A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: bob dylan

An Extraordinarily Brief History of Music Journalism

by evanmcmurry

Rolling Stone, upon the release of Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait forty-three years ago, in what is arguably the most famous album review of all time: “What is this shit?”

Rolling Stone, upon the release of the bootlegs from Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait sessions, today: “This two-CD set of previously unissued demos, alternate takes, scrapped arrangements and discarded songs from more than 40 years ago is one of the most important, coherent and fulfilling Bob Dylan albums ever released.” (It goes on like that.)

Who Topples The Statues Of The Statue Topplers?

by evanmcmurry

It takes a certain amount of asinine chutzpah to idolize someone whose primary value was formed by their anti-idolatry. I think of this every time someone speaks slavishly of figures like John Lennon and Bob Dylan as if they were/are gods among men whose every word and action is sacred. The guy who wrote “Gotta Serve Somebody” would, and probably does, roll his eyes at the Bob Dylan Encyclopedia.

In this spirit, some bright bulbs in Britain are proposing raising a statue of Christopher Hitchens. Hitch had a high opinion of himself—starting with calling himself Hitch—but whatever you thought of him, the man was absolutely allergic to idolatry of all sorts. This formed the calcium of what was a remarkably consistent spine: even Hitchens’s least defensible position, the support of the war in Iraq, was motivated primarily by the literal destruction of a statue. If you want to honor him, name a scotch after him; or possibly the next discovered compound that melts metal. But building a statue to a statue hunter so misses the point that you have to wonder what exactly about Hicthens his fans are trying to memorialize…