Thursday, December 31, 2009
It would be interesting to teach a class like this, if only to see what undergrads make of Bob Dylan. Among the things I learned from teaching "Lawyers in Movies" this year was that there is a surprising extent to which my students did not connect with the material because we did not share a number of cultural references, or because a some cultural references seemed to them to be so commonplace that they did not bear mentioning. Getting past that was a challenge I hadn't anticipated. I don't think of Dylan as principally a political artist, for example, but there is no getting around the number of references to politics and political figures in his work. "Talking John Birch Society Blues" isn't on Professor Gass' required listening list, and maybe that's because a 20 year old student in 2010 couldn't possibly get his mind around what the John Birch Society was. "No, no. Not like Ronald Reagan-- the Birchers said they were anti-totalitarian, particularly anti-socialist and anti-communist, and wanted to limit government. They said they were defending the original intention of the U.S. Constitution, based on its perception of Judeo-Christian principles. Oh, forget it."