But it’s just like a dead man’s last pistol shot, baby.

      2. I don’t think you will find many who claim he is a good singer (though when younger he could sing better than he let on). If you are going to appreciate him it is probably as a writer and composer. I’m no Dylan devotee, but I think he has written a lot of very good songs.

    4. Tom Thumb’s Blues is magic.

      In concert in the 80’s he was terrible; could not identify what song he was singing.

      1. I saw him sometime in the early 90s and it was the same. The band was pretty good, but the singing was so poorly articulated that you could barely identify the melody.

    5. What about him?

  2. Bob Dylan, the greatest creative force in postwar America (in my opinion)

    Lou Reed is spinning in his grave.

    1. Yeah, but he’s just trying to find a place to shoot up.

    2. Lou Reed? Seriously? He’s the most overrated rocker *ever*.

      1. I would agree except that he never became universally worshipped like Dylan did. Undeserved cult following vs. undeserved demi-God status makes Dylan the winner of the “over-rated” title.

      2. I’ll give you Dylan as a step above Lou Reed. But only one step. you may not like him, or the genres of music he inspired, but Lou was a HUGE influence on almost every rocker today. Even Elizabeth Cook (COUNTRY) does a great version of Lou’s “Pale Blue Eyes”.

      1. I didn’t even know he was sick!

      2. That’s what I’ve heard.

      3. A couple of years ago, actually (assuming you’re being serious).

    3. Lou read is the MOST OVER RATED creative force ever. it’s like he stumbled upon a generation that NEEDED someone, anyone, to be great and they pretended he was instead.

      1. Lou Reed is the most frequently declared to be the most overrated artist artist ever.

        I do like Velvet Underground, I don’t like much Lou Reed solo stuff. But you can’t deny that he is very influential.

    4. Who’s Lou Reed?

  3. Is Dyaln continuing his gradual transformation into Vincent Price?

    1. Wait, has anyone ever seen Bob Dylan and Vincent Price in the same room at the same time?

      1. I only noticed it after Vincent Price died, so I’m thinking more venegful spirit takes control of person’s body and goes on to replace them situation.

        1. That would be great. Because one of my unfulfilled dreams is a buddy pic with Vincent Price and Christopher Lee.

          1. Saruman does The Thriller

  4. Nick, like the billionaire Koch brothers gave you a job at Reason. So like why don’t they hire people that have really been stopped and frisked or live in bad New Jersey neighborhoods. People who’ve had their assets seized. Shit like that .

    1. You know, I’m a pro-science and technology libertarian who lacks the wealth to do some real good. So the Kochs should send a few tens of million my way. You know, for the greater good. I swear I’ll stay vocally libertarian.

      1. I’m curious why there was no follow up on what his millions were doing to solve the problem…

        1. With a gift of $10M I could create so many better problems for myself.

        2. I’m assuming because his initial response was largely incoherent and the writer figured a follow-up would yield more of the same.

          While I’m a fan of Dylan’s earlier work and agree he’s a hugely influential artist, I’ve read a couple of interviews with him and nothing he says indicates fo me that he pays much attention to politics. Lefties may get upset because he doesn’t regurgitate the standard propaganda, but if we’re taking his “government can’t create jobs” comment as some sort of common cause with libertarians, I think it’s like trying to see the future in tea leaves or animal organs. He’s just talking to talk and anything he says that shows support for libertarians (or anyone else) is just coincidental.

  5. I think I’ll take Dylan’s (implied) advice and ignore what he says. Especially about music.

  6. There are good people there, but they’ve been oppressed by lack of work.

    The biggest oppression is taxation and regulation. How many inner-city poor are taxed beyond their means and regulated out of legitimate work? A hell of a lot more than there are billionaires.

    The Temptations got this a lot more right than Dylan ever did..

    1. “Ball of Confusion” is highly underrated as a political song. I was annoyed that Love and Rockets left out “The politicians say more taxes will solve everything” in their version.

  7. As Dylan himself would say, “wah wah wah wah wah wah mumble mumble wah wah.”

  8. I always wanted to hear Dylan, Tom Petty and Joe Walsh do a song together. See which one could nasally out-twang the others.

    Hmmmm. Haaaaah. Hnnnnnh.

  9. Bob Dylan, the greatest creative force in postwar America (in my opinion)

    You just don’t get it, Nick, do you? You just don’t get it.

    1. BTW, which war is he talking about?

        1. Terror. That’s how he discounted Michael Jackson.

  10. “Bob Dylan, the greatest creative force in postwar America (in my opinion)”

    Said an old guy.

  11. Your evening derp:

    Saudi cleric issues fatwa against making snowmen.…..nter-fatwa

    It snowed in Saudi Arabia recently, so they had to say something.

    I am Ripper… Tearer… Slasher… Gouger. I am the Teeth in the Darkness, the Talons in the Night. Mine is Strength… and Lust… and Power! I AM DERPETOLOGIST!

