Song for Bob Dylan
In 1988, I spent my month’s allowance on Guns n’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction,” and was unwittingly yet gleefully met by a stunning illustration on the inside cassette flap of a disoriented woman having just been sexually assaulted or raped. At 12 years of age, I think I understood the sociopolitical significance of the image — that it was “bad”; that rape and physical violence towards women was “bad”; that a hard rock band had a vested economic interest in conveying the image of themselves as “bad,” yet there was still a part of me, perhaps the majority, that simply, essentially, found the cotton stretched panties and exposed plump breast extremely erotic. I may have even unsuccessfully masturbated to the picture; I kept saying “this is a cartoon” to myself as I eventually grew flaccid. More than two decades later, today, knee-deep in Occupy Wall Street media k-hole, I came across a picture of a young protester, perhaps in need of some originality, reading a book that could be anywhere from Twilight to Chomsky’s greatest hits. And guess what I thought? What image immediately came into my mind. I know this is “bad,” that my adult male brain has been hijacked and permanently fucked by the images, album covers, videos, proposed by “bad” rock n’ roll boys who ostensibly were writing songs about how I felt, my unsettled and unsettling emotions, somehow, somewhat, probably not. David Bowie’s “Song for Bob Dylan” (1971) offers the lyric you gave your heart to every bedsit room / at least a picture on my wall / and you sat behind a million pair of eyes which honors Dylan’s voice as being that of his generation. Decades only happen once, but they take ten years to happen, and that is a enough time to get bored. I was born already tired of the 60s. Children dream of perfect worlds, and adults resent and lament the missed opportunities. It is touching, really. This slow dance between frowning parties that never ends. Cobain is dead, and Bieber’s voice is still of a eunuch’s, so maybe our reposed protester can only settle for a sign printed in caps, a sign she doesn’t hold, but places between her legs.