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Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

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Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Stu Levitan » Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:31 am

Books and Beats with Stu Levitan
Jan 24, 2009 92.1 FM The Mic
Topics on the table -- the greatest and most important writer in the English language since Shakespeare, and two winners of the Noble Peace Prize.
10am
One of my favorite things about Bob Dylan's lyrics is his incorporation of Biblical phrases and imagery, especially the prophets. Seth Rogovoy, author of Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet, (Simon and Schuster) gives a full exegesis.
11am
Again honoring Janus by looking back, a conversation about Barack Obama's inaugural address with Robert Schlesinger, author White House Ghosts: President and their Speechwriters, (Simon and Schuster) from a year ago. (Yes, Arthur's son.)
11:40am
A man who should have given an inaugural address, former Vice President Al Gore, remarks to the convention of the Society of Environmental Journalists in October (with a special tribute to Madison and the UW's own Henry Hart)

Hope you can join us.

92.1 The Mic
Madison WI
http://www.themic921.com
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:49 pm

Stu Levitan wrote: ... the greatest and most important writer in the English language since Shakespeare ...

I love me some Dylan, Stu, but ... seriously?!
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Stu Levitan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:14 pm

Absolutely. Who else would you nominate?
I'll debate this anytime, anyplace, with anyone.
Bring it on!
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Average Joe » Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:32 pm

Stu Levitan wrote:Absolutely. Who else would you nominate?
I'll debate this anytime, anyplace, with anyone.
Bring it on!


This one is simple. Charles Darwin. No other writer in the English language has had as much influence on civilization since Shakespeare than the author of The Origin of Species. Do you want to narrow it down to poets, playwrights, philosophers and lyricists?
Last edited by Average Joe on Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:43 am

I nominate Dr. Seuss.

I think he can match Dylan in every way as a writer and manipulator of the English language.

But ignoring my personal opinion, there's little doubt that Seuss is more widely known and he's unarguably had a larger influence on a greater number than Dylan (unless Bob's been teaching hundreds of thousands of people to read that I don't know about.)
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:55 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I nominate Dr. Seuss.

Has anyone ever done a Seussian parody of "Subterranean Homesick Blues"?

Get on that, Wags.

I think a stronger case could be made if one were to assert that Dylan is the most important lyricist in the English language since ol' Will. But writer? I don't even know where to begin ...
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Stu Levitan » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:02 pm

Not sure the distinction between being a lyricist and being a writer. so I will begin.

Blowin in the Wind
Times they are a-changin
Like A Rolling Stone
Masters of War
Every Grain of Sand
Desolation Row
Chimes of Freedom
Dont Think Twice
Gates of Eden
Aint Talkin
Rainy Day Women
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
A Hard Rains Gonna Fall
With God on our Side
Girl of the North Country
Isis
It Aint Me Babe
All Along the Watchtower
Mr Tambourine Man
Ballad of a Thin Man
Forever Young
Tangled Up in Blue
Idiot Wind
Shelter from the Storm
Hurricane
New Morning
Changing of the Guards
Political World
Man in the Long Black Coat
Time out of Mind
Love and Theft
Modern Times
Together Through Life

Your turn. You got somebody who can match that (and thats just for starters), show me.
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:59 am

Stu Levitan wrote:Not sure the distinction between being a lyricist and being a writer

Really?
All lyricists are writers, but not all writers are lyricists.

Stu Levitan wrote:Blowin in the Wind
Times they are a-changin
Like A Rolling Stone
Masters of War
Every Grain of Sand
Desolation Row
Chimes of Freedom
Dont Think Twice
Gates of Eden
Aint Talkin
Rainy Day Women
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
A Hard Rains Gonna Fall
With God on our Side
Girl of the North Country
Isis
It Aint Me Babe
All Along the Watchtower
Mr Tambourine Man
Ballad of a Thin Man
Forever Young
Tangled Up in Blue
Idiot Wind
Shelter from the Storm
Hurricane
New Morning
Changing of the Guards
Political World
Man in the Long Black Coat
Time out of Mind
Love and Theft
Modern Times
Together Through Life

Your turn.

Tough to follow -- helluva list.
But I'm gonna say...
If I Ran The Zoo

OK. Your turn.

This is for you, Leaver:
Gurk is in the tall spruce
Mixing up some splerk-juice
I'm in a short fort
Thinking about the Queen's court
The tough in the steam plough
No dough, laid off
Says he's got a bad cough
Got it from the horse trough
Look out, Gurk
It's a bug-eyed slurk
Who knows why
But it wants your Fluzzle-Pie
You better hide it in the Triffle Tree
Right where all the branches bend
The man in the Ploom-skin cap in the pig pen
Pays eleven bucks a slice, the slurk only pays ten.

Maggie ran real quick
(Far outpacing Nick and Rick)
Sayin' that the hicks stick
Tricks where the dogs lick
Maggie says that she's heard
Something which is quite absurd
The slurred words from Major Snurd
The leader of the nerd herd
Look out, Gurk
They'll call you a jerk...

At this point, I realized that this was a mostly pointless exercise, as the differences between my Seussian version and the original are subtle, at best, and when you get right down to it, you don't need a Hooplapoot to know which way the snurfle blows, am I right?
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Kyle Motor » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:45 am

Stu Levitan wrote: ... the greatest and most important writer in the English language since Shakespeare ...

God damned baby boomers have no class.
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:11 pm

Stu Levitan wrote:Not sure the distinction between being a lyricist and being a writer.

Here's the thing, Stu: "writer" is a bit of a behemoth, categorically speaking.

Here's a potential nominee: Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, a document massively important to our country's founding and not so inconsequential to Shakespeare's countrymen either when you consider how many of them bit it trying to render the thing irrelevant.

Sure, he was no song smith, but that one work alone trumps Dylan's entire catalog for historical and cultural impact. Consider that, without it, Dylan probably would have grown up writing his lyrics in Russian under oppressive rule. Would that have made him more radical? Maybe. Probably also would have landed his ass in Siberia.
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Re: Dylan, Obama, Gore on Books & Beats

Postby O.J. » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:31 pm

Uncle_Leaver wrote: Probably also would have landed his ass in Siberia.


Where he would have penned a song called Don't Think Twice about The Chimes of Freedom.
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