    1. Munajjid had some supporters however. “It (building snowmen) is imitating the infidels, it promotes lustiness and eroticism,”

      They’ll fuck anything, won’t they?

      1. He realizes the carrot is for the snowman’s nose, right?

        1. *snort*

        2. Bart just wrote about this on the chalkboard last week.

    2. “May God preserve the scholars, for they enjoy sharp vision and recognise matters that even Satan does not think about.”

      In other words, Satan is like, “wow, he sure has a dirty mind!”

    3. Is snowman construction much of an issue in Saudi Arabia?

    4. “Tremble, Frosty, you infidel dog, for the wrath of Allah shall melt you like a…a…like a you!”

    5. Ah, 206 bones, 50 miles of small intestine, full, pouting lips. Why, this fellow is less a snowman than a god.

  12. I once heard someone say that The Rolling Stones are the most overrated garbage to ever exist. They were wrong. Dylan holds that title.

    1. I would have picked you to have the worst taste on the board.

      1. I would have picked you to be the most stupid poster ever in all the history of the intertoobs.

        Chalk another correct prediction up for me.

    2. “most overrated garbage ever”

      Have you seen Citizen Kane yet?

      1. Are you kidding me? That’s a fantastic film that deserves all of its praise.

        1. I wouldn’t know. I never been able to watch the whole thing without falling asleep.

          I was surprised to learn it’s only 2 hours long.

          1. I’ve never been able to watch, etc.

          2. Perhaps Transformers or some other ADHD shit is up your alley you no-taste having bint.

      2. Citizen Kane is fantastic. It’s legitimately one of the finest films ever made.

        1. Did you mean Touch of Evil?

        2. No. Asian Nurses 7.

        3. The best movie ever is Fight Club.

    3. Most overrated either goes to Pink Floyd or the Stones. You pick.

      1. Floyd. At least the Stones are entertaining.

      2. Floyd is genius, their ability to do the mad scientist/experimental thing without losing melody has never been equaled. Their music is timeless, and it had a magic that continues to inspire the legions of young people who discover them.

        The Rolling Stones wrote the book on rock n roll, they are the archetype, the OG of OGs in the rock n roll universe. The Beatles had, what, a good five year run? The Stones kicked ass through the 60’s and 70’s with songs so good that they can still sellout arenas with them to this day. Their combination of blues and honky tonk (with kickass guitar work) is the foundation of rock n roll.

        I get it, you guys have hung your hats on juvenile subjectivism and you want to play the dandy and only like shit that no one else listens to. But a work need not be terrible to be popular, and it is equally parasitic to *not* like popular stuff because it is popular, as it is to like it for being popular.

        1. I get it, you guys have hung your hats on juvenile subjectivism and you want to play the dandy and only like shit that no one else listens to. But a work need not be terrible to be popular, and it is equally parasitic to *not* like popular stuff because it is popular, as it is to like it for being popular.

          Fuck off…you have no idea what you are talking about. I’m 49 and the greatest band ever to grace the earth is Aerosmith.

          Floyd and the Stones, simply suck.

          1. the greatest band ever to grace the earth is Aerosmith.

            Derivative crap. You’re dead to me.

            1. I like Aerosmith, but OMWC is right…anything they did that was great, the Stones did first, and better.

              On the other hand, just because something is derivative doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad. In fact, sometimes it can be pretty great. Oasis (a band I think put out some amazing work) built a whole career off of sounding like other artists but adding their own twists.

            2. On the other hand, Floyd were geniuses and only a moron who thinks Aerosmith is the greatest band ever would be dumb enough to miss that. 🙂

          2. You’re out of your element, old man. Aerosmith is pretty good, but they are nowhere near the upper pantheon of rock n roll, which is where Floyd and the Stones reside. Aerosmith will be their servants in the afterlife.

            1. Word.

              I don’t want to be overly serious here. But I do get annoyed at people who substitute their own taste for a fair critical assessment of an artist. There are plenty of artists (Dylan, for example) who I don’t particularly enjoy but whom I can nevertheless accept are good at what they do.

          3. “I’m 49 and the greatest band ever to grace the earth is Aerosmith.”

            I feel like I just stumbled into the comments section at the onion.

        2. Floyd is the absolute best. Fucking amazing.

        3. They might only be familiar with Floyd after the lobotomy. It’s important to my faith in humanity that I believe that. It will save on ammo too.

    4. They were wrong because The Rolling Stones are awesome AND because Dylan sucks.

    5. More overrated than Bruce Springsteen?

      1. Once he started drug testing everyone that worked for him he was dead to me.

  13. Nick’s opinion has driven me to promise myself to sit down for another listen of Paul Simon’s Graceland tomorrow.

    1. ghosts and empty fucking sockets, man. ghosts and empties.

      1. That’s a seriously good album.

  14. In other snow related derp, Sweden has determined that plowing roads first is sexist, because roads are mostly used by men:…..ual-greens

    1. Most roads are built by men. Most buildings are designed by men. Most ships are sailed by men. Most crops are harvested by men.

