Friday, September 14, 2012

Bob Dylan on Proportion

I’ve commented frequently about the economic difficulties that arise from the limited human ability of proportion. We fail to strike a balance and make more bad decisions than good ones because we confuse small matters with large ones. Bob Dylan comments on the unfairness of this in a Rolling Stone interview. Responding to a question on recent (and spurious) allegations of plagiarism, he talks about the relative importance of his decision to play electric guitar instead of the acoustic guitar that he played for the first few years of his career.

These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified.

Dylan goes on to suggest that music should be judged according to the rules of music, and songwriting, according to the rules of songwriting. Looking at things in context is one way to see proportions more accurately.