THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 2014
Bob Dylan’s most famous statement: “Never trust anyone under 30,” Bob Dylan once famously said.
(We may not be quoting precisely.)
We thought of Dylan’s famous statement when we read this interview with Suey Park, who may have proven a bit too young for Salon’s aging youth brigade.
First, a bit of background: Park is the 23-year-old Asian-American woman who started a land war in Asia last week concerning Stephen Colbert.
For what it’s worth, we tend to agree with Park’s basic reaction. On balance, we don’t think it’s a great idea to do the kind of comedy Colbert did in the instance in question.
We wouldn’t send Colbert to prison, at least not yet. But on balance, mountains of historical pain are involved in the mocking portrayals of racial or ethnic groups.
On balance, we don’t think male comedians should adopt falsetto voices for women. On balance, we don’t think it’s a good idea to keep tossing the sounds of ethnic stereotypes around, even in support of an alleged good cause.
To us, that tends to keep destructive imagery in the air, in everyone’s heads. And you don’t exactly know why all those people are laughing, or why they’re laughing so hard.
Last week, Park made everyone mad. She called for Colbert’s surrender to the revolutionary masses.
Needless to say, Salon went nuts. This morning, Salon’s Prachi Gupta posted a long, extremely rambling interview with Park.
Gupta is one of the top mental purity cops at the revamped Salon site. And uh-oh! Early on in the interview, Park even gave her some lip!
From that point on, the interview becomes extremely rambling. We watched a tape of Park last week where she didn’t sound like that at all.
We’re just saying! But it did make us wonder if Park was being told, in an age-old way, to get off Gupta’s lawn.
Suey, don’t mess with the purity cops! Also, as Dylan said so long ago:
Never trust anyone over 20! Especially if the cadre in question gets to edit your words.
One legacy of Mike Seeger: In Chronicles: Volume I, Bob Dylan paid an astonishing tribute to Mike Seeger, who has since passed away.
Essentially, Dylan said he knew he would have to write his own songs after seeing Seeger sing in Alan Lomax’s loft in Greenwich Village. Dylan said he knew he could never perform the traditional songs as well as Seeger did:
“The thought occurred to me that maybe I’d have to write my own folk songs, the ones Mike didn’t know.” (page 71)
For decades, Seeger was our favorite performer of any kind. It was never easy to explain why. But one of the things we liked was this—he always sang the women’s voices straight. Many men can’t or won’t do that, singers as well as comedians.
To watch Seeger sing Lady of Carlisle, click here, move to 3:30. (Warning: Archaic social arrangements!) Seeger never condescended to his female characters. He never rolled his eyes. He never went to falsetto:
Down in Carlisle there lived a lady
Being most beautiful and gay.
She was determined to live a lady,
No man on earth could her betray.
Dylan went on to write his own songs, several of which caught on.
To see Roscoe Holcomb in Lomax’s loft, click here. For Clarence Ashley (with Doc Watson), click this. This is said to be the first videotape of Watson.
Those tapes are from the New York City of the early Mad Men years. Watching Seeger in that room gave Dylan a different idea.