      1. Then all that stuff will have to go until half of all architects, sea captains, and farmers are women.


        /Title IX

    2. Believe it or not, this makes more sense than the Saudi snow story:

      “Inspired by authorities in the municipality of Karlskoga, Helld?n explained that snowploughs in Stockholm typically target areas frequented by men, such as the roads, rather than entries to day cares, footpaths, and cycle paths, which are more often used by women.”

      At first I thought this made sense, then I said to myself, “wait, they expect women to walk to the day care on the slippery roads, and get compensated for it by having the day-care entrance ploughed clean?”

      1. OK, maybe it *doesn’t* make sense, unless there’s something about Swedish conditions I don’t know about.

        1. Anyway, ploughing is an aggressive, male chauvinist act, as indicated by the fact that “plow” is often used as slang for cisgendered sexual activity.

          Just have women bring their portable heaters and gently melt the snow, not roughly violate it with some plow machine.


      2. Yeah, there’s a reason they plow the main roads first. One of the reasons is so that they can get to the other roads to plow. I’m not sure how someone is expected to plow the entry to a day care if the road leading to the day care isn’t yet plowed.

      3. Why would you ask a Saudi cleric for permission to do anything?

    3. Fine and when they’re snowed in and can’t get food, let the fuckers starve. Whoever succeeds them on the land will hopefully have learned a lesson.

  15. Dylan is the greatest. It is telling how conservatives can’t “hear” Dylan and prefer crap like Lee Greenwood or bland rock like Rush.

    Highway 61 to Isis was the best run of albums ever challenged only by the Stones run of the same time period.

      1. Wallison has been peddling that shit for years. The other four Republicans in the FCIC committee don’t even back him.

        And he ignores the fact that banks are paying over $50 billion in fines for larding up the two GSEs with nonconforming subprime paper that they had to buy back for breach of contract.

        1. banks are paying over $50 billion in fines for larding up the two GSEs with nonconforming subprime paper

          IOW, the GSEs bought them and now want to blame the banks.

          Dylan sucks ass.

          1. The banks lied about the FICO scores and got S&P and Moody’s to slap bogus AAA ratings on the MBS.

            Banks caused the subprime crisis.

            1. No they didn’t. Government did. Government even granted S&P and Moody’s their little ratings oligarchy so the would not have to compete. The scores and ratings are twaddle the GSEs went on a garbage buying spree and the banks just gave them what they wanted.

              1. You idiot. The credit raters won Supreme Court rulings that their opinions were protected by the 1A. Then they sold AAA ratings like ice cream.

                Wall St lost their ass all on their own.

                1. That’s about as relevant to the financial crisis as a raindrop is to a tsunami. Thanks for once again demonstrating that you know nothing about anything.

            2. Lol, blaming it on the banks. That’s like blaming the dog on biting a person after the owner takes off the leash and says “Sic ’em!”

        2. And he ignores the fact that banks are paying over $50 billion in fines…

          That’s some of the dumbest fucking reasoning I’ve ever run across. It’s a new low, even for you.

          In most cases, JPM & BAC stand out as particularly egregious examples of this, the banks are paying fines on behalf of the institutions the government insisted they had to acquire to “save the financial system”.

          But, let’s even ignore that little fact. By your reasoning, an inner city black kid who takes a plea bargain is obviously guilty, right? It’s not like Spitzer didn’t prove that a long protracted legal battle against the government is a losing proposition.

    1. I can understand not liking Rush, but bland?

      If you think this is bland, you need your ears checked

        1. Yes, please.

      1. Speaking of bland, here’s my favorite Lawrence Welk song.

    2. Even Dylan is mystified by how much liberals use liking his music as signalling. If you think Dylan is the greatest musician in postwar America it’s because you’ve never listened to anything else. Nobody who isn’t trying to appear “deep” or like a neo-beatnik honestly believes that Bob Dylan is a musical genius, and that includes Bob Dylan.

      1. that’s what makes him great.

    3. I like JS Bach. Does that make me conservative or liberal?

      Dylan moans and slurs when he sings, and I can’t stand Lee Greenwood. I don’t particulalry care one way or the other for Rush.

  16. Bob Dylan, the greatest creative force in postwar America (in my opinion),

    How has The Jacket not detached itself from Gillespie yet in order to find a younger, more hip host?

  17. My favorite Dylan moment was the duet he did with Janet Jackson at Super Bowl XXXVIII.

    1. Was that the wardrobe malfunction?

    2. Oh, and the breeder is going to be in town next week. You around?

  18. The best recent performance of a Dylan song is Bill Murray’s rendition of “Shelter From The Storm” during the credits of Murray’s movie, “St. Vincent.” He’s spraying the hose around the garden and chiming in with, “I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn …. come in she said I’ll give you …..


