Friday, May 22, 2015

Dylan Responds To China Criticism

When Bob Dylan played China last month, a lot of people who don't know very much about Bob Dylan - I'm looking at you, Maureen Dowd - typed a lot of nonsense about how Dylan is a sell-out because he didn't play "Blowin' In The Wind" in Beijing. Dowd's column on the subject was headlined Blowin' In The Idiot Wind, which, come to think of it, was an appropriate description of the poorly reasoned attack on the unknowable Bard who hasn't been a mere "protest singer" for more than 45 years, if he ever was.

Dylan Responds To China Criticism

When Bob Dylan played China last month, a lot of people who don't know very much about Bob Dylan - I'm looking at you, Maureen Dowd - typed a lot of nonsense about how Dylan is a sell-out because he didn't play "Blowin' In The Wind" in Beijing. Dowd's column on the subject was headlined Blowin' In The Idiot Wind, which, come to think of it, was an appropriate description of the poorly reasoned attack on the unknowable Bard who hasn't been a mere "protest singer" for more than 45 years, if he ever was.

The criticism of Dylan from many quarters was all built on the supposition that Dylan had planned to play specific songs that the Chinese government refused to let him play. This morning on his web site, Dylan chimed in to try to clear up the controversy, contextualize the Chinese stops on The Never-Ending Tour and saying this about the issue of censorship:

"As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play."

The Bob post in its entirety is here. For further reading on the subject, Dylanologist Sean Wilentz's New Yorker piece is here. Thanks to Eric Ambel for this.

Previously: Band Name Of The Year

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