Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Working on Wednesday's Farm

There's been much handwringing in the media recently concerning pop cultural icon and occasional Cat 6 racer Bob Dylan:

Specifically, he's been snubbing the Nobel committee ever since they awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature, and at least some people see this as yet more evidence of his creative genius:

To be a Nobel laureate, however, is to allow “people” to define who one is, to become an object and a public figure rather than a free individual. The Nobel Prize is in fact the ultimate example of bad faith: A small group of Swedish critics pretend to be the voice of God, and the public pretends that the Nobel winner is Literature incarnate. All this pretending is the opposite of the true spirit of literature, which lives only in personal encounters between reader and writer. Mr. Dylan may yet accept the prize, but so far, his refusal to accept the authority of the Swedish Academy has been a wonderful demonstration of what real artistic and philosophical freedom looks like.

As part of a certain demographic I'm required to like Bob Dylan's music, and indeed I do.  I'm particularly fond of the song with all the irreverent stream-of-consciousness wordplay, which is all of them, except for maybe the Jesus albums, though I never went there.  But by far my favorite bit of Bob Dylan literature is this verse from 2014:

Is there anything more American than America?
‘Cause you can’t import original.
You can’t fake true cool.
You can’t duplicate legacy.
Because what Detroit created was a first
and became an inspiration to the… rest of the world.
Yeah…Detroit made cars. And cars made America.
Making the best, making the finest, takes conviction.
And you can’t import, the heart and soul, of every man and woman working on the line.
You can search the world over for the finer things,
but you won’t find a match for the American road
and the creatures that live on it.
Because we believe in the zoom,
and the roar, and the thrust.
And when it’s made here, it’s made with the one thing
you can’t import from anywhere else. American…Pride.
So let Germany brew your beer,
Let Switzerland make your watch,
Let Asia assemble your phone.
We…will build…your car.

Which is of course the script for his Chrysler Superbowl ad:

Now of course we don't know how much of that he actually wrote, but he sure as shit said it all, and presumably he accepted lots of money for it too.  This commercial has always vexed me, mostly because it contains a number of glaring factual errors, including but not limited to:

--There is something more American than America, and it's called Canada;
--Cars didn't make America, they destroyed America--politically, economically, environmentally, and culturally (and that's not even addressing the obesity epidemic and our sedentary lifestyles);
--You may not be able to import the heart and soul of every man and woman working on the line, but you can easily export their jobs to other countries;
--Far more creatures die on the American road than live on it;
--German beer?  Swiss watches???  What fucking year is this?!?

Seriously, we're drinking regional craft beers and wearing Apple Watches, where the hell has he been?

Anyway, while listening to a doddering Dylan mumble on about "A-muh-kuh" in order to sucker a bunch of wage slaves into buying shitty cars may offend my sensibilities (and don't even get me started on his Cadillac ad), I certainly can't blame him for it.  After all, if Chrysler offered me the kind of money they undoubtedly paid him I'd say pretty much anything they wanted, including this:

Chrysler is great, and America is great.
When you buy a Chrysler you own a piece of the American road.
America belongs to Americans, the roads belong to the drivers, and the American road belongs to no driver more than the one who's behind the wheel of a Chrysler*.
The roads are not for cyclists, or pedestrians, or drivers of hybrid or electric vehicles, or any other type of un-American wussbag.
They are for drivers.
And as a Chrysler driver, you have the God-given right to run these fuckers off of 'em.
So let the hipsters brew your beer,
Let the Jews count your money,
Let the Chinese do everything else.
We...will build...your car.

*[Provided he's got a good credit score and is up to date on his payments.]

Also, for all I know Bob Dylan does these commercials just so he can give the money to some worthy charity--and even if he does it all, he's certainly entitled to it, because he's Bob Dylan and his musical legacy speaks for itself.  And who knows?  Maybe he's snubbing the Nobel committee because he knows they shouldn't have given him the prize.

