Tuesday, October 09, 2018

For Bob Dylan-The Answer My Friend Is Blowing (No Clipped “G”) In The Wind-The Influence Of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” On The “Generation of’68”-The Best Part Of That Cohort

The Answer My Friend Is Blowing (No Clipped “G”) In The Wind-The Influence Of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” On The “Generation of’68”-The Best Part Of That Cohort

Link to NPR Morning Edition 'The Times They Are A-Changin" Still Speaks To Our Changing Times  https://www.npr.org/2018/09/24/650548856/american-anthem-the-times-they-are-a-changin

By Seth Garth

No question this publication both in its former hard copy editions and now more so in the on-line editions as the, ouch, 50th anniversary of many signature events for the “Generation of ‘68” have come and gone that the whole period of the 1950s and 1960s had gotten a full airing. Has been dissected, deflected, inspected, reflected and even rejected beyond compare. That is not to say that this trend won’t continue if for no other reason that the demographics and actual readership response indicate that people still have a desire to not forget their pasts, their youth.

(Under the new site manager Greg Green, despite what I consider all good sense having worked under taskmaster Allan Jackson, we are encouraged to give this blessed readership some inside dope, no, no that kind, about how things are run these days in an on-line publication. With that okay in mind there was a huge controversy that put the last sentence in the above paragraph in some perspective recently when Greg for whatever ill-begotten reason thought that he would try to draw in younger audiences by catering to their predilections-for comic book character movies, video games, graphic novels and trendy music and got nothing but serious blow-back from those who have supported this publication financially and otherwise both in hard copy times and now on-line. What that means as the target demographic fades is another question and maybe one for a future generation who might take over the operation. Or perhaps like many operations this one will not outlast its creators- and their purposes.)    

Today’s 1960s question, a question that I have asked over the years and so I drew the assignment to address the issue-who was the voice of the 1960s. Who or what. Was it the lunchroom sit-inners and Freedom Riders, what it the hippies, was it SDS, the various Weather configurations, acid, rock, folk rock, folk, Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda, Abbie Hoffman, Grace Slick, hell the Three Js-Joplin, Jimi, Jim as in Morrison and the like. Or maybe it was a mood, a mood of disenchantment about a world that seemed out of our control, which seemed to be running without any input from us, without us even being asked. My candidate, and not my only candidate but a recent NPR Morning Edition segment brought the question to mind (see above link), is a song, a song created by Bob Dylan in the early 1960s which was really a clarion call to action on our part, or the best part of our generation-The Times They Are A-Changin’.    

I am not sure if Bob Dylan started out with some oversized desire to be the “voice” of his generation. He certainly blew the whole thing off later after his motorcycle accident and still later when he became a recluse even if he did 200 shows a year, maybe sullen introvert is better, actually maybe his own press agent giving out dribbles is even better but that song, that “anthem” sticks in memory as a decisive summing up of what I was feeling at the time. (And apparently has found resonance with a new generation of activists via the March for Our Lives movement and other youth-driven movements.) As a kid I was antsy to do something, especially once I saw graphic footage on commercial television of young black kids being water-hosed, beaten and bitten by dogs down in the South simply for looking for some rough justice in this wicked old world. Those images, and those of the brave lunch-room sitters and Freedom bus riders were stark and compelling. They and my disquiet over nuclear bombs which were a lot scarier then when there were serious confrontations which put them in play and concern that what bothered me about having no say, about things not being addressed galvanized me.

The song “spoke to me” as it might not have earlier or later. It had the hopeful ring of a promise of a newer world. That didn’t happen or happen in ways that would have helped the mass of humanity but for that moment I flipped out every time I heard it played on the radio or on my old vinyl records record-player. Other songs, events, moods, later would overtake this song’s sentiment but I was there at the creation. Remember that, please.   

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