"I don't see anything to believe in"
August 27, 2007 9:54 PM   Subscribe

"I don't know anyone who calls himself that" Bob Dylan insulted in Australia 20 years ago. It's a wonder he still does interviews at all, and he tours down under regularly. He's resiient (Part 2 of a double YouTube link).
posted by St Urbain's Horseman (27 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Was this Negus back when he was on 60 Minutes? If so, I guess that would make sense as to why he felt he had to go and do that. Ratings. Had it been Negus on the ABC I doubt some of those more... pointy questions wouldn't have been asked. Still, these were interesting videos. Thanks.

My 2c: I think Dylan was spot on when he said that his message was still the same but the crowd was different when answering the question as to why people thought he wasn't as good in 1986 as he once was. The 80s were, in my opinion, the very genesis of the "me first" culture that now seems to have its vice-like grip on the vast majority of our western culture. In the 60s and 70s, Dylan was preaching to the hippies and the swingers and they were receptive of his message. And why not? It was, and is, a good message. But then the 80s came along, and peace love and understanding were no longer as important as accumulating vast sums of money and sticking it in some stock portfolio while screwing over the other guy for that promotion you so desperately wanted.

Related: A recent article by Matt Price, one of the few contributors for The Australian who dosen't boil my blood with his every word, tells of the time he got to meet Dylan. It was a good read.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:15 PM on August 27, 2007


I found it fascinating that Bob Dylan rocks back and forth a lot during the interview, as Bill Gates used to do (I assume his 'handlers' have trained this out of him).

This is very common behavior among autistics.
posted by eye of newt at 10:25 PM on August 27, 2007


Check out the ants in his pants action here, eye of newt.
posted by St Urbain's Horseman at 10:35 PM on August 27, 2007


Effigy 2000, I had exactly the same feeling about Negus at 9 and Negus at SBS. It was odd watching him being such a knob, since he's not like that at all these days. I wonder whether, 20 years ago, Negus thought that's what journalism was about and he's since changed tack, or whether the whole time he was at Sixty Minutes, he was "selling out".

posted by bunglin jones at 10:44 PM on August 27, 2007


Bob Dylan and John Lennon chatting in the back of a taxi
posted by Poolio at 10:56 PM on August 27, 2007


I'll never forgive him for that time he showed up Donovan, that sweet, sweet young man.
posted by dhammond at 11:04 PM on August 27, 2007


Wow, it's like Bob Dylan stole his first girlfriend or something.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:15 PM on August 27, 2007


-Bob Dylan insulted in Australia 20 years ago-

Oh bullshit. That's the same sort of editorialising nonsense as we hear in Negus's voiceover. I'd say that's not a bad interview all things considered. I get the feeling that Negus judges his subject's worth by how willing they are to cooperate with his role in the proceedings (either that or he just doesn't like Dylan, period). But come on, there wasn't anything insulting in there. Dylan was comparatively effusive and the questions were kind of ok, although communicated from a position of what? astonished conservatism? or curious puzzlement?. It was like he was poking an animal to see how it would react. But it was soft poking.
posted by peacay at 12:15 AM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


The interviewer was belligerent. Dylan was himself: unselfconscious, honest and insightful. He's a laser beam.
posted by wsg at 1:25 AM on August 28, 2007


I'll never forgive him for that time he showed up Donovan, that sweet, sweet young man.

I always felt Dylan showed himself up, not Donovan. He's one of the biggest acts in the world, but as soon as somebody else starts playing a guitar, Dylan starts getting all twitchy because he's no longer the centre of attention.

And while he's sufficiently charismatic to seize that attention, there's a contradiction between the persona that he seeks to present and the one that he can't manage to conceal that just ends up making him look like a dick -- while Donovan just comes across as a genuinely nice guy.

I suppose there are those who cut people more slack because they're geniuses of one sort or another, but at the end of the day, Dylan was never anything more than an entertainer -- no different to Frank Sinatra being an arsehole in Las Vegas, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:26 AM on August 28, 2007


If not outright insulting, it was a very, very condescending report. Look at the timeframe, though. 1986. Smack in the middle of the Reagan years, when baby boomers had shed their flowers and tie-dyes for suits and would rather have forgotten the late 60s and early 70s. This is true of the U.S., though I may have it wrong with Australia.

Ah, baby boomers...has there ever been a more self-centered generation? and YES, I do include the gen-Xers and gen-Yers and the freaky young high school whatevers today and still think the baby boomers trounce everyone in that category.
posted by zardoz at 1:52 AM on August 28, 2007


Ah, baby boomers...has there ever been a more self-centered generation?


Yeah, where the hell did those bastards get off struggling for civil rights, women's equality, gay rights, an end to apartheid, etc.

