[lit-ideas] Re: Visions of Dylan

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 12:17:36 -0500

Sorry you went to all the trouble of putting put all that information together, 
but I am not looking for any kind of courses or academic schools.  I was just 
looking for opinions.  Thanks again.  It was very thoughtful of you.

Hey, no sweat.  It took me all of 2 minutes.  You want opinion?  Why?  I'm 
willing to bet that nothing anyone says would change your opinion of Dylan.  
Well, whatever, whyever, I never turn down a chance to opine.  My opinion (I 
should write this all in caps since I'm so absolutely certain of it's truth, 
but that's so annoying that I'll refrain):  there's no such thing as 
seriousness in the arts.  Even at their most 'serious' they are frivolous.  The 
frivolity of art is what saves us from taking ourselves seriously.  Whenever 
human beings take themselves seriously they end up in fascism, whether 
theocratic or political or academic.  Fascists love to be serious.  Fascists 
know what's wrong with the world.  Artists don't.  Artists just play.  
Shakespeare is all play.  So is Kenneth Koch.  One's not "better" than the 
other as in more serious -- ooooooooo seeeerious -- both are just playing with 
words and emotions as a way of escaping boredom.  One might speak to a reader 
more than another depending on the reader's literary and lived experiences, but 
one artist isn't better.  Now, it's true that in our proclivity to be serious 
we all want to be thought more intelligent, more experienced, more hip, more 
savvy, more in-the-know, etc., than our fellows, ergo, Literary Studies.  Many 
a poor serious soul has spent years mining the usage of adverbs in Thomas Love 
Peacock or some such esoteric esoterica which permits them to pontificate 
without fear of contradiction.  That's not to say that Literary Studies or even 
Literary Theory can't be fun -- as long as you don't take them seriously.  Most 
do though.  Pity.

But what of Bob Dylan, you ask.  Dylan is a damned good poet.  As is his 
namesake.  Damn, damn, damn good.  "

"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever." [Thomas]

 Brill. (as Ritchie would say)  

"Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats  
Too noble to neglect  
Deceived me into thinking  
I had something to protect  
Good and bad, I define these terms  
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now."  [Bob]

just as brill.

Neither is serious.  Both are play.  Armies are serious.  War is serious.  
Bankers are serious.  Business executives are serious.  Men with guns are 
serious.  Hunger is serious.  Physical pain is serious.  Spiritual pain is 
serious.  Poetry and plays and painting and music and novels and sculpture and 
dance and performance arts and clowns and class cut-ups and even athletics all 
"have charm for children but lack nobility" as Jeffers said.  And thank God.  
The arts celebrate life and celebration is celebration, not seriousness, not 
noble earnestness, it's just a yahoo!  So kick up your heels.  Fuck those 
arbiters of good taste.  Go with you gut, man.

Mike Geary

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