What action exactly warrants the term “sellout” to be used in reference to an individual? Its an interesting topic of discussion, which most usually is used when it comes to the world of popular music. According to Merriam-Webster the term “sell-out” when used as a verb has a couple of different meanings, the most common one of course being, “to betray one’s cause or associates especially for personal gain.”
J. Kelly Nestruck, a music sub editor at the Guardian Unlimited, recently wrote a piece in reference to Bob Dylan — in which he poses the question — is folk icon, “biggest sellout the world has ever seen”?
The reason for this editorial piece? Apparently Mr. Dylan has recently starred in a pair of commercials for Cadillac, particularly for the Cadillac Escalade.
How many roads must a man drive down before you can call him The Man? The answer my friends, is one road, if that road is driven down in a gas-guzzling Cadillac Escalade.
Bob Dylan the “countercultural icon” – note the extremely sarcastic quotation marks – has sold out so many times that you’d think nothing would be shocking anymore. He’s gone electric, he’s gone Christian, he released a live album exclusively at Starbucks. He’s even written a song for a movie starring Katie Holmes.
But none of that bothers me. It’s the year 2007. Who cares? He’s a maverick! He’s Dylan!
His latest act of judas-ery, however, is too much for even a cynical, consumerist nihilist like me. Why on earth would someone who possesses the intelligence of Dylan shill for the Cadillac Escalade? Has he not heard that the climes, they are a-changing? Read More…
So apparently plugging in his guitar to an amplifier, releasing a live album for sale at a coffee house, writing a song for a Katie Holmes movie and even embracing Christianity were all acts of a “sell-out” but forgivable. Now however, at least according to Mr. Nestruck, Bob Dylan has gone too far. His latest slap in the face to those who idolized him cannot be forgiven, for he has committed a blasphemous act in the Church of Global Warming.
Mr. Nestruck has drawn the line at that act, I’m sure it was painful to forgive Dylan when he found faith in Jesus Christ, but this blasphemous act towards Al Gore and his Church of Global Warming cannot be tolerated.
Enjoy Dylan’s music. Enjoy his radio show. But don’t look to the man for any sort of spiritual or moral guidance. With these ads, he has lost any integrity he had left. It makes me wonder, when he sang ” I’m drivin’ in the flats in a Cadillac car” on 2001’s Summer Days, was it just product placement?
I’ve read and then re-read the piece, because at first I honestly thought it was just a witty attempt at sarcasm, but after reading the piece a third time as well as the comments to it, to which the author replied. It became obvious to me that this guy was serious, after finding his personal blog where he called Bob Dylan the new Joseph Goebbles — because apparently appearing in an ad for a “gas-guzzling” vehicle is tantamount to spreading Nazi propaganda.
Bob Dylan is doing ads for the new Cadillac Escalade. In the past, the Escalade has been named the SUV that is the worst in terms of fuel economy. That’s like being named the most antisemitic Nazi. So, the Escalade is like Hitler. Ergo, Dylan is the new Goebbels.
This type of moral equivalence not only makes me sick to my stomach, but also makes me sad when I think that this type of twisted logic is even possible.