New York City, baby.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Joni Mitchell Joins Joan Baez On Upcoming All-Female Fear Factor

Bob Dylan? A guest judge on American Idol? That's the story, morning glory.

How do we feel about Dylan, the most important singer of our lifetime, sandwiched between Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell?

One thing is for sure, we’re not going to get duped by Mr. Dylan into expressing outrage. We will not cry out "hypocrite" or "sell out". Oh, no. That would be playing into the old trickster’s liver-spotted hand.

Accusing Dylan of profaning his own ideals would cause the aging troubadour to glare blithely, satisifed in knowing that finger-pointers like ourselves have, in fact, missed the point entirely. Yet again.

So what is his point? We're not sure. Then how do we know that his decision to be a judge on AI and appear in a Victoria’s Secret commercial is not just capricious self-betrayal?

Because it's friggin’ Bob Dylan. And because it's Bob Dylan, we're confident ten years from now, we'll appreciate the genius of his actions.

Maybe his statement is this: we are in an age of pop culture addiction. Like any other addict, we raise the risk to capture a better high. The perversion needs to be heightened; what starts off with light spanking easily ends up in full latex, a few snorts in the East Village becomes a bag in Chelsea, and Ricki Lake's wild makeovers turn into The Swan.

We need to increase the abnormality if we want to intensify the thrill. What used to take three seasons on Melrose Place, takes one on the O.C.. The stories about Jessica Simpson will get more sordid, the scenarios she finds herself in more grotesque; if they don't, she’ll fall to the wayside quicker than you can say Nelly Furtado.

Or maybe Dylan's saying that the fight against commercialism has become irrelevant. If you’re anxious about Neil Young ending up in a John Deere commercial, you're losing sleep for the wrong reasons. There are bigger and better battles to be fought, greater evils that deserve our attention.

Or maybe he’s not only saying that the battle lines must be drawn elsewhere, but that drawing the line has become a joke; the idea of an idealistic side vs. an evil corrupting side is a myth, made transparent by simply looking at the photos from Abu Ghurayb prison.

Bob Dylan on American Idol: is that more absurd than America's foreign policy? It’s a million times less offensive. We actually can't wait to see Dylan working out Desolation Row on the piano with an Idol Finalist. (What can we say, you don't need to ask the Blubox Intern to know who's a strange and fragile junkie.)

Rumsfeld. Out.


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