Still, it's pretty disappointing when someone who's provoked a lot of thought with his music is taking calls from big corporations and doing Superbowl ads but not at least taking advantage of having the world's ear to make some kind of statement on the occasion of winning the Nobel Prize.  I mean sure, I don't think 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate Harold Pinter ever did a car ad (or a Victoria's Secret ad for that matter), but he did give a pretty badass lecture when he won:

I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'

It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.

Holy crap, it's like he just watched that Chrysler commercial!

Meanwhile, Dylan's just helping people lie back on the cushion.

In other news, Bradley Wiggins continues to take crap over all those TUEs:

At the center of the controversy are three TUEs (therapeutic use exemptions) that Wiggins employed to inject the powerful corticosteroid called triamcinolone acetonide (Kenacort) ahead of the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia. Wiggins and Sky did not break any rules, but the hack provided a rare, behind-the-scenes look at how Wiggins managed his preparation ahead of the history-making Tour. And it has tainted his image just as he winds up his racing career following a fifth gold medal this summer at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Hey, leave the guy alone already.  I have no doubt those TUEs were totally legitimate.  After all, he's got severe asthma!

Must be one of those homeopathic remedies.

Lastly, there's a bill going before the City Council that would allow cyclists to follow pedestrian signals:

The idea is that it would allow riders to get a jump on the maniacal drivers who start honking and attempt to right-hook them down as soon as the light turns green:

The bill, introduced by Councilman Carlos Menchaca, would allow cyclists to ignore the red-yellow-green of stop lights and instead get a few-second head start at the more than 1,400 intersections that have “leading pedestrian interval” — when the walk signal comes first.

Though one token idiot is not pleased:

Not everyone is happy about the proposal. Some car drivers say that it will cause bicyclists to feel even more entitled.

“The bikes are more of a danger than the cars, and they already aren’t obeying the rules,” said Seth Kaufman, who lives on 79th Street near Amsterdam Avenue. “They are already clogging up the roads, and this will make it worse.”

Wow.  How the hell do you live in Manhattan and think that: 1) Bikes are more dangerous than cars; and 2) Bicycles are responsible for "clogging up the roads?"  I mean where the fuck are the bikes that are causing this?

In any case, hopefully this bill does better than the one that would have allowed the "Idaho Stop:"

A bill that proposed a wider scope of cyclist freedoms – including the Idaho Stop – for cyclists was introduced last year but has stalled. That would have allowed bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs.

That proposal, which also would have needed state approval, has not yet passed the council.

Yeah, pretty much any traffic safety measure that has to get approval from the state legislature is doomed.

They should call it the "Freedom Stop" and had Bob Dylan read it out loud, it would have passed in no time.


Spokey said...

woo hoo reduex

Spokey said...

y dos

Spokey said...

hat trick?

Spokey said...

sorry but my dylan fell off pretty rapidly after john wesley harding.

fave is still highway 61

Schisthead said...

In one minute no less?

le Correcteur said...

Top ten (sixth?) 2 days running; and I read it, and even followed some links, like the editorial on Dylan not deserving the Nobel Literature prize.

Alina said...

Podioooo, finally! My entitled bike-riding butt has finally made it

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

TOP tennis! Scranus!

Spokey said...

that bicycle clogged intersection was pure poetry. if dylan doesn't accept, vote snobbie for nobel literature.

Anonymous said...

My gear skipped...

Anonymous said...

Je suis dans le premier dix

Two Claws said...

Top Ten?

Two Claws Up!

Well, maybe top twenty anyhow.

Anonymous said...

Mais en fait, je ne suis pas.

Two Claws said...

And by the way does that train station yesterday mean "spewing devil" if you translate it? Thought provoking if it does.

grog said...

WayToGo Spokey.
Idaho Stop = Scranus Stop

Jon Webb said...

I remember Tonya Harding had asthma, and smoked. I think it's (claiming asthma) a dodge a lot of athletes use to get access to the benefits of an inhaler. Don't know about smoking.

N/A said...

