September 14, 2006

I'm gonna establish my rule through civil war

scarlettdeal.jpg The New York Times tries hard to find someone who will object to Bob Dylan's latest obscure borrowings, this time from Civil War poet Henry Timrod on several tracks from his new album Modern Times (a masterpiece, by the way).

As I argued the last time around (in a post Christopher Hitchens called "deft" and "objectively pro-terrorist"), there's really no scandal here, no matter how many Albuquerque middle school Spanish teachers you have on your side.

I also note with amusement the argument that Bob crossed a line by being too erudite for most of America, because “plagiarism wants you not to know the original, whereas allusion wants you to know.” Is it Bob's fault that the rest of us have never read Timrod? How many people knew that Whitman poem I dug up last time? For that matter, the Times charts a Timrodism in a song called Spirit on the Water, without noting that the title of that song and its opening lines ("Spirit on the water/Darkness on the face of the deep") are equally "stolen." I'll generously assume this goes unsaid because in that case the source is so familiar. But it's at least possible that those liberal elites at the Times are no more familiar with the Bible than they are with Henry Timrod.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Yeah, I read the Times story and pretty much just shrugged.

Awesome! The eminent Mr. Dittman is thrilled (Thrilled!) to see that you, too, have signed up for his noble campaign to devalue the word " masterpiece ." While your life-changing packet will take four to six glorious weeks to arrive in the mail, he encourages you to explore groundbraking new ways to malign the above endorsement, along with any others you find appropriate (we suggest "genius," “brilliant,” and "epic," for beginners). For instance: A " masterpiece " could simply be any work from someone who owns a dog ! The contemptible elitism that designates any one piece of work as “better” than others must be brought down! Hyperbole is itself the Most Significant Artisitic Movement of the 21st century, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs among those not generally considered talented enough to otherwise hold them! It’s a compassionate movement: It helps artists feel better about themselves, and consumers feel better about their purchases. Mr. Dittman feels proud to have read your magical, clever and innovative blog entry , and looks forward to more spectacular work from you in future!

Dylan record’s okay. Cute, even. Sure to wind up on the top ten list of everyone who buys five records a year.

Hey, it was just an off-hand allusion to When I Paint My Masterpiece! You should be glad I didn't say it's got plans of its own to set up its throne when it returns.

What about Scarlett's lips? OK if I still call them earth-shattering?

Some showed me a picture and I just laughed.

Dignity's never been photographed.

(Nor given proper credit in the linear notes.)

He's great! My favorite is "Walk on the Wild Side."

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