I can't believe the positive response a post like this receives. You guys just don't get it. Benny really is a "tragedy", a person who spends what any normal person would consider an exorbitant amount of time cruelly derogating a man who has added a lot of meaning to his life. Mean-spirited, childish garbage...BUT, when pressed, Mr. Too Much Time On His Hands can give you an insular two thousand words that work out the logic that shows the he truly does espouse the most well-reasoned, adult point of view.
What a joke!
Comparisions are odious. The critical factor here is recognition of the inescapable fact that Dylan's vocal capabilities have declined dramatically. Anyone who pretends otherwise is a fool. The key question for each listener is do they still enjoy what they hear. If yes then carry on buying the records and attending the shows, if no, move on. Dylan is trying to fight against the passage of time. He won't win but he can try. The only fools in this parade are the people who castigate others who still get pleasure from Dylan's efforts. Benny is a living tragedy. A person dedicated to telling others what they should think.
Tellmemomma, it is clear that things have changed and as much as everybody would like Dylan to sing 'She Belongs to Me' like he did in the sixties, it ain't going to happen. No matter how many times people discuss this it all comes down to individual perceptions. Longing for the past is as much of a waste of time, as it is discussing this subject. Benny obviously has nothing much to do, otherwise a rational person who dislikes what he hears would simply give up criticising an artist he used to like and get a new hobby.
Let it be noted by moderators - et al - that I have been referred to here as 'a living tragedy'. By someone who has consistently responded to many of my posts in a very condemnatory and insulting manner.
Oh, that delicious ironing again.
The six year-old troublemaker throws pebbles at the other kids until one of them retaliates...then he jumps up and down shouting, "They've thrown a stone at me!" as if it were somehow not absolutely natural and expected.
- You posit that 'a rational person who dislikes what he hears would simply give up criticising an artist he used to like and get a new hobby'.
You make a number of assumptions here that need questioning.
First of all, criticism in its technical sense can be both positive and negative. There is no weight given to either side of the scale, rather it confers the meaning that one is actively and consciously commenting upon the observed object. We are therefore actually all critics of Bob Dylan and his work in here.
Um, the word "criticize", in the colloquial (you know, human) sense carries a strong negative connotation. But back to your computing.
Secondly, you imply that I somehow used to like Bob Dylan but now don't. Do you really understand what that means? Look - Bob Dylan as an artist exists at all times through his recorded output combined with our personl experience of his art. For most of us, the studio albums and bootlegs and youtube videos are the bulk of how we get our fix. The attending of concerts is minor to that, in terms of time actually spent pursuing this 'hobby' (your term - I find it pretty reductive myself). Now, here's the thing - Bob Dylan the person is of no real concern to me. I couldnt give a monkeys mostly who he is as a human being, what he does from day to day, what he wears, how he combs his hair etc. I have a deep appreciation for how he has lived parts of his life, and respect for elements of his character as gleaned through some books and my own observations etc. But thats all just the tiny tip of the iceberg (new album reference, folks!) of what keeps the guy beating in my mind. No - its the work he has produced that impacts on me, that constitutes my fascination, that absorbs my intellect and guts simultaneously. Do you understand? I'm talking about the 50 years of songs that he has recorded in the studio and performed live. I'm intimate with these - to a greater or lesser degree, of course, depending on which dates - because I have listened to them, absorbed them. I continue to do this, to keep myself up to date with the art the man is producing. Yes, I said art - even if I personally dislike something, I dont deny him the the right to call it art and himself an artist.
The logic of this is that you cannot with any grain of truth say that when i comment negatively on a performance of 'She Belongs To Me' from this week, that I am criticising an artist I used to like. Its a mix up of terminology that confuses issues rather than clarifies them. Instead, it would be much more accurate to say I am criticising negatively a piece of work by an artist whose past works I appreciate more. The tense is important here - there is no past tense in loving what Bob Dylan did in 1965 or 1976. It exists outside of time because technology allows me instant access, a front row seat, a spot at the mixing desk, whenever I choose. Do you get that? The constriction you deliberately employ in claiming I 'used to like' Bob Dylan is insulting and a fallacy. It misses the whole point.
This passage alone is 450 words. However, once again, you're playing this pointless semantics game. When senor10 says Benny obviously has nothing much to do, otherwise a rational person who dislikes what he hears would simply give up criticizing an artist he used to like and get a new hobby
--everyone knows what he means
, right? Everyone knows how this sentiment would apply to Bennyboy. But Bennyboy says, "No, no, see, you have it all wrong", proceeds to produce 450 words that do little more than split hairs, and then everyone applauds...Look at the big block of text that man made!
You're missing the point, dude. You're a drag. Regardless of how or when or where or why you like Bobby, you and your contributions here are largely a drag. None of the hair splitting stuff means
The whole point being this: I am just as qualified as anybody here to comment on any performance from Bob Dylan that is put in front of me. This is a forum where a thread has been started inviting us to do just that. And, guess what? Because I have heard lots of other performances of this song before, my brain automatically places this new one in a hierarchy of quality. If it didn't, I'd just be a receiver with no filter or processing behind it.
There's no way of "processing" something apart from determining its position in this great "hierarchy of quality"? Clearly this is a ludicrous idea. But I'm sure I'll get 450 words explaining how I've got it all wrong, right?