    1. The Big Lebowski featured Dylan song prominately.

  19. My wife and I both like Dylan. However, we were in no way surprised when, while watching a PBS documentary on his musical career, our sons’ verdict was that his music is horrible. (My elder son, who is musically trained, was of the opinion that it was more like performance art than music.)

    Objectively, Dylan’s voice IS musically horrible. His guitar is nothing special. But the lyrics are good, and they are mostly his own, and the combination of the three spoke in some way to his generation. You had to be there … and geezers like me still have a fondness for Dylan’s music because it reminds us of our youth.

    I still like Dylan’s music, but I would never want to make an argument from reason that it is any good. There really is no accounting for taste.

    1. No other solo artist than perhaps Van Morrison comes close to him.

      Elvis was a singer who couldn’t write a limerick. Who else is there?

      Neil Young is good. Tom Waits is great. Others are one hit wonders or cover bands.

      1. “Others are one hit wonders or cover bands.”

        Yeah, like Paul Simon. A one hit wonder.

        Buttplug you never fail to amuse me.

    2. Dylan is like a championship team that has no single standout or dominates at any one thing but put together as a whole, they do great things.

      Packers of the 60s comes to mind. But there have been plenty of teams like that.

      Personally, I like Dylan and get how he fits in the context of music history.

    3. Dylan is a mediocre musician, but his lyrics are tremendous and they work so well with the folk style that he ends up being great anyway.

      There’s a reason so many people cover Dylan songs. As a lyricist he’s untouchable.

      1. They don’t cover Dylan just for his lyrics.

      2. “As a lyricist he’s untouchable.”

        That’s because his lyrics are so damn dopey.

  20. Little wonder Nick never visits this board. You Peanuts are brutish louts.

    I can rehab a couple of you though. I see a glimmer of hope!

  21. Whatever one might think of Bob Dylan

    i think his principal asset from a political point of view has been “complete incoherence”

    No one can claim to own the guy because he doesn’t make the first bit of sense. And I think, to his credit, that has been calculated. I can’t remember the quote, but something someone once said about ‘good songs’ was (paraphrase)

    “The trick is to get everyone to *think* they understand what you’re saying, without you ever saying anything at all”

  22. Little wonder Nick never visits this board. You Peanuts are brutish louts.

    Awww, whine more about subjective music tastes. Grow up.

    1. Well, that’s the problem. Nick was trying to be “objective” about something that is quite “subjective”. And even if we take Nick’s statement at face value, for fuck’s sake, anyone who’s not reduced to eating applesauce while watching Matlock in the nursing home’s common area’s TV set knows that even these 3 minutes and 36 seconds have had more cultural impact in America than Bob Dylan has had in 45 years.

        1. MrGrevy
          3 months ago

          Those women were jews, and obviously would have ordered from the 99 cent menu.?

          Which leads to a 56 reply threat about Jewish banking conspiracies.

          Never change Youtube comment section. Never. Change.

          1. I miss the “Still better than Justin Beiber” comments on every video. Oh wait no I don’t.

          2. Yeah. They’re mentally diseased.

          3. Hide Youtube Comments

            Suspect this would diminish your enjoyment immeasurably, but FYI.

            1. Thanks. But it’s the same thrill that I suspect Victorian Londoners felt when visiting Bedlam.

      1. Why does Nick need to be objective? This us an opinion web site.

        1. That’s just like, your opinion… man.

        2. Why does Nick need to be objective? This us [sic] an opinion web site.

          Not all opinions are of equal merit.

          1. True. None of the Dylan haters can posit an alternative.

            Ike Turner? WTF?

            1. Anyone but Dylan = Dylan alternative

              1. You’re a Justin Bieber fan I see.

                1. You’re retarded apparently.

      2. Eh, I’m mostly just taking shots at people who primarily use media as a shitty social identity. Calling people ‘brutish louts’ because they don’t like the same pressure and displacement waves as you is the height of arrogance and stupidity.

        I’ll call Cytotoxic out on bitching about Old Star Trek and praising Abrams stuff, but I’m not a fucking ‘Trekkie’. I’ll defend some old Trek for the stuff I like but there’s so much shitty old Star Trek that you can bitch about and there’s no way I’m going to tie myself to Roddenberry’s stupid beliefs.

        1. Sometimes a lout is a lout. If you were shouting down the orchestra during a Mahler concert demanding AC/DC then you are a lout.

          1. See, you’re a prime example of these sad attempts at social identification through pop culture. It couldn’t just being loud and uncouth at any social function, you have to name-drop an Austrian Romantic in a shitty attempt to convey sophistication.

            Again, height of arrogance and stupidity. We get it Buttplug, you want to project a certain persona, you just do a crap job at it.

            1. Ding ding ding, we have a winner! I get going to bat for Dylan as a lyricist, or as a folk act generally, or just because you’re of that generation (I feel the same about Nirvana). But the only people who get this enthusiastic about Dylan are people who think there’s some value in the association. It’s sad and pathetic, and obnoxious in the extreme.

