He Belongs to Us: The relevance of Bob Dylan to traditionalists

In a March 2007 entry a reader complained about the fact that this website regularly quotes (or paraphrases) Bob Dylan, icon of the destructive Sixties. There followed a discussion in which I and many readers, while acknowledging various objectionable things about Dylan, justified VFR’s use of Dylan and showed his continuing, vital relevance to traditionalists today. In the below exchange I got at the core of what I had to say about the subject:

Mike B. writes:

A lifetime ago Dylan was my troubadour, saying for me the things I couldn’t. Now, as an adult, in your own way, you are the one who says for me what I cannot.

LA replies:

A too extravagant compliment from Mike. But he points to something that justifies this traditionalist site quoting Dylan. Dylan (whatever his own intentions) was a leading inspirer and creator of the counterculture, rejecting society and its norms. Then Dylan and the counterculture he had helped create became officially established as the dominant culture, which is a contradiction in terms. As a result, today it is traditionalists like ourselves who are the outcasts, the rebels, who must maintain a secret “counter-existence” against the overwhelming liberal orthodoxy (whether called liberal or “conservative”) that surrounds us, and find a way to keep ourselves spiritually alive against the required beliefs, customs, attitudes, schooling, propaganda, and behaviors of the surrounding society. How many VFR readers have mainstream jobs where they must conceal their true views? So, in a funny way, some of Dylan’s words, such as these from “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” fit us more than they do today’s so-called counterculture which has become the dominant culture:

Ah, get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don’t steal, don’t lift.
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift.
Look out kid
Better keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle …


LA writes:

Also in that thread, I wrote:

I would suggest that when Dylan is quoted at this site he is being presented within a traditionalist context and framework, and that alters his meaning. By quoting him the way I do I am not simply feeding into the sensibility of the dominant counterculture.

May 30

Steve R. writes:

For those that have taken the opportunity to read you with an open heart, I must disagree with you. It is not extravagant to compare you to Dylan.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 29, 2012 03:39 PM | Send

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