Reclaiming Bob Dylan for the Jews, Again
In three easy steps
Seth Rogovoy, author of Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet, joins a long tradition of people reading whatever the heck they want into the life and works of the elusive musician. (Some people are tired of hearing about him altogether.) Jews have a leg up on this practice—after all, the artist was formerly known as Robert Zimmerman—and in an interview, Rogovoy offers a peek into his process that serves to illustrate some Dylanology basics:
1. If you look hard enough, you will find something: “It involved a lot of dedicated listening over and over again to all of Dylan’s recordings; re-reading fundamental Jewish texts and key guidebooks, including Abraham Joshua Heschel on the Prophets—you read him on the likes of Jeremiah and Ezekiel and just substitute Bob Dylan for the ancients and it totally resonates.”
2. Evidence against your point can always be turned around to support it: “I go to great pains to show how, in fact, the gospel albums are a lot less about the narrator’s belief in Jesus than they are about the narrator’s identification of Jesus with the Jewish prophets.”
3. Don’t speak for the man, he doesn’t like that: “I don’t really pretend to have any insight into what, if anything, Bob Dylan believes in.”
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.