Bobby D and the UN

bob dylan Bobby D and the UNBob Dylan has star billing at the climate change summit in Copenhagen… or at least, his music does. The United Nations has adopted one of his songs, A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall, as its unofficial anthem for the talks. This is a song best known for channelling the fears of a generation living under the threat of nuclear war. Dylan performed it for the first time in 1962 at the height of the Cold War, shortly before a plan by Moscow to station atomic missiles in Cuba set off a crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union. That is testimony to the enduring and universal power of its lyrics, says David Fricke, a senior editor at the Rolling Stone music magazine in New York. “Let me just quote some lines and see if any sound familiar,” he says. “‘I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests; I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans; I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world.’


This is really dumb you wanna know why?


As Dylan suggests ‘A Hard Rain’s a gonna Fall’ isn’t actually about nuclear fallout specifically considering that it was written before the Cuban missle crisis.

No, it’s not atomic rain, it’s just a hard rain. It isn’t the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that’s just gotta happen… In the last verse, when I say, ‘the pellets of poison are flooding the waters’, that means all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers

Beyond the ambiguous nature of many of Dylan’s ‘protest songs’ its safe to assume that ‘A Hard Rains A-gonna fall’ is not about global warming or climate change. Instead its much more in line with the stream of consciousness social and political observations that Dylan seemed injected into. So the notion that we should take this song out of context and adapt it to our generational challenge is stupid. Why not use ‘Gimme shelter’ by the rolling Stones as the unofