Cut Bob Dylan Some Slack for His Weird-Ass Super Bowl Commercial . . . But Not That Much
God forbid someone call me out on the things I said with the utmost seriousness in my early 20s, the things I drew the hardest of lines on: the person I'd never be, the things I'd never do, and so on. Who can live up to that?
Columbia Records Folk rock legend and Chrysler pitchman Bob Dylan.
And, more to the point perhaps, why do the same to someone like Bob Dylan?
Call it recording technology's most baffling "problem": the strange, beautiful, and irreplaceable way it collapses time. It's entirely possible that you began your Sunday hearing Dylan admonish that "money doesn't talk, it swears" from Bringing It All Back Home's "It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding" and ended it by seeing him spit nonsense like "Is there anything more American than America?"
And even if your mind knows better -- knows that Dylan wrote that first line almost 50 years ago, when he was only 23 years old -- hearing them so close together makes it hard not to feel that Dylan's something of a hypocrite, that he's saying one thing and doing another. But some slack ought to be given: As Dylan himself says in the ad's closing, things have changed.
With that said, it's not hard to be disappointed to see Dylan shilling automobiles on a stage as large as the commercials accompanying the Super Bowl. Even though he was selling bras for Victoria's Secret just a few short years ago, this seems an especially ill-advised step, one that might even halt, just a little, the unrelenting praise heaped upon his middling latter-day records.