FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Did Bob Dylan “Sell Out” or Help Out?

by DAVID MACARAY

Full disclosure: I didn’t see Dylan’s Super Bowl commercial telecast in real time because, even though I watched most of the game, I almost always mute commercials or switch over to C-SPAN or PBS to avoid them. The last television ad I may have actually watched was a commercial for Jordache jeans, and that was because we didn’t have remote control, and I was too lazy to get up and change channels.

Besides, even before the game started, I was in no mood to be inundated by naked commerce, having lapsed into a mild funk at the spectacle of jet planes flying over the stadium following the “Star Spangled Banner.” It was tiresome enough watching the national anthem being sung, as if sporting events and patriotism naturally went hand in hand, but why in God’s name would they have an aggressive display of military might before a football game? Christ, I thought they were going to strafe the fucking place.

In any event, after seeing a replay, and reading accounts of it, I was disappointed that so many people saw their troubadour hero as having “sold out” because he accepted money from a sponsor. Maybe I’m biased, but what I saw Dylan doing was promoting American cars, and helping out the distressed city of Detroit, once the greatest industrial center in the history of the world. Moreover, I would wager a pair of Jordache jeans that Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger would have done the exact same thing if given the opportunity.

Years ago I publicly pleaded with the AFL-CIO to spend less money on traditional, time-consuming organizing campaigns, and begin spending it on TV commercials. Not that I had any sway with the House of Labor. They never heard of me. Still, I urged them to hire a popular celebrity to go on TV and pitch the virtues of labor unions, the working man’s best friend and the institution that more or less “invented” the middle-class. A name I suggested was the rap artist Eminem.

With America’s union workers growing older by the minute, organized labor desperately needs an influx of young blood, and who better to appeal to a younger crowd than Eminem? Not only is he wildly popular, he’s practically a native son, having spent his teenage years in a working-class Detroit neighborhood. Who better than Eminem to go on TV and plug the UAW, once the gold standard of American unions? Pay him $10 million. Instead of blowing it on organizing drives, give it to someone who can help.

I even went so far as to contact a Chicago DJ I knew and asked if he could get me Eminem’s e-mail address. He said Eminem’s e-mail was tougher to get than the nuclear launch codes, but that he could put me in touch with a man who was “close to Eminem,” who could definitely pass along a message. I first had to swear I wouldn’t “abuse” this information. I sent the man’s e-mail to a ranking AFL-CIO officer, along with a detailed cover letter explaining the plan. And that was it. Never heard a word from anyone.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor,” 2nd edition), was a former union rep.  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail