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.

10 thoughts on “STUPID STUFF PEOPLE SAY ABOUT ELVIS (Quote the Nineteenth)

  1. NDJ

    Do any of these idjits—who live to give bad publishing companies product to sell—ever look at history? Had Elvis F*cking Presley NOT happened, has anyone suggested this: that rock & roll would have been a fad that simmered in the black R&B scene for few years, caught a small fire with Bill Haley, peaked with “Rock Around The Clock,” and then went away?

    Because nobody who came before Elvis did do it, and nobody who came after him could have done it without him.

    Then Mitch Miller and the other record company heads could have gone back to producing whitebread music for AM radio and there never would have been a Beatles and a British Invasion and Bob Dylan would have had his few years as the Prince of Folk and then became a country singer …


    PS: Why aren’t you an I giving bad publishers product to sell?

    • But…but…it’s “an iron law of history.” This guy even acknowledges that Dylan started out as an Elvis imitator. Doesn’t matter. it’s about making Elvis go away….And yes, I still await the name of that performer who would have been Elvis, if Elvis had done the decent thing and prevented himself from being born.

      P.S.: i keep trying, they keep rejecting me. I like to think it’s because, on some level, they know I don’t fit in.

  2. Especially if’n he’d sprung from Minnesota!

    Y’all get brownie points AND gold stars, cause while history may repeat itself, it’s impossible to change.

    I’dnit wonderful being a square peg?!? Thanks, NDJ and NU

  3. Have to confess, that I have never quite understood the ‘Mystique’ of one named Bob Dylan. However, it is plain as night gives way to the ‘SUN’… that I will always give a heartfelt TYVM! for Elvis’s ‘Mystique’!! As the boy from Tupelo, Mississippi once said, “I don’t sing like Nobody, Ma’am!! TCB Clementine

    • Whatever else Dylan was/is, he was an Elvis fan first and, of course, he famously said E’s “Tomorrow Is a Long Time” was his favorite cover of one of his songs. Give the man credit for good taste!

  4. For me, Dylan was a poet, when words still mattered.

    Clementine nailed it. Elvis’s ‘Mystique’ just is, and I am so grateful for it. Whatever IT is cannot be defined or measured. Fans get it, which explains recent bestselling albums in the UK and a satellite radio channel going strong 24/7/365 for 12 years. That voice and what he did with it. Yeah, Dylan understood it.

    A simple search for quotes about Elvis might enlighten the Un-illuminated. But, I doubt it.

    By the way, ‘Stupid Stuff’ brought me to this blog the first time, so, thanks!

    • All good points Peggy. I really need to get back to writing about Elvis more (still haven’t finished my essays on Elvis in the Fifties). I actually listened to him less this year than any year I can remember…I think with all the craziness I subconsciously wanted to keep him in a protected space in my mind…

      And, however you came here, I’m grateful. I’ve been exceptionally lucky in the quality of my regular commenters….Coming up on five years and not a single troll!

      Knock wood…

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