Bob Dylan’s Mormon Influences

Bob Dylan has a lot in common with Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet. Don’t take my word on that: Listen to the man himself. He made the comparison in a 2012 interview with Mikal Gilmore that was published by Rolling Stone, one I discussed last week. Continue Reading »

Bob Dylan Must Get Stoned

Journalists have always been puzzled by Bob Dylan, but the confusion is of their own making. The pattern of treating him as a trickster whose words cannot be taken at face value was established in the sixties, when the rock intelligentsia wanted Dylan to be a political as well as musical revolutionary. He was neither, of course. His radicalness came from a deeply conservative understanding of musical history: He was reading Civil War era newspapers while everyone else was reading Norman O. Brown and listening to Gospel and Blues when music was becoming “pop” in the fifties. Continue Reading »

Megan Must Go

Season Seven, Episode Three: A very eventful episode of Mad Men. Two story arcs move us forward, though one (strangely compelling one) does not. Are Don and Megan Draper finally over? In the major arc before the first commercial break, Don speaks long-distance to Megan’s agent and learns that . . . . Continue Reading »

Invisibly Naked

Will you uncover your hair?” they ask when they hear I’m divorcing. I am taken aback each time; it’s such a private matter. The morning after my wedding, I tied on a scarf and walked to synagogue. My mother didn’t do it, nor did hers, but my father’s mother, who lived . . . . Continue Reading »

Mad Men Goes Meta

Readers of a certain age may remember a television commercial about a boy, a bottle of ketchup, and a hamburger: In alternating close-ups, viewers witnessed the condiment’s slow descent and the boy’s ever-heightening expectancy, all while Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” blared seductively in the background. The ketchup poured; the burger was put to the bite: “Worth the wait,” we were told. Continue Reading »

For Love or Money

Episode Two of this season’s Mad Men could have been titled “For Love or Money.” On Valentine’s Day 1969, some of the folks at Sterling, Cooper & Partners are clearly doing their jobs just for the money. Others are doing their jobs for love of the job, or for love of someone on the job. Continue Reading »