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

Bike-sharing is in Philadelphia's future

The B-Cycle bike that Philadelphia will use is already part of bike-sharing services across the nation and in Santiago, Chile.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

Going Out

Spend an evening in Franklin Square

Support historic Franklin Square on May 15 during the sixth annual Evening in Franklin Square soiree. The evening includes dinner, dancing, a silent auction and…

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.