Bob Dylan, Chrysler, and me in my lonely world

My wife is 13 years younger than I am, and we hang with her friends, mostly, when we hang with friends at all. It’s all good–most times I feel like a combination of ancient history encyclopedia and anthropologist. But I’m not gonna talk about all that here. I wanna talk about Bob Dylan.

See, I was watching the Superb Owl at (her) friend’ house last night when Mr. Dylan came on and asked us the profound question of the ages: “What’s more American than America?” Before he could go on to tell us of the exemplary virtues of Chrysler, someone belted out, “Who is THIS clown?”

In my head, all at the same time, I heard Arlo Guthrie singing, “I’m changing my name to Chrysler;” I heard Bob singing, “Advertising signs that con you Into thinking you’re the one;” and then I heard him remind me the times they are a changing, and then I remembered Bob insisting that “everybody must be saved.”

When I put my brain back together all I could say in the way of an all-encompassing and definitive answer was, “Well, that’s Bob Dylan.”

So I come to you folks and ask, did I get that right? Because it seems to me that, despite his position as a counterculture icon, Dylan has always been for sale. Am I being unfair?

If you read Dylan’s interviews (which have been collected) you’ll see that he never wanted to be a counterculture icon. In fact he always zigged where others thought he should zag. Going electric, getting into country music, singing old standards on Self Portrait, getting into religion. So, he’s probably laughing at those who were upset. But I think he’s done other ads before this.

Anyone notice that “I Want You” was playing under the bear and yogurt ad?

Still, it does remind me somewhat of the bit on National Lampoon Radio Hour where an older Dylan (but not as old as he is now) was hawking “Golden Protest” for K-Tel. I keep expecting to see that ad in the flesh some day.

I thought he was younger than that now? :wink:

So basically: Bob has always been Bob (no mean feat in the music industry), and anyone who imagined him as anything else need only look to the mirror for disillusionment? I suppose that’s consistent.

Poor guy will never live down the “counterculture icon” label, although he made it clear a long time ago that he never wanted or asked for it.

I’m a huge fan of his music, but as a human being the guy is a complete mystery to me. I think it was Joan Baez who said, “I don’t know what he thought about. I only know what he gave us.”

I thought Dylan pushing the angle of a car being American-made was perfectly consistent with a song he wrote 30 years ago.

I’ll confess it took me about halfway thru that spot before I recognized him thru all the editing.

As a side note, IMHO, Chrysler with their slogan “Imported from America” indicates they have totally given up on the idea of convicing people that we can make cars stateside. I guess if we can’t beat 'em, may as well join 'em.

Here’s Bob Dylan in Victoria’s Secret commercial.

Even if he was being consistent with his past, I felt disappointed in him.

I can see Chrysler backing up a dump truck of $100 bills onto his front lawn and saying want to do a commercial for us?

Time for mah bootheels to be wanderin’. :smiley:


Now, actually I could totally see '60s Dylan behind the wheel of a Fiat 124 Sport Spyder, but I guess that’s not what Chrysler was, uh, driving for.

Fore me the Dylan advert was one of the the two biggest “WTF?” moments of this years’ Super Bowl, along with the Johnny Galecki Hyundai ad. I have no idea what was being communicated by the latter, but it seemed to be something like, “This is the vehicle to choose if you want to cause even women who are driving the exact same car to instantly brand you as a loser”.

If Dylan didn’t sell out at Newport in 1965 (he didn’t) then he didn’t sell out last night.

But whoever put the words “What’s more American than America?” into the mouth of Bob Dylan should be superglued to a football and punted the length of the field.

I think it was dubbed…I have never been able to understand 10% of what Dylan sings or says, but I could understand every word in the commercial.
Something’s fishy.

If he wants to reject the counter-culture icon status, as if he has to these days, he can do it without selling out.

Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts.

Dylan has spent a good part of his career making people go “WTF”, it’s one of the reasons I love him. I would guess that being paid a shitload of money to make people do that is the reason for this, and that’s he’s utterly unconcerned with whether people think he’s selling out. And quite possibly utterly unconcerned with the subject of the advert.

It’s impossible to know though, as SaharaTea said, Dylan the man is unknowable, at least to the public.

I thought, “that can’t really be him talking!”

I wouldn’t call it a sellout. I consider Dylan to be heir to Woody Guthrie, champion of the common man. To those people that Guthrie traveled with, a factory job in Detroit would be the ultimate dream. So if Dylan can do an ad to promote the car industry and that helps hundreds or even thousands of people either reach or hold onto that dream and put food on the table, what’s not to like?


The US manufactured over 10,000,000 vehicles within its borders in 2012, more than Japan or Germany.

Here is a relatively recent list of all cars manufactured in the US.

Dude needed some cash. I have no problem with him reaping.