In Defense of Bob Dylan

Joe Kloc in Mother Jones:

Thetimestheyareachangininline Last Sunday, Bob Dylan played a show in Vietnam for the first time in his half-century long career. The tickets didn't sell well. Only half of the venue's 8,000 seats were filled when Dylan took the stage in his white cowboy hat and performed for two hours, ending the night with his 1974 hit “Forever Young.” As with Dylan's two previous shows in Beijing and Shanghai, his omission of protests songs like “Blowin' in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin'” was met with anger from Human Rights Watch and columnists like Maureen Dowd.

“The idea that the raspy troubadour of '60s freedom anthems would go to a dictatorship and not sing those anthems is a whole new kind of sellout,” she wrote of the China performances last week. “Sellout,” of course, implies that Dylan traded some measure of his artistic integrity for profit on his tour of Asia. While he may have consiously neglected his protests songs, it's hard to imagine he did it to earn a few bucks.

More here.