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Cass R. Sunstein, On Bob Dylan (Dec. 13, 2022).

Abstract: Bob Dylan celebrates “songs about roses growing out of people’s brains and lovers who are really geese and swans that turn into angels.” He thinks that “museums are vulgar,” because “they’re all against sex.” He proclaims,“Folk music is a bunch of fat people.” He notes, “Just because someone mentions the word ‘bomb,’ I’m not going to go ‘Aalee!’ and start clapping.” These remarks about lovers who are really geese, museums, folk music, and protest songs capture Dylan’s distaste for whatever is rote or routine, and help explain his refusal to identify with the social movements of the 1960s. The remarks also tell us something about the central themes of “Desolation Row” and “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” and also about why “Like A Rolling Stone” is not a finger-pointing song but a celebration of movement and rootlessness. Dylan’s work is dishabituating, and he cherishes the dishabituating power of music and art in general.