What songs would have been appropriate for Bob Dylan to sing in China?

Bob Dylan performs for a decadent Western audience in 2009

Maureen Dowd threw a [gender-neutral term for a hissyfit] Sunday in the New York Times, arguing that Bob Dylan bowed to the wishes of tyrants when he neglected to play protest hits like like "Blowin’ in the Wind" and "The Times, They Are a-Changin’ " during recent concerts in China:

"The idea that the raspy troubadour of ’60s freedom anthems would go to a dictatorship and not sing those anthems is a whole new kind of sellout … Before Dylan was allowed to have his first concert in China on Wednesday at the Worker’s Gymnasium in Beijing, he ignored his own warning in ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ — ‘Better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose’ — and let the government pre-approve his set."

There’s some trenchant analysis to be made here about Western musicians performing in a country that has been cracking down on writers and artists in recent weeks, most notably Ai Weiwei, the architect of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium, who was arrested last week for vague reasons. But Dowd seems to miss this general point — should Bob Dylan be playing in China? — in favor of a more specious specific one — should Bob Dylan have played two songs Maureen Dowd likes while in China?

Over at The Atlantic, James Fallows unpacks the situation. Dylan may not have played "Blowin’ in the Wind" or "The Times They are a-Changin’," but he did open his show with his Jesus-period "Gonna Change My Way of Thinking," a small rebuke in itself to the rigidly atheistic Chinese regime. While he was at it, Dylan also played the vitriolic "Ballad of a Thin Man" and the decidedly political "A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall." Something was happening there, but Maureen Dowd doesn’t know what it is.

Or, as Dylan would have put it in in "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again":

Now the redhead writes a column
Filled with expensive violins

Talkin’ ’bout the architect
And all his Chinese plans

The headlines tried to say to me
Hey, sing the same old songs

If only the dissident next-door had told me
That I was doin’ everything so wrong!

Oh! Mama! etc.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.