            2. I am not attempting. I AM sophisticated. Mahler is wonderful but I am on a Bartok bender now with a little blow and some Jameson’s.

              1. PFFF HAHAHAHAHHAHA


                Again, this is just sad. Please, continue to support my point by engaging in the exact behaviour that shows how you’re a fool trying to claim cultural superiority through the power of *NAMEDROP*.

                1. Idiot. I have never tried to be popular here. That is obvious.

                  1. And of course, only a TRUE sophisticate would self-identify as one.

                  2. No you’re just a self-regarding insecure twat who doesn’t know anything about anything.

                  3. Hey genius, where did I say it had anything to do with popularity? It’s not, it’s about a shitty sense of superiority due subjective cultural tastes.

                    Once again, Buttplug, I get it, you’re a pathetic narcissist who has to be validated by empty social identifiers and being badmouthed by people you think are your inferiors. Congratulations, you’re a dysfunctional human being.

                    1. So I am superior.

                      Thank you.

                    2. You keep telling yourself that, you sad, sad little boy.

                    3. Deep down IT knows this post by Titor was a viciously accurate description of IT’s behavior/motives/personality.

              3. Of course you’re on blow. No one ever doubted that.

          2. Mahler concert

            So we’re back to the discussion of the most grossly fucking overrated?

        2. Well that’s the thing. When Gillespie is forced to begrudingly acknowledge the cultural impact of Star Trek, it’s always with a rhetorical eyeroll and nerd sneering. If Nick is going to adopting the posture of being so fucking cool, you’d expect him to be fucking cool, yeah? The Boomer “music ended with us” trope is the opposite of fucking cool.

          1. Don’t forget the ‘5 Best Libertarian Shows’, where apparently anything that isn’t critically acclaimed or has Penn in it doesn’t count. What has a cultural impact is substantially more than just what you deem ‘cool’ and it’s really limiting to shelter yourself like that.

            Really Nick’s just that Simpsons bit made manifest.

            1. I never understood why people assigned such metaphysical meaning to nothing more than a mostly arbitrary compilation of frequencies. Or why anyone gives a shit what the popular kids think now that we’re past the they-need-to-like-me-or-I-starve stage.

              I get appreciating the music or the lyrics, but the ridiculous attempt to elevate some music and a poem to something transcendent just because you like it never made sense to me.

              1. I think a lot of it is primarily more about awful group dynamics than anything else. It starts primarily in high school with music and other culture being primarily divided by ‘cliques’ while as you grow older it expands into more complex groups like class, race, etc.

                I mean, look at Buttplug’s postings above. He badmouths music that he claims ‘conservatives’ listen to, and then thinks that smugly naming Hungarian composers gives himself some kind of intellectual superiority. It’s all just sad, pathetic in-group out-group identifiers.

            2. “…the ‘5 Best Libertarian Shows’…”

              Firefly was one of them, right? RIGHT???

      3. I’d like the ten-hour version of that.

  23. When Bob Dylan dies, Nick is not going to write about anything else for three months.

    1. He’s morally obligated to, now.

  24. I saw a Prius as I was driving home through Chicago that had a bumper sticker saying ‘I’d rather see starlight than streetlights! Fight light pollution.’

    You know, if you’re upset about light pollution, maybe you should avoid living in the third largest city in the country. I’m not entirely sure how you think we can ‘fight light pollution’ in a city of 3 million people.

    1. To be fair, most streetlights were designed in a pretty inefficient way. There is a small cottage industry in more efficient designs that not only reduce light pollution but operating cost as well.

      1. In Chicago it doesn’t matter what you do with street lamps. The building light alone will make it impossible to see the stars.

        1. There are other reasons to advocate for upgrading a city’s streetlights than stargazing. Still, there are smarter designs for building lighting too.

          I don’t see why we shouldn’t support using technology and smart architectural designs to improve urban living.

          1. The stupid streetlights in suburbs are a bane of my existence. Thanks for throwing the light around as unfocused as possible so some of it goes into my room at night! my tax dollars!

          2. Careful with the economics. You have to overcome the replacement cost through operating savings, and that can take a long time. Sodium vapor lights used as street lamps are already very efficient, perhaps even more so than just the LED’s themselves.

          3. Unless it costs 10 times more than what is in use now. You gotta justify that shit, bro.

    2. 3 million not including met areas right?

      1. Apparently Chicago alone is 2.7 million.

        Chicagoland has almost 10 million, but that’s a useless number because Chicagoland encompasses such a ludicrous amount of space that the ten million number tells you nothing about density.

        There are parts of southern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana that are all considered to be part of Chicagoland.

    3. You know, if you’re upset about light pollution, maybe you should avoid living in the third largest city in the country. I’m not entirely sure how you think we can ‘fight light pollution’ in a city of 3 million people.

      Look, if you have to whine about something to establish your moral superiority over the herd, better your devote your attention to light pollution and whether Skittles are made with organic ingredients than economics.