Self-centred bastards, the lot of them.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:39 AM on August 28, 2007 [3 favorites]



I suppose there are those who cut people more slack because they're geniuses of one sort or another, but at the end of the day, Dylan was never anything more than an entertainer -- no different to Frank Sinatra being an arsehole in Las Vegas, as far as I'm concerned.


I think you are too quick to cut Dylan short as being just an entertainer. He was (and is) an incredible creative force, not just a mere entertainer but an artist. He wrote astounding verse, set it to music, and performed it. This creative chain sets him in a different category than Sinatra or Elvis.
posted by boubelium at 2:40 AM on August 28, 2007


You stupid ozzie cunt - its like we live next door to a fucking nation of morons.

Now leave Mr Dylan alone eh.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:43 AM on August 28, 2007


Sorry not in a bi-partisan mood, as they say...
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:48 AM on August 28, 2007


-not in a bi-partisan mood-
translation: "I have nothing to contribute here but I will open my bowels anyway"
posted by peacay at 3:31 AM on August 28, 2007


I think you are too quick to cut Dylan short as being just an entertainer.

Journalist: Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or a poet?
Dylan: Oh, I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y'know.

This creative chain sets him in a different category than Sinatra or Elvis.

He didn't sing as well as either though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:47 AM on August 28, 2007


Well, no, but that's always been part of his schtick. You might as well knock him because there are better harmonica players out there.

(Still, if your point is that genius doesn't excuse assholery, then it shouldn't matter how high he is on the genius scale, no?)
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:45 AM on August 28, 2007


I always felt Dylan showed himself up, not Donovan. He's one of the biggest acts in the world, but as soon as somebody else starts playing a guitar, Dylan starts getting all twitchy because he's no longer the centre of attention.
posted by PeterMcDermott

I had never seen that footage before today, and that's exactly what I thought: Dylan does look uncomfortable when everyone is listening to Donovan and it does seem a bit malicious, the way he takes back the guitar (and the attention).

That, and I liked Donovan's song better.
posted by micayetoca at 6:09 AM on August 28, 2007


...and would rather have forgotten the late 60s and early 70s. This is true of the U.S., though I may have it wrong with Australia.

You have it wrong with the U.S. too. While some of the more trendoid 60s youth may have renounced their memories of the period, a lot of us still think they were better times.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:24 AM on August 28, 2007


This interview from 2004 is one that has stuck with me.
posted by stevil at 7:39 AM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dylan was himself: unselfconscious, honest and insightful.

I'd agree that Dylan is insightful, but I'm not sure I'd call him honest (most of the time), and I'd never call him unselfconscious. Every time I've ever seen him on camera or on stage he looks about as self-conscious as they come.

(Which isn't a criticism, I love Dylan, and I think that the vast majority of interviews don't do him any kind of justice.)
posted by OmieWise at 7:44 AM on August 28, 2007


Yeah, Negrus is being a dick there. No doubt about it. No journalist honestly believes it's his job to ask the same question over and over again of a musician, especially when that question is "But for real, now. Aren't you overrated?"
posted by shmegegge at 9:58 AM on August 28, 2007


What kind of answers did he expect when so many of his questions were closed yes/no questions?
posted by The World Famous at 10:52 AM on August 28, 2007


Ah, baby boomers...has there ever been a more self-centered generation?

I, once upon a time, saw an editorial where a member of "the greatest generation" claimed that since some people in his age group stopped Hitler, giving him more social security money was retro-active defense spending since he'd only had 40 years or so to get a retirement savings together.

So in answer your question Zardoz, yeah, I'm sure they're out there.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2007


Still, if your point is that genius doesn't excuse assholery, then it shouldn't matter how high he is on the genius scale, no?

There are geniuses that I'll cut some slack because their contribution to humanity is such that I can overlook certain assholish tendencies. However, I cant think of many 'artists' that would fall into this category, and Dylan certainly isn't one of them.

But my point was really this: Dylan was acutely aware of his position on the pop music totem pole, something that is embarrassingly evident in the taxi ride with John Lennon, and has problem whatsoever using that status to upstage another young artist who obviously idolized him and was seeking approval for his work at the feet of the master.

And whenever I get to see such incidents, they tend to seriously undermine the merits of their work. Where I thought I once heard sensitivity and insight, all of a sudden I start to wonder whether that's just some random shit that he thought happened to rhymne and sound good on the day.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. It just tends to undermine the whole guru/prophet schtick that certain quarters were pushing at the time.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:50 PM on August 28, 2007


But can't it be both/and? After all, Dylan was kind of shockingly young when that footage was shot, especially to be subjected to the kind of scrutiny he was subjected to.

I do tend to think Dylan is kind of an asshole by nature, though.
posted by OmieWise at 11:55 AM on August 29, 2007


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