Bob Dylan Forever Young
According to a news report I just read, Bob Dylan was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City. I’ll bet he’s thrilled. Academics and eggheads regularly pay homage to Dylan. It must make them feel cool. Literary scholar Christopher Ricks has studied and published at least one book on Dylan’s lyrics.
In a way, Dylan has been one of our country’s great poets. He is our spirit-singer. Born into a Jewish home in a very un-Jewish place (the iron range of Minnesota) he converted to a hot and evangelical kind of Christianity, it seems, for a short time. He has studied and seems to have internalized biblical traditions and ideas. Of course the institutions that wall in the biblical wisdom and truths could not hold his loyalty. Religions, with their splintered sub-divisions such as the “denominations” of American Protestantism, try to maintain brand loyalty with enthusiasms, slogans, and flashy advertisements. Through the maintenance of unholy partnerships of one kind and another with commercial and corporate spirits, they attempt to remain relevant. Dylan never seems to accommodate to anything except to his music; he seems free and above market surveys and polls. He has let his music inspire his life.
This time of year I think about my sons, four years apart in age, with a year remaining in high school and college respectively. Here’s a clip of Dylan singing Forever Young.