      1. Calling attention to municipal government’s intransigence in replacing wasteful, inefficient streetlights with more cost-effective and efficient ones through better technology seems to fall under the scope of microeconomics, no?

        1. I don’t think the Prius driving Chicago leftist was making a point about municipal government inefficiency.

          1. I forgot about the Prius.

            Carry on!

          2. The anti-light pollution lobby is mostly amateur astronomers. (I’m using the term broadly to include everyone who observes or images as a hobby))

        2. The micro-est of microeconomics and a fine place for Prius-driving, bumper-sticker-parading slacktivists to direct their political attention.

          But something tells me their chief motivation about complaining about urban light pollution was not the inefficiency of the streetlights. The signalling meme that’s swept classical liberalism lately is incredibly diverse in its ability to allow me to dismiss anyone at all who disagrees with me–now I know how progressives feel.

        3. Sodium vapor lamps are not wasteful. The economics of LED’s are still questionable. In terms of pure efficiency we still can’t beat discharge lighting. The best case can be made for signal lights because of their relatively short bulb life.

          1. It’s wasteful because how it’s shielded, not because of the light source. The bulb is unnecessarily powerful because the fixture throws light where it doesn’t need to. In other words, if you had a properly shielded fixture that threw the light just where you want it, and not in a dozen other directions, you could use a less powerful bulb and hence save money on electricity.

            1. I would imagine shielding could be added at a reasonable cost to redirect the light in a more useful way without replacing the entire light fixture. I know it wouldn’t save energy without changing the light source, but it would at least provide more useful light while reducing “light pollution.” And perhaps when the light burned out it could be replaced with a more energy efficient light.

        4. If you’re using terms like “light pollution”, it’s probably not cost effectiveness and efficiency you’re worried about. It’s more “why won’t you fuckers live in the dark so I can stargaze” thing.

          1. Yup. Same mentality that you see among train enthusiasts who freak out over the government doing away with Amtrak. They don’t care that other people are inconvenienced and forced to spend their money on something that benefits them in no way…they just want to see the choo-choo.

            In the case of light pollution, they want everyone else to be inconvenienced because they insist on living in the wrong place for their hobby and are too lazy to drive out to the country.

    4. The good thing about fighting light pollution is that its fairly cheap to do so, and potentially can result in savings.

      Seeing more than 200 stars again is one of the things I’m looking forward to when I get fully moved over the next few weeks (Leaving Chicagoland for BFE Iowa yay)

    5. I am actually a little sympathetic to the light pollution issue. I don’t think it’s worthwhile to regulate it now, but when glass windows that don’t let out light become trivially cheap maybe it’s worth regulating. Also, make street lights into more focused dark lights. So I can see the stars and sleep better.

      1. No, it’s never worth regulating you statist scum. Piss off and move to NYC.

      2. There’s no such thing as light pollution. Stars aren’t destroyed if you can’t see them because you live in a lighted area. If there’s too much light for you wherever you live, then that’s a sign you should move somewhere else, if stargazing is that important to you.

    6. I am actually a little sympathetic to the light pollution issue. I don’t think it’s worthwhile to regulate it now, but when glass windows that don’t let out light become trivially cheap maybe it’s worth regulating. Also, make street lights into more focused dark lights. So I can see the stars and sleep better.

  25. In my teens, I bought all of Dylan’s material up through Love & Theft on CD, even a bunch of bootlegs. I’ve always been a sucker for guy-with-guitar music, and Dylan is both a catchy songwriter and someone who a beginning guitarist can ape without much trouble.

    Then I read a Joni Mitchell interview where she called Dylan a giant phony and a put-on, someone who made his career with a fake voice and a fake persona who paled in comparison to Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and “authentic” American artists (presumably including herself). And now when I hear Dylan, all I can hear is that fake caterwauling, a nasally voice that’s purposefully obnoxious, dopey lyrics that are calculated to push buttons in the most uncontroversial way possible (see that dumb mother who sent her son off to war for glory’s sake? haw haw, turns out war is hell and soldiers are regularly killed or mutilated)

    So thanks a lot, Joni Mitchell, for destroying a brainless childhood pleasure by pulling back the curtain.

    1. Joni is an incredibly talented bitter old bitch. She hates everyone now.

      She might be LP material now that I think about it.

  26. When Bob Dylan dies, Nick is going to be killed and placed in his tomb with him, like the Pharaohs and their servants of old.

    1. Can’t we just bury him alive?


  27. Bob Dylan, the greatest creative force in postwar America

    Just like how Anchorman 2 was the most important film of 2013.

  28. Like Mitchell should talk.…..-blackface

  29. I like Dylan as a songwriter, but not as a performer.

  30. Bob Dylan, the greatest creative force in postwar America (in my opinion),

    I like Dylan. He’s a great songwriter and he certainly had his musical recording and performance moment back when baby-boomer Nick Gillespie was shitting his diapers. Still, Dylan ain’t even in Ike Turner’s league when it comes to being a postwar American musical creative force.

