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More on China

The music critic Alex Ross has posted an astute essay on the Dylan in China flap  here, which notes that  demanding an artist to perform incendiary material  is “the worst sort of armchair moralism,”  especially given what often happens after such displays.  Ross also points out that — believe it or not — there is as yet no evidence whatsoever that the Chinese authorities asked for any changes before approving Dylan’s setlists, or even proscribed any of his songs. In any event,  as Ross also observes, Dylan  sang some mighty edgy material in Beijing and Shanghai — although apparently it wasn’t “protesty” enough for some  critics. But who’s fooling whom?

There is a growing touch of the absurd about this entire controversy, worthy of one of Dylan’s  absurdist songs. It feels all the wackier when things like this surface — the front page of the Xinmin Evening News heralding, above the fold,  Dylan’s then-upcoming Shanghai concert. (Thanks to Eric Muhlheim.)

Maybe Dylan should have sung “Crazy.”


3 Responses to “More on China”

  1. Alan says:

    They did use the wrong photo. The “Wei NiSi” you are talking about refers to the Italian city Venice.

  2. chuck says:

    I didn’t think the NY Times Book Review article gave enough credit to Lennon as a protest singer.

    His ode to John Sinclair was extremely effective (and catchy).

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