Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Latest reading on the Dylan meter for our online, latter day Dylan

Lot of e-mails on our latter day Dylan.

Today he takes a swipe at The New York Review Books. (The latest wasn't up when I did the previous entry.) The comment strikes me as one of the most uninformed of the week. It might be the most uninformed were it not for the fact that an "intelligent designer" was quoted in the Times this week speaking of philosophical "facts." (Some might argue "truths" but leave it to an to argue "facts.")

Today, our latter day Dylan tried to jam with Eric Alterman which is a bit like Dylan announcing that he's teaming up with the ugly one from Backstreet Boys for a concert. It went over about as well. Eric Alterman.

It's strange, as Wally's mother pointed out in her e-mail, that Naomi Wolf is so often defended by the latter day Dylan but he's never taken Alterman to task for repeating myths ("lies") about Wolf. Did the latter day Dylan read the book? (For the record, he did. He's just elected to give Alterman a pass.)

From page 161 (women really don't get much play) in What Liberal Media? (not recommended, it's a badly written book):

Reporters did not like Gore satorially, either. They mocked him, fairly, I suppose for taking advice from the high-priced feminist writer/consultant Naomi Wolf about his earth-tone wardrobe.

That's it for Wolf. (Alterman also manages to use the word "nutty" to describe a column by Katha Pollitt. He's out to slime women, it's the counter melody, which may be what he and our latter day Dylan bonded over.) (Avoid the book. It's badly written, it's unattractive and it's one pile up after another as Alterman appears to work through his grievances against certain women on the left who actually made a name for themselves. Susan Sontag gets the full Alterman. Gloria Steinem? Alterman lists Ann Coulter's dopey allegations against Steinem and never bothers to deal with the facts. After reading What Liberal Media? you may feel the need for a book about the bias of "brave" male voices of "the left.")

But considering that just the day prior our latter day Dylan was slamming Arianna Huffington for making fun of Al Gore's clothes it's surprising that today he scrapes the bottom of the barrell to come up with Alterman whom he never calls on the "They mocked him, fairly." But then our Dylan of the computer age has never taken Alterman to ask.

Alterman's comments (excerpted above), noted only once by Dylan (February 25, 2003) -- thanks to Dallas for locating that for me, I knew it was noted but I also knew it was done with kid gloves -- are termed, by Dylan, "surprising." He goes on to offer an excuse of 'the press got it wrong so it's not Alterman's fault.' And to recommend the book. That's a far cry from the blood letting he gave Arianna Huffington the day prior.

A "high priced" consultant. Well Wolf's payment wasn't out of line with what others in similar positions on campaigns were making. That's a point latter day Dylan's made. He's just never taken Alterman to task for repeating a lie in a book that's pushed as the Bible for the left. (It's not.)

Yesterday, our latter day Dylan offered his own (bad) version of "Queen Jane Approximately" dedicated to Huffington, picking her apart for, among other things, her comments on Gore's wardrobe. Today he offers Alterman as the hero of our times. (I, for one, don't feel our times have gotten that bleak.)

I avoid Alterman. I belive we've mentioned him once and only once. When Gerald Boyd made a dumb comment (my opinion) that shut down discussion on a topic that Alterman wanted to address. I defended Alterman on that (probably the only time that will ever happen) but Alterman's not someone we focus on.

He's caught in the crossfire today only because he's cited, ney praised!, by our latter day Dylan who just yesterday ripped Arianna apart for her comments re: Gore. Now I haven't read all of Arianna's books so maybe I'm missing where she included her thoughts on Al Gore's wardrobe in one. But Alterman has. And his badly written book will live on much longer than anyone's column. (Partly because it was pimped so hard by people who, my opinion, desperately wanted to hear someone, anyone, fight back.)

Our latter day Dylan has read the book. He's just never felt the need to savage Alterman for the same type of remarks he'll savage a woman for. (Any woman. Yesterday it was Arianna.) On Alterman he remains silent.

That's why the way our latter day Dylan treats women is an issue. People are noticing that a woman is ripped apart, humiliated, stomped on, by the crooner while a man can always be "redeemed."

Teaming up with Alterman today, it just hit me, brings our latter day Dylan to the Hearts on Fire phase. (That's today's reading on the Dylan meter.) If you missed the soundtrack or the film, consider yourself lucky. It's one of the more embarrasing moments in the Dylan cannon where Dylan tries to team up with Fiona. (No, not Apple. This is the Fiona everyone's forgotten. Though few knew of her at the time.) (I can remember one friend, and only one friend, being high on her as this film was about to be released. We'd try to not chuckle as he went on and on about how she was going to be bigger than Madonna.)

So what's the deal with our latter day Dylan?

Yesterday, Arianna's ripped apart. Alterman plays the wardrobe card as well (and repeats the lie that Wolf was overpaid) and, suddenly, there's no time for an encore and our Dylan's hurrying off the stage.

Are there different standards for women than there are for men at our latter day Dylan's venue?

It's appeared that way for some time.

Latter day Dylan has never provided the full context for Jane Mayer's comment that some of the criticism of election 2000 coverage may have been sexist, but possibly this is the sort of thing Mayer meant? If so, she was right.

People keep asking, "Will you drop the site?" (from the permalinks). Supposedly, Dylan's about to make a big change. (Go acoustic?) The intent has been to wait for that to occur and then make a decision based on the much talked about, much promised, change in direction. I don't know if we'll be able to wait that long.

It's not about disagreeing (though, let's be honest, that plays into it). He's gone off on one of his off key tangents before and I've been fine with saying, "That's his opinion and he's a voice worth listening to." It wasn't until Ruth and Tracey went through his archives and noticed the treatment of women, that I even considered it. I could kick myself for missing that. One thing I'll always regret. (One of many. But I'm often wrong. And I was wrong, or ignorant, not to pick up on that.)

Once it was noted (Ruth elected not to run that Ruth's Morning Edition Report -- she wrote it when he savaged Diane Rhem in that particularly vicious manner that's reserved only for women), it was pretty obvious. He's only amped the wattage. It's gotten real old watching him attack this woman or that woman while giving men a pass for similar remarks.

Today, one day after savaging Arianna Huffington for (among other things) her remarks about Gore's wardrobe, he showers Alterman with praise. With the men, it's always kid gloves. With the women, it's always attack, attack, attack. They're liars, they're much worse than that. And he tears them apart. But in a two day span, we have an example of how a woman making one remark and a man making a similar one are treated. The woman's crucified for past remarks. The man's praised for something else (and a blind eye is turned to similar remarks). It's an interesting process. The sort of process, in fact, that he would rant about in others if certain individuals were given a pass while others were held accountable. Isn't that the whole point of his nonstop rants about our "great liberal" voices?

Yes, indeed, that is the point. But he, like them, gives passes to certain people.

Before he nexts grabs the guitar and heads out on stage, he might want to check his zipper -- his bias is hanging out.

(Or course, it should be noted, he also hides behind Alterman to justify his uninformed remarks yesterday that the Times suddenly changed in 1992. Though it might be too much to expect that he'd know the history of the paper, he does know the work of Robert Parry so for him to claim that 1992 was the year of the big change is rather absurd -- so absurd that it's the sort of clowning he accuses others of.)

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(Typos corrected by Shirley per C.I. and one phrase added to a subclause per C.I.)