The stuff would pass through me and I'd have no purchase on it beyond the moment of response. There would be no experience behind judgement. Yes, experience behind judgement - I'll say it again, because it seems to me that one strand of argument against me and others saying they dislike a ModBob performance is that we are pissing on the parade of others who do enjoy it. To which I say this: when all I read is a stream of positive comments about everything, when the usual suspects line up in a thread to rave about how brilliant and on fire the band and singer are, just as they do for everything, it makes me imagine a dog in a car with its head out the window, its tongue lapping as it goes past. Its pure sensation without context, expressed emotion without evaluation. Am I jealous that there are some people here who can listen to anything - literally, any thing -that Bob Dylan does and declare it genius? Yep, of course - it must be nice to be that dog in that car. But while I'm envious of that ability to have no comparative judgement, the self-same lack of critical analysis and nailing colours to the mast of 'Yeah, ok, he did that, but he did it better here, and here, and over there etc' really gets my goat. I've thought about why, and I think it ultimately comes down to this: what does it mean for previous work if every new object has the same gushing praise heaped up on it? What, for example, does it qualitively mean to have a thread about 'Visions of Johanna' from Sheffield 1966 next to one about 'She Belongs To Me' from Germany 2012 and see them both fill up with the same words?
Let me get this straight.
1. People who respond favorably to Bob's performances are simply predictable, mindless dogs, and
2. If Bob performs/writes/records something badly it's important that we derogate him, otherwise, what does it mean for Visions of Johanna '66?
Boy, you're just missing the point completely. People have a problem with you because you're extremely cruel and mean-spirited. You're trying to make it this argument about ideals, but the reality of your contributions here is by far closer to dog shit than ANYTHING Bob Dylan has ever recorded. You're seriously like a troubled six year-old who, when busted, gives a wordy, earnest, heartfelt defense that completely misses the gist of his crisis.
That’s what winds me up, I think – the fact that my own comparative judgement is only reflected by the views of a few here, not the majority. Not so much that others might vary in the degree of their negativity or positivity, but that really there is so little variance, such a blanket conformity of love.
You just don't get it. It's a fan site, dude.
And again I have asked myself what this lack of light and shade in certain sections of this forum might indicate; what is the underlying impulse that drives this shoaling of fish in one direction?
What makes it so that the attitude on this forum is more positive than negative?Really
Is this a question that need be asked?
The only answer I can come up with is that there must be a lot of members of this forum for whom the person Bob Dylan and the art produced by him are inseparable. I definitely get the sense that their ‘hobby’ goes beyond just listening to the music in isolation – it seems that the music is almost secondary to the wider picture of love for the man. How else to explain the minutiae of descriptions about what his trousers look like, about being able to follow his plane journeys on a virtual map, about what he eats, his portable toilet habits, that weird and scary ‘Visions of Bob’ thread etc?
Fair enough, I guess – from that perspective, this place is no different to a, oh I dunno, a Matthew Mcconaughey fangasm/stalker site (not that I’ve checked, but I assume – shudder – that such places exist). That pappy celebrity thing, where the fourth estate tries to trick us into thinking we have more in common with complete strangers than we do our own families.
But thats not what I’m about, and what concerns me is that the love of this Bob Dylan bloke bleeds over and dominates and colours the love and appreciation of his art. The two are linked inexorably, for sure, and there is some value in context of creation, but in my aesthetic, you must at some point try and divorce the two if you are to get a good sense of what is important. Art must stand for itself, by itself. Roland Barthes’ ‘Death of the Author’ and all that debate implies.
Here's an idea. Maybe "mindless fangasm" v. "serious art critique" is a false choice, especially given that we're talking about a fan forum for a rock'n'roll artist. Maybe the truth is somewhere in between. But, aside from all of that...let's keep in mind that this is a defense of your being able to derogate Bob as cruelly and often as you wish. Pretty convenient that, again, it becomes this noble struggle over ideals.
This is again a confusing mix of messages. You can’t talk on the one hand about enjoying what you hear and on the other about Dylan fighting the ageing process and not have your thoughts on the latter influencing the former. This is common round here – there seems to be a compensatory respect for Dylan still being out there, still touring, still performing that is casting favourable light all over the appreciation of the work being done. I understand that - its like Dylan is Grandpa still trotting out his wartime songs at Christmas – a part of you groans, but is swamped by the fact that you love him, and so you applaud and feel warm inside. I sincerely think that for some here, Bob Dylan is another family member like that, that it is impossible for them to separate the songs from the person and from their feelings about that person.
So? Who cares?
Do you think your
relationship to Bob Dylan is normal? Wouldn't it be interesting to know how much aggregate time you've spent talking about Bob, reading about Bob, thinking about Bob, looking at pictures of Bob, etc. --all of which stand apart from even a single second of music! Yeah, right, this is the behavior, the life
, of someone who's really made an effort to separate the man from the art.
Thus there are those who quite blatantly will go on record here as saying that as long as the old guy is still on a stage, they will go and see him. That somehow, the very fact of his still performing is in itself of value. Or, that they somehow ‘owe’ him that out of duty, for what he has given them.
I’m not so heartless I don’t see why that view might arise – we’re all in the same handcart heading to death, after all, and there is something profound in those who keep fighting to the last drop of life. And paying one’s respects to those who have influenced or contributed to one’s inner richness is a noble act.
Yep. Stop right there. Stop! Hey! I...
It’s a complex equation, granted, this looking at art and the artist and disentangling the two. One one hand, you have the view echoed by de Kooning when he said "There's no way of looking at a work of art by itself. It's not self-evident—it needs a history, it needs a lot of talking about; it's part of a whole man's life."
Against which I would argue that ultimately, Art cannot be anything but self-evident. By its very expression, it exists outside of its creator and is something else entirely. That ‘She Belongs To Me’ is not Bob Dylan, its not those musicians, its not the smartphone it’s captured on, the screen that presents it to you, the speakers that play the music. It has its own legs, and it moves independently. How you interpret the sensory data it provides you with though - that is your issue and yours alone.
Where did this extreme
respect for subjectivity come from? Given the "people who like "ModBob" = mindless dogs" platform and all.
Once more: this "struggle of ideals" stuff is completely irrelevant to why people don't like you.