Haven’t done one of these in a while. One has to take a break sometimes…but, as the world insists on turning round and the sun insists on shining, so, too, do the crit-illuminati continue in their ceaseless quest to rearrange reality…Ergo:
Elvis might never have been born, but someone else would surely have brought the world rock ‘n’ roll.
No such logic accounts for Bob Dylan. No iron law of history demanded that a would-be Elvis from Hibbing, Minnesota, would swerve through the Greenwich Village folk revival to become the world’s first and greatest rock ‘n’ roll beatnik bard and then—having achieved fame and adoration beyond reckoning—vanish into a folk tradition of his own making.
(J. Hoberman, “Like a Complete Unknown: I’m Not There and the Changing Face of Bob Dylan on Film” Village Voice, November 13, 2007)
Now that, “never been born” bit is maybe a touch too illuminating. It trades the subtler forms of thought control for wish fulfillment.
But as the world’s foremost interpreter of crit-illuminati speak, let me translate the whole thing for you.
Elvis is not one of us. (If we can’t make him go away, we can at least make that point perfectly clear!)
Bob Dylan…he is one of us!
See how simple that is?
One thing I’ve never been clear on is whether there is some sort of entrance exam required for either entry to crit-illuminati circles or promotion therein.
If there is one, I’m pretty sure extra credit must be given for being able to say stupid stuff about Elvis and Bob Dylan at the same time.