I don’t know if Bob Dylan ever read Alasdair MacIntyre’s discussion of “goods internal to practices” in After Virtue. But there’s no doubt that he gets it. Here’s Dylan in a nice interview with Bill Flanagan:
Flanagan: If a young man considering a career in the arts wanted to meet a lot of women, would he be better off learning to paint or to play guitar?
Dylan: Probably neither. If he had women on his mind, he might think about becoming a lawyer or a doctor.
Dylan: Yeah, seriously. Maybe a private detective, but that would be the wrong motivation for any career.
Bob, it seems, is also not all that patient with politically-correct historical revisionism either:
Flanagan: In [your new song] IF YOU EVER GO TO HOUSTON the character sends messages to three sisters in Dallas; two get off with a friendly greeting but then the other is warned to “Pray the Sinner’s Prayer.” What’s the Sinner’s Prayer?
Dylan: That’s the one that begins with “Father forgive me for I have sinned.”
Flanagan: The guy in IF YOU EVER GO TO HOUSTON mentions he was in Houston during the Mexican War. A lot of people think the Anglos treated the Spanish badly in Texas, but miss the fact that the Spanish had claimed Texas for Mexico without ever populating it. They just drew a big line on the map and said, “All this is ours.” The people who actually lived there were either Anglo settlers or Indians, and none of them wanted anything to do with Spain or its Mexican colony. Do you think Sam Houston has gotten a bum rap?
Dylan: I don’t know. I never heard that he had gotten a bum rap. Are we talking about Sam Houston the statesman, soldier and politician? Sam Houston was the governor of two states, both Texas and Tennessee. Who else has ever done that! What was he supposed to have gotten a bum rap for?
Flanagan: Well, he chopped off Texas from Mexico.
Dylan: No he didn’t. He chopped it off from Spain. Just like somebody else chopped off Florida from Spain. Where does the bum rap come in?
You tell ‘em, Bob. Don’t mess with Texas!
If (for some possible reason that would escape me entirely) you are unaware, Dylan’s most recent album Together Through Life has just been released and is available online or at a record store near you.