Thursday, May 11, 2006

But, what does the "mailtrain" really signify?

I hate blogs that aren't updated, don't you? Unless things fall in my lap at the moment they don't get done, or they get half done or thought about or half thought about. But they don't get done.

This fell in my lap this week.

Students talking HSTY1076 American History from Lincoln to Clinton at Sydney University can answer this essay question. 1750 words. PFFFT! Kids these days have it so easy.

21. What does Bob Dylan’s album, Highway 61 Revisited, released in 1965, reveal about politics in the 1960s?

Sir, is the answer "absolutely nothing"?

Seriously, curious. The earlier acoustic albums, OK. Folk music as part of popular progressive movements addressing the issues of the day. OK. Highway 61 Revisited though?

Of course you might talk about the negative reaction from the folkniks to Bob's new direction, although that would be more relevant to Another Side Of ... and Bringing It All Back Home I would think, or the reaction to the live performances of H61 but that just takes us away from the album itself. I haven't read Greil Marcus' book on Like a Rolling Stone but I can see him airily spinning out the connections (but in, like, 17,500,000 words) but not perhaps a template I would recommend for a first year history essay.

So really, this is not a question I would even attempt to answer. Kids, do the one about FDR's letters and the Cold War or race relations in Chicago post World War I, at least then you know what they want you to say.

UPDATE: Thanks to Cletis for the link to this Bob article at The Nation. The gender stuff on page three is very interesting and I might have something to say about it another time. Until then, that's what the comments box is for!

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