Much like a shark, I can never fully stop, or I will die. When I'm riding, I must slowly circle in place at stop lights.

bad boy of the north said...

noble piece price?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Chrysler is now Italian owned (Fiat) and its small cars and small Jeeps are all derivative of some other Fiat model. The Germans (Daimler Benz) and an America private equity firm (Cerberus Capital) couldn't make a go of it. Of course Fiat did get Chrysler as a result of another good old American invention, Bankruptcy.

Aside from the health hazards of smoking, for an athlete it is a more accessible form of altitude training. At $10 a pack it may not be cost effective. Smokers have higher hematocrits because they pull less oxygen into their lungs so their bodies adapt.

leroy said...

Why yes, I see Mr. Kaufman's point.

NYC's bike lanes are already encroaching on perfectly good bus parking in Manhattan.

My dog wrote a note explaining why we were late to work this morning.

But I really should contact Mr. Kaufman and explain that bicycling helps avoid clogged arteries.

I hope it's not too late for him. His cognitive abilities seem impaired.

If that's a recent deterioration, he should have it looked into.

If he's always been a cranky dumb-ass, well then, never mind.

Dingbat said...

The thing that rankled me about that Chrysler commercial is that Chrysler's best-selling car is the Town & Country minivan, which is not in fact made in (The U. S. of) America but south of the border (from Detroit) in Windsor, Ontario.

HivemindX said...

I'm sure just off camera there was a guy on a citibike causing that massive traffic jam.

I've noticed people claiming that bicycles are more dangerous than cars and that bicycles cause congestion too. I guess we have moved on to the post-stupid era where even the most clearly, ridiculously moronic things can be said and so long as they back up the idea you are after (cyclists suck) they'll be accepted as true.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. BSNYC --

My dog says you shouldn't read to much into Mr. Dylan's silence on the Nobel Prize Committee thing.

Mr. Dylan probably hasn't gotten around to opening his mail recently.

He also says Bob was never great about returning his calls.

JLRB said...

I would have posted earlier but I stopped for a crafty puff - I did not, however, cadge a fag, not that there is anything wrong with that...

N/A said...

Perhaps Mr. Dylan is crafting a perfectly-worded acceptance speech. One cannot rush into such things, obviously. You don't go winning awards by dashing off some half-assed dreck. As I'm all-to-familiar with, genius takes the time that it takes.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

If Bob doesn't want the Nobel piece price for Lit they could give it to Bono. I bet he'd accept.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Ok so I went back and read the link. The committee was looking for an American to give the lit prize too. Although it would have to be awarded post-humorously I guess give it to that Jim Morrison guy. He wrote alot of poems.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

To not too.


Spence said...

Hear hear, Bono and U2. Not sure I agree with Harold Pinter's vague accusations of the United States as war criminals. In the 50s our anti-Communist zeal led Washington to support at least one "anti-communist" brutal dictator, Batista in Cuba. There were and are "ugly Americans" who have done terrible things to foreigners. The US has done much more good than wrong. To equate the US with Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia under Stalin, or China under Mao, is just silly.

hoghopper said...

We should all fight Swedish privilege.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Bob Dylan's a hack who can't sing for shit. A pure American con - job.

N/A said...

Those damn Swedes! Look at 'em with their lingonberries, and their beautiful people, and their neverending supply of tiny allen wrenches!

Anonymous said...

They tried and failed to implement the Idaho Stop here but instead you get Honked, Diesel belched and flipped off, it's called the Utah Stop.

potbellyjoe said...

Critical Mass - Car edition

If only it wasn't for the damn bikes on the LA Freeways...

But like Dylan said, "You don't need a Wiggans-man to know that TUEs blow." Or something like that.

Dooth said...

Maybe Dylan's dead. Can someone check on him, please?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Forget my earlier comments. Arlo Guthrie should get the nobel prize in lit for Alice's Restaurant.

HumanAllocation said...


Credit where credit is due...

Unknown said...

Maybe Bob Dylan had something information about Hillary Clinton and...

rudy jenkins said...

Great post, RTMS. Damn, did Pinter ever bring it hard to the paint. Do you know if Bush ever took him up on that speech writing offer?

JLRB said...

Wait - we sell self love? I hate that.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

PBJ 2:49

I didn't know bikesycles could cause that kind of traffic.

JLRB said...

Spence @2:34 - Righto. All that from an Englishman - good thing the colonizing English always behaved "properly." Just look at how they treated their closest neighbors in Ireland. What does Mr. Nobel say about that?

Of course the USA acts with self-interest, but after WWII, when we held all the aces, when our industry was running strong and the rest of the modern world was bombed out, we did not colonize the planet - we guaranteed free trade by agreeing to keep the sea lanes open for commerce. And we agreed to allow the rebuilding countries to export into the USA market without reciprocity. Etc. OK OK - we sort of forced our currency on others, required ports for our navy, created NATO etc. But still, we didn't march in with our pith helmets and conquer colonies for god and King/Queen.

Less Is More said...

Seems bicycling is a fun way to restore the dignity of man.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Bradley was doing anything to win so he could end the race for his goddamn smoke break!

"Blimey, it's been like 10 minutes!" Flips the V to the race official.

kawamawasailor said...

My son is named Dylan but I don't think he has every listen to any of Bob's songs. I also write a blog at times and my son Dylan rides bicycles as I do although we have different styles. I also wander into blogging but never had the skill to develop a following such as the snob as. here is by blog:

Onan said...

JLRB@3:47 - what's wrong with self love?

Less Is More said...

Nothing, except it leads to people feeling good about sitting in their cars and blaming bicyclists for clogging up the road and getting what they deserve

Drock said...

Dylan has a brass bed, I've got a brass bike. Can anyone remember a song about a half link?

Anonymous said...

You may have found your Jakob Dylan.

Deepstirfried said...

Thank you for the Pinter. Global level politics is ugly. Glad you do a noble job of bike politics. A badge of honour for Mr Snob.

CommieCanuck said...

So let Germany brew your beer,
Let Switzerland make your watch,
Let Asia assemble your phone.
We…will build…your Mexico

Dylan is embarrassed, he's no Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, winner 1903.

Bjør Bjør

CommieCanuck said...

Baby boomers consider this genius as well...

Just last week I was on my bike
I run into a friend named Mike
Run into my friend named Mike
Mike no longer has a bike. He cries:

Written by an adult.

CommieCanuck said...

I've pulled every string to nominate Lemmy Kilmister for 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Brain dead, total amnesia,
Get some mental anaesthesia,
Don't move, I'll shut the door and kill the lights,
And if I can't be wrong I could be right,
All good clean fun,
Have another stick of gum,
Man, you look better already,

leroy said...

CommieCanuck Karaoke!

It was late last night the other day
Thought I'd go up and see Ray.
So I went up and saw Ray
There was only one thing Ray could say...

I don't want a pickle
I just want to ride my by-a-cicle
And I don't want to tickle,
I'd rather ride my by-a-cicle

And I don't want to die
I just want to ride my bi-i-cy-

leroy said...

Dear Mr. CC --

Mr. Guthrie explained it wasn't the best thing he ever wrote. He was coming down really fast and didn't have time to change it.

Yogi Dylan said...

Bob Dylan's so good...even when he's silent, people listen.

fourhourerection said...

The Nobel Prize has been controversial for awhile. Paul Krugman and Prez Obama most prominent, until Dylan.

Arizona redneck said...

The Nobel Committee. Their judgements are suspect. They gave the Peace Prize to the current inhabitant of the White House. The guy is as evil as any of his predecessors,though he gets a pass...
Those Swedes are as high as any Crack whore...

the Shmoo said...

Keep on shrommin'!

Spokey said...


thanks a lot fuck-o. i had managed to forget about that idiot krugman. in fact, either he hasn't done a(n) nyt op-ed for awhile or my brain has finally gotten to self-censor mode which is much better than self-awareness mode.

Holy Roller said...

How come Jesus was never a Nobel laureate?

Anonymous said...

You never know just how you look through other people's eyes

babble on said...

Mr Roller,
Just think of all of the wars waged in his name...

Um, and methinks Dr House is a Laurie Nobelate.

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Reports of Me Receiving the Nobel Prize are Premature said...

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