Sunday, February 9, 2014


But what an incredible contribution Dylan has made.  He fueled a lot of energy for the counter cultural-anti war  revolution.  His lyrics to "Masters Of War" should be sung in every classroom in America.  I've posted them at the end of this article.

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Bob Dylan pitching American cars for Chrysler. (photo: Chrysler)
Bob Dylan pitching American cars for Chrysler. (photo: Chrysle

Bob Dylan, Corporate Shill

By Marshall Fine, Hollywood and Fine
08 February 14

 don't want to make too big a deal about Bob Dylan appearing in a Chrysler commercial during the Super Bowl and yet, I'm afraid, it is a big deal.
It followed closely on the heels of the death of Pete Seeger, who helped start the whole folk-music groundswell that buoyed Dylan to critical acclaim and, almost as quickly, to the top of the pop charts. There are many things that connect Seeger and Dylan, not the least of which is their admiration, even idolization, of Woody Guthrie.
And as I watched the commercial - "Is there anything more American than America?" Dylan gnomically asked - I thought, would Woody Guthrie, voice of the working man, have done a commercial for a major multinational corporation?
No, of course not.
Keep in mind that, just a few minutes earlier, one of Dylan's songs, "I Want You," had served as background for a Chobani yogurt commercial. Still, there's a difference between a Dylan song as background - and the man himself, looking into the camera and shilling for a car company.
Facebook and Twitter were full of apologists for Dylan, talking about how he's always marched to his own beat, how this is his celebration of being an American (as though capitalism is an inherently patriotic calling), how he's supporting an American company that had struggled and survived (thanks to the Obama administration).
Sorry, I don't buy it. Everybody, it seems, has their price.
And yet, there are those who didn't - and don't (at least until they do). I find it hard to imagine Bruce Springsteen as spokesman for some massive commercial product - and I don't imagine John Lennon would have. The Rolling Stones? They never meant quite the same thing - and hey, they were one of the first bands to use commercial sponsorship for one of their tours. Microsoft isn't that different from Chrysler in the larger scheme.
No, the list of artists - singer-songwriters, bands, actors and the like - who would not take the big payday for a commercial endorsement deal is an increasingly short one. Once upon a time, it was a badge of honor not to auction your integrity to the highest bidder. Now, when celebrities sell out, the size of the paycheck is that badge.
Yes, Bob Dylan has followed his own beat; he's the original musical chameleon, pointing the way for artists like David Bowie and Madonna and even U2, showing that you don't have to be who anyone expects you to be, or what you were in the past. Times change and you change as a person. Why shouldn't your music change with you?
Dylan has always been a spiritual seeker of sorts, whether after Christianity or orthodox Judaism or anything else. He's played folk, rock, country, blues, standards, Christian music, even Christmas songs.
It all meant something because he's Bob Dylan. And so does becoming a spokesman for a corporation.
He's still a musical giant, a genius whose work shaped and touched generations.
The question is: What does Bob Dylan mean now?
Less, I'm afraid.

"Masters Of War"

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion'
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.