    1. No, no, no! Don’t you get it? The predominant cultural idiom of the past 50 years has been folk rock, not soul music!

      1. Sean Combs.

      2. Ike kinda invented Rock & Roll.
        His contributions to blues, R&B, soul and funk only broaden his significance as a cultural force.

        1. And he was a gentleman!

  31. Nick is there any shitty music ‘artist’ you won’t latch onto like a lamprey? Do you have the artistic taste equivalent of a scatology fetish?

  32. So who is the greatest creative force in postwar America? (limited to music, anyway; kinda hard to compare musicians to writers to filmmakers)

    I’ll throw out James Brown.

    1. Jimmi Hendrix?

      1. psssssshaw. he was talented, very talented. but no.

    2. Paul Simon.
      Stevie Wonder.
      Quincy Jones.
      Jim Croce.
      Hank Williams.
      Willie Nelson.
      Leonard Cohen (do canadians count?)
      Phil Ochs…

      1. shit, and Zappa.

      2. John Denver
        Jimmy Buffet
        Gordon Lightfoot (if we are counting Canadians)

        1. I’d rather not, because then people will say Niel Young and I will have to vomit.

          1. Stephen Stills was the brains behind that folk supergroup (hah. folk supergroup).

      3. Ricky Skaggs

        Earl Scuggs

        1. Marty Stuart

          Warren Zevon (RIP)

      4. Thelonius Monk
        John Coltrane
        Erroll Garner
        Bill Evans
        Miles Davis

        I’m a big Zappa fan but I wouldn’t put him in the above company.

        1. Why would you? Most of them are jazz musicians and Zappa isn’t.

          Personally, I think jazz is one of the most overrated music genres of all time. From my own (admittedly anecdotal) experience, the only reason it has as big a following as it does is that following includes a lot of people who like jazz only because they wish to be thought of as people who like jazz. It’s the ultimate hipster music.

        2. Which is not to say that you’re one of those people. I realize there are people who legitimately like jazz on its own merits…I just don’t think they’re the majority of jazz aficionados.

    3. Madonna, but not in a good way. Pretty much the entire dance/pop music genre that dominates popular music these days is copycatting her act from the 80s.

      1. +1 taut bicep

    4. If you’re talking about influence regardless of talent, etc., then I would Elvis would have to up there.

      1. Pump it Up!

        1. when you don’t really need it.
          Pump it up until you can feel it.

      2. would *think* Elvis

    5. Good call – yep, he’d be up there.

    6. Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ralph Stanley…

    7. “So who is the greatest creatice force in postwar America?”

      I would imagine it would be someone most folks haven’t heard about, but that writes a lot of music that is covered by other bands.

      I think a lot of blues musicians don’t get the credit they deserve for their influence on rock’n’roll.

      Carl Perkins had a lot of influence on the early Rock’n’roll bands.

      Les Paul not only wrote hit songs, but actually invented a new version of the guitar.

      Elvis’ contribution was to synthesize the various elements that went into Rock’n’roll (blues, gospel, country, rockabilly). He wasted years making movies instead of music.

      As an aside, I have a rule of thumb on whether I like a band (as opposed to just particular songs): If I like three of a band’s songs–as in, genuinely like the song, as opposed to merely find it tolerable, then I like the band.

      I don’t like many bands.

      1. Smokey Robinson at one point had the most songs recorded by others.

        Elvis – biggest influence, greatest rock voice of all time (young Elvis – Jailhouse Rock era), huge talent, massively poorly managed.

        But, all of post war America musically was eclipsed by the Beatles.

  33. At least no one has mentioned Springsteen. That guy is just fucking awful.

    1. My father told me I had to play “Rosalita” at his funeral. At least that is a good springsteen song. I think.

    2. I hate most Bruce Springsteen records but he can be one hell of a great songwriter. Unfortunately he has squandered much of his writing output by being Bruce Springsteen.

      1. Yeah. Bruce is no whackjob wingnut. How can he have any talent?


        2. Well, there’s that and the whole sounds like a constipated ape thing.

      1. Why does Cris Cristy like him too?

        Bruce represents the working man. The laborer. The hardscrabble American better than anyone else.

        1. Lol, he’s worth a billion dollars. You dumb shitheel.

        2. Why does Cris Cristy like him too?

          Because he’s a Jersey douchebag with shitty taste.

          Bruce represents the working man. The laborer. The hardscrabble American better than anyone else.


        3. Why does Cris Cristy [sic] like him too

          Because they’re both from New Jersey and Christie is a politician, dipshit. He’ll like anything from his state that the numbers tell him he should like. He’d like The Gaslight Anthem if you asked him and he knew they were from New Jersey, even if he’d never listened to a single one of their songs.

          Not that this matters, since you’re only commenting to get attention because you have no friends outside of this message board (or on this board, for that matter).

