Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
It’s your last chance to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch in 2017. Help us gear up to fight the status-quo in 2018! Every dollar counts!
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

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

December 12, 2017
Tom H. Hastings
Leave it on The Table Again?
Cesar Chelala
Living in New York. Missing Home
December 11, 2017
Oscar Oliver-Didier 
The Invisibility of Poverty in Puerto Rico
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Risks Uniting the Entire Arab World Against the US
Uri Avnery
From Barak to Trump
Robert Hunziker
Dying Ecosystems
Paul Tritschler
The Year Without Summer
Ramzy Baroud
What Trump Has Done: The Entire US-Middle East Political Framework Just Collapsed
Francis Thicke
What Does “Organic” Mean?
Franklin Lamb
Foreign Proxies Prematurely Boast “Mission Accomplished” in Syria
Mike Whitney
Petty, Backstabbing Washington Sinks Russia’s Olympic Dreams
Mel Gurtov
The Calculated Destruction of America’s Government
David Underhill
Roy Moore Runs to Seat Protestant Pope in Senate
Sheldon Richman
The FBI is Not Your Friend
Weekend Edition
December 08, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
We the Sheeple: the Blind Reading the Blind
Ted Nace
State of Fear: How History’s Deadliest Bombing Campaign Created Today’s Crisis in Korea
Paul Street
The Burning Earth Bears Witness in California
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Operation Paperclip: Nazi Science Heads West
John W. Whitehead
John Lennon’s Most Radical Message
Patrick Cockburn
Jerusalem Explained
Gary Leupp
Jared, Jerusalem, and Possible Jail Time
Oren Ben-Dor
Jerusalem, Partition, Justice and Peace 
CJ Hopkins
The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken
Felicia Kornbluh
Why Not a Women’s Party? 
Andrew Levine
As the “Me Too” Movement Develops, the Duopoly Divides, and Vestiges of Incoherence Remain
Pepe Escobar
The New Great Game Moves from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific
Howard Lisnoff
The Rearguard Battles We Have Fought and Continue to Fight
Ishmael Reed
What Did Corporate Media Feminists Know and When Did They Know It?
Charles R. Larson
Endpaper: The Decline of Reading for Pleasure
Brian Cloughley
Bombing to Victory?
Nick Pemberton
Reason, Nuclear Weapons, and Donald Trump
Robert Fantina
Trump, Netanyahu and Israel’s Capital
Morgan Strong
Armageddon: Pence, Israel and the Evangelicals
Lee Hall
The Professor and the Poverty Tour
Julian Vigo
Opioid and Heroin Addiction in the US: the Perfect Storm of Greed and Medical Malpractice
Jill Richardson
Our Social Structure is Rigged
John Chuckman
What Trump is Doing in Jerusalem and Why He is Doing It
 Ann Garrison – Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko
Trafficking Desperate Black Africans from Israel to Rwanda to Libya
Sarah Anderson
The GOP Tax Plan is Igniting a Movement for a Moral Economy
Philip Doe
Colorado Politics Redux: The Great Treachery to be Found in Little Things
José Madero
Beware the Green Corporate Scam: the 100% Renewable Façade
Patrick Bobilin
Don’t Cry For Franken; Cry For This Broken System
Phil Rockstroh
Capitalism’s Failure of the Flesh: the Rise of the Robots
George Wuerthner
Time to Create a Cascade Siskiyou National Park
Jonas Ecke
A Leftist Case for Foreign Aid
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail