Archive for May 7th, 2010

Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #23: Blowin’ In The Wind

Grandma Simpson: How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?
Homer: Seven!
Lisa: No, Dad, it’s a rhetorical question.
Homer: Rhetorical, eh?  Eight!

—“Mother Simpson,” 1995

Like so many great lines of literature before it (“To be or not to be?” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” etc.), the refrain of Bob Dylan’s most famous song has become a cliché. The line—“How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?”—has become so commonplace and simple after nearly 50 years in the public consciousness that it is easy to laugh at the plainness of the sentiment.

Even at the time of its release, though, people were laughing at “Blowin’ in the Wind.” According to Bob Spitz, Dave Von Ronk, one of Dylan’s early mentors, had a pretty dismissive reaction to the song:  “Jesus, Bobby—what an incredibly dumb song! I mean, what the hell is ‘blowing in the wind’?…I figured Bobby could grind out a tune like that on the worst day he ever had in his life.” Even Dylan himself would occasionally sound modest about the song, saying in 1966, “I was never satisfied with ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.’ I wrote that in ten minutes. ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ was a lucky classic song…but it was one-dimensional.”

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Survivor Survival Guide: The Sinking Ship

“I’m not fully in control of this game right now; me and Parvati are equally in control, and that makes me worried.” –Russell

“He’s getting outplayed by me AND DANIELLE at this point.” –Parvati on Russell

“Russell is insane.” –Danielle

Bravo, Survivor. You gave us an episode that matched this season’s earlier showdown between Boston Rob and Russell at a far more significant and usually predictable part of the season. And somehow, through two more immunity challenges that neither won, through another hunt for a hidden idol that neither found, and through two more tribals, Rupert and Colby are still standing.*

*This is especially astonishing in Colby’s case, considering he wasn’t even a member of the top alliance within the Heroes’ camp. I remember thinking how strange it was he even made it to the merge, and now he’s in the final six!

The episode started with the fallout from Candice’s betrayal of the Heroes in voting out Amanda last week. That left the Heroes down to two remaining members, Rupert and Colby, with the former describing Candice as “weak, pathetic, self-centered, and manipulative” before saying in almost Coach-speak, “Colby and I are on a stranded ship. There are no other heroes.”

Rupert then decided to go off on Russell at breakfast, calling him a “disgusting” human being who cared only for himself. Russell naturally didn’t back down, and the two digressed into a much-beeped argument that didn’t really go anywhere.*

*This episode had about as much cursing as any I can remember in the show’s history.

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Reminder: Friday Night Lights Premieres On NBC Tonight!

If you haven’t already had a chance to check out Season Four of Friday Night Lights, either because you don’t have DirecTV or you have some weird ethical qualms about watching TV illegally , then do yourself a favor and watch or record it on NBC tonight at 8 PM. The show has already been picked up for a fifth season, so this isn’t even a “please help its ratings” post. I only ask because I care about you and want you to experience something great. Back in February I called this season the best of the show to date. Here is the review in full, though it does contain spoilers:

A few times before, I’ve used a season-ending review to claim that the most recent season of a great show has not been up to the standards of the show. While I stand by those claims, I do acknowledge that there is a natural tendency to romanticize the past and, as a result, unfairly denigrate the present.

Which is why it is so refreshing to watch a season of television like Season Four of Friday Night Lights, which took an already very good show and made it great. The most recent season (which concluded last week on DirecTV, and will begin airing on NBC tonight) of FNL was by far the best season of a show already considered by some to be a classic. Continue reading