President Obama’s State of the Union address could be called ‘No Direction Home.’ I was reminded of Martin Scorsese’s 2005 documentary “No Direction Home” which was about Bob Dylan’s rise to fame & fortune in the 1960s. The title comes from a throw-away line from Dylan’s song “Like a Rolling Stone.”
The documentary was unintentionally sad since Bob Dylan has been adrift and aimless since the Sixties. He’s been all over the place. He started out as a folksinger in the radical folk milieu which emerged from the Communist Party periphery, i.e. Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, et al. That gave him a purpose however dubious it might be. Then he wanted to be a rocker. Then he did an album as a Jesus freak. Another as a super Jew. And so it goes. Most were impossible to listen to. But he made a good living with small concerts, coasting for 40 years on his Sixties celebrity status. He might be awful but he was cool and hip. Go figure.
Dylan songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind”, made into a big hit by Peter, Paul & Mary, made him the troubadour of the Civil Rights movement. But that movement is a failure. A freak poll conducted about 10 years ago surprisingly showed a plurality, if not a majority, to the LEFT of the Democrats on bread n’ butter issues but to the RIGHT of the Republicans on civil rights issues. So much for the romance of the Sixties.
Back to Obama: Left journalist Alexander Cockburn said that Obama’s whole presidential campaign, with its empty sloganeering, made no sense except for him being black. He stood for nothing but hope. The subliminal message was we were to vote for him on faith so we could feel good about ourselves.
The snow job worked. But now we have Dubya in black face. He continued the Bush bailout of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street. He expanded the Bush wars. And the USA decline has speeded up.
Little wonder he couldn’t offer anything concrete in his SOTU address.
In the meantime, the putative Leader of the Opposition, Sarah Palin, has been hiding out in her Alaska bunker since the shootings in Arizona.
No Direction Home!