Friday, August 14, 2009

Henry Gates is in good company

Remember how angry Professor Henry Gates, Jr., got about the fact that the police didn't recognize him and asked him for i.d. after a passer-by saw what looked like a forced entry into his home? Professor Gates should take heart that the incident probably really wasn't racism, after all:

The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.

The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:

"What is your name, sir?" the officer asked.

"Bob Dylan," Dylan said.

"OK, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.

"I'm on tour," the singer replied.

A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.

The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Blowin' in the Wind" said that he didn't have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night's show.

The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.

The officers thanked him for his cooperation.

"He couldn't have been any nicer to them," Woolley added.

I'm glad Mr. Dylan was nice to the police; otherwise he might have been arrested, too.

Meanwhile, shocked baby boomers all over America are coming to grips with a painful fact: their heroes and icons are already unrecognized, not by mere children, but by adults (albeit young ones) in positions of authority. Pretty soon the only "Woodstock" anyone will remember is the late Charles Schulz's funny little yellow bird--and that, only because of the longevity of Peanuts and the brilliant marketing of its characters.


Hélène said...

I am in my late twenties, and although I have heard Bob Dylan's name my whole life, I can say with certainty that I have no idea what he looks like nor can I name a single song he wrote. The same goes with Bruce Springsteen. People (of all ages) need to get over the fact that most pop music isn't going to popular with every generation, despite how great the fans think it is.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I also have no idea what Dylan looks like-- though given his voice, I'd imagine he gives the impression of a drunk or high homeless guy.....

eulogos said...

Actually, I have little idea what he looks like, to recognize him.

I am not even and have never been, a popular music person. I have always preferred Bach to any other music, since about age 15 when my preference switched from Mozart.

Nevertheless, some of Dylan's hits evoke for me the entire tone of the late 60's early 70's, the time when I was young, starting college, in love. That time in one's life when one feels that one is living in the most real and significant time which has ever existed in the world. I make no argument for their artistic greatness, and I know that this world passes away. It is just that for Dylan to become obscure is an awful reminder that I am, slowly, passing away.

How does it feel,
to be on your own
no direction home
a complete unknown
like a rolling stone.

Lucky for him Dylan did have a direction home, and wasn't going to be 'having to be scrounging, [his] next meal.'

It may even have amused him not to be recognized. He was famous long enough for it to become a burden.

Come to think about it, we DO have a direction home, and those of us who are beginning to feel the approach of our time to pass away, ought especially to be paying attention to the directions to our true home.

Susan Peterson

Clare Marie-Therese Duroc said...

Yeah, I was thinking what eulogos said: it was probably a welcome relief in many ways to be unrecognised. Having people fall at your feet has to get pretty tiring after awhile.

I'm in my late teens, and seem to tread a lonely road in Dylan fandom as far as my peers are concerned... couldn't help but love him though... something about his music always touched the romantic side of me, and felt so Chestertonian.

And it's even hard to find fellow Dylan fans amongst the "older generation." Most of the ones I've talked to seem to be extraordinarily proud of not liking him. ??? It leaves me with the uncomfortable feeling that there's something great principle at stake that I'm entirely missing.