Edward Curtin scooped The Times. His “Bob Dylan at Eighty: A Masked Man in Search of Redemption” yesterday (online HERE) sought to figure out the elusive man whose oeuvre is not over.

Today for the Times in ink on newsprint, Jason Zinoman’s “Dylan Is Also a Master Jester” (online HERE), while readable and containing truths, marginalizes the man by slicing parts of his creative career for a  conformist sandwich. Certain things are not ready for prime time. Not yet fit to print.

Curtin adapts a chapter of his 2020 book, Seeking Truth In a Country of Lies, continuing to see Dylan as someone in and out of hiding as he sees fit.

That is not an option for Zinoman, a jester himself. For him, here at least, Dylan is a pop star with a sense of humor. He deserves a place “in the pantheon of great Jewish funny men.” “But the first prank Dylan pulled was posing as a plain-spoken truth-teller.” A photo caption reads, “His lyrics could be silly or goofy.”

A year ago, Jeff Morley foresaw Zimoman’s plight. In “The New York Times Evades Dylan’s JFK Challenge,” he critiques an interview in the newspaper between historian Douglas Brinkley and the man who had just released “Murder Most Foul.” (Read Morley — and commentators — and listen to the song HERE.)

As befits a custodian of the website, Morley is not evasive. Just the opposite.

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Find another “Happy Birthday” to Bob Dylan HERE. It’s by James Howard Kunstler of “The End of Suburbia” and The Long Emergency fame, more recently all-purpose arch-critic of President Biden. I’m happy I didn’t come across it until sending in the parts above the dashes. It’s no less true than they are, just less in keeping with the main purposes of this blog.

— Mark Channing Miller



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