Yes, this is my third post in 23 days. No, it’s not like the old days. Heavy workload and the mind-melting stupefaction of the suicide of civilization have rendered orderly posting difficult. But I read this article in May and have wanted to repost it for awhile now. It holds up Bob Dylan as an example (of course!) of the need we have to read and internalize the great literary works.

This generation is indoctrinated, ignorant, and dangerous.


Several years ago, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. While many, including Dylan himself, found it a bit odd to honor a folk singer with the premier prize for literature, there it was. After a curious gap between the committee’s breathless announcement and Dylan’s reluctant acceptance, the seventy-five-year-old artist reflected on just how much his writing was born out of his studied immersion in folk music and the budding progenitors of rock and roll including Buddy Holly, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and the New Lost City Ramblers. Dylan would elaborate,

I had all the vernacular down. I knew the rhetoric. None of it went over my head—the devices, the techniques, the secrets, the mysteries—and I knew all the deserted roads that it traveled on, too. I could make it all connect and move with the current of the day. When I started writing my own songs, the folk lingo was the only vocabulary that I knew, and I used it.

In a few words, folk music became a part of his marrow. But then he went on,

But I had something else as well. I had principles and sensibilities and an informed view of the world. And I had had that for a while. Learned it all in grammar school. Don Quixote, Ivanhoe, Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, Tale of Two Cities, all the rest—typical grammar school reading that gave you a way of looking at life, an understanding of human nature, and a standard to measure things by. I took all that with me when I started composing lyrics. And the themes from those books worked their way into many of my songs, either knowingly or unintentionally. I wanted to write songs unlike anything anybody ever heard, and these themes were fundamental.

Dylan’s speech would continue with a whirling exegesis on three of the most influential books—all classics—in his life: Moby Dick, All Quiet On the Western Front, The Odyssey. Now, I don’t know anyone who is reading these novels in grammar school (which is generally considered Kindergarten through eighth grade) anymore. And, sadly, there is hardly anyone anywhere who is reading them at any age, unless so compelled by some witchy, fun-hating college professor. 

Read the rest here.