  34. Random question: what is everyone’s opinion on abortion? I am so very curious. Please feel free to go into detail. A lot of detail.

    1. Only if I can discuss fetal body armor…

      1. *rolls*

        -1 coathanger


    2. Oh God I’d rather listen Dylan than enter this shitstorm.

    3. Ha ha, even I know better than to answer that.

    4. Abortions should be mandatory for all the lesser races.

      1. I think Palin’s Buttplug and Tony should both be awarded post post natal abortions.

  35. Bob Dylan is second to Bruce Springsteen in “most-overrated musical ‘talent’ in recent US history”.

    I also hate Kiss, Foreigner and Bon Jovi.

    Whatever Dylan said…whatever. Sounds a little more reasoned than most, which I appreciate. Still – feeelz.

  36. “Christmas in the Heart?” No! No! Nick! Stop! Someone get the sharp objects away from him! Please! We can help. Don’t despair! Get away from the dial. Don’t! Don’t! Oh, God. I can’t watch.

  37. Also grossly overrated: The Beatles. Some good songs but so many that were just dull as hell.

    1. Also overrated: h2o. I do not like it, and furthermore I do not care for it.

    2. That’s just fucking dumb. The Beatles were fantastic. You’re just a fucking idiot.

      1. The Beatles wrote some great stuff, but they also wrote plenty of forgettable tunes just to add filler to their albums.

        Like Paul McCartney said, just as often as not they wrote songs because they figured they’d sell and they wanted money…not because the songs they were writing were all that.

  38. “Does it make him happy giving his money away to foreign countries? Is there more contentment in that than in giving it here to the inner cities and creating jobs? The government’s not going to create jobs. It doesn’t have to. People have to create jobs, and these big billionaires are the ones who can do it We don’t see that happening. We see crime and inner cities exploding with people who have nothing to do, turning to drink and drugs. They could all have work created for them by all these hotshot billionaires. For sure that would create lot of happiness. Now, I’m not saying they have to ? I’m not talking about communism ? but what do they do with their money? Do they use it in virtuous ways?”

    I think you are talking about communism. Now that you have your proggie bonafides you can go fuck yourself Bobby.

    1. Yeah, Nick’s excitement for Dylan’s comment here is bizarre and another marker of Gillespie’s decline into cultural tea-leaf reading.

      1. Does seem a little off the wall.

  39. Quick show of hands anyone that can actually read music and plays an instrument?

    1. Several. Paid my way through college.

      1. Well, that makes at least 2 people who probably don’t really care about the debate over bob dylan.

    2. I can play the piano from sheet music.

  40. No idea what he was trying to say.

    1. I think he was just saying that if you’re a rich person setting up a charity, you should consider that there’s lots of good to be done in your own community rather than sending it all to Africa like everyone else.

  41. Some very enjoyable music to read the thread by:

    1. Thanks…good on you. Two geniuses, Dylan and Hendrix. I remember once Dylan saying that Hendrix owned “All Along the Watchtower.”

      So this is for you, another great version by Hendrix.

  42. Pete Seeger: The Sphincter of Folk

  43. Wow man that makes a lot of sense dude.

  44. So in 50 years (after I’m comfortably dead or 108 years old) will PBS still be showing Peter, Paul, and Mary concerts during begging for dollars week?

  45. A mediocre songwriter is “America’s greatest post-war creative force”???

  46. Not much I ever agree with Nick on, but thanks for a good article. Without a doubt the most creative songwriter in my lifetime. In fact, my moniker was an homage to him, jack and ace.

  47. I have to laugh, Nick, at all the commenters here who think Dylan is a communist. Clearly, they never read “Chronicles,” where he showed he is anything but. But its just so much easier to label someone based on an impression…it buttresses the illusions by which a labeler lives.

    But you tried, Nick.

    1. One person mentions communism in this thread=’all’ the commenters here who think Dylan is a communist. I get that you enjoy being as smug as possible, but try to have some basic reading comprehension skills so you don’t look like a fool.

      1. Could this moron really mean a proper subset of the commenters by saying:

        I have to laugh at all the commenters here who think X…

        Maybe this vacuous dipshit is just using very imprecise language? So if 1 commenter made a post that would lead one to believe that he/she thought X, then the group that represents all the commenters would really just be one poster. I don’t think this raving idiot meant to say that but that is technically what he said.

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  49. Greatest creative force in Post War America???? You’d take Dylan over Ed Sullivan? Gimme a break. For females of course you have to go Mary Tyler Moore.

  50. Musically, in post-war America, no one dominated. There isn’t one person who culturally changed the landscape, with the possible exception of Elvis.

    However, the Beatles actually were the cultural phenom that rocked the world and changed it musically.

    Internationally, Bob Marley, head and shoulders above all the rest. Every pop music style around the world pays homage to Marley.

  51. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
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  52. And she takes just like a woman
    And she aches just like a woman
    And she wakes just like a woman
    Yeah but she breaks just like a little girl

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