Is Dylan a Sellout?

In lieu of the Chrysler ad during the Super Bowl, I have been forced to ponder this question. And I’ve come to the conclusion that to think Dylan is a sellout is to make the mistake that he ever bought in. Bob Dylan, first and foremost, does what he wants to do. It was true when he went electric, it was true when he was born again, and it’s true now. Dylan is often held up as a counterculture icon, and he is, but people forget that he never wanted to be, and that he crashed his motorcycle and went into hiding for nearly a year just to get away from the image he had built. That’s what must not be forgotten. Dylan never claimed to be the “spokesman of a generation”. That title was thrust upon him, and he’s tried to shake it off ever since. Concluding this brief musing, Dylan is only what Dylan wants to be, not what you or I want him to be. If he served his fans, he’d never have gone electric after all. The legacy of Bob Dylan is of a popular culture figure who continually defies expectations and does things his way. If that means selling cars, then so be it. The world’s not ending. If he wants to sell cars, he’ll sell cars, whether you and I want him to or not. And that’s the point. He wouldn’t be Dylan otherwise.

Don't Be Silent

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