Friday, October 27, 2006

Politics Imitates Art

I'm always a little disappointed when a musician makes an overt political statement at a concert. (I find it less frustrating when it's done on record, but I prefer it to be subtle if it's there at all). To me, it comes off as a pretty lame play to the crowd's supposedly-predictable political sensibilities. Brian Doherty has an outstanding essay up at Reason on the intersection of politics and art, and (unsurprisingly) finds that we're all guilty of drawing far two many lines between the two. Especially the ongoing effort to assign every word written by Bob Dylan to a particular political viewpoint. I liked this perspective, which may help to explain the lasting respect Dylan commands:

...Dylan recognizes that it can only hurt an artist qua artist to be pinned down on worldly politics—that being held up as an exemplar of a specific political-ideological team may help the audience, but it's death to the artist.

Well worth reading. One of my favorite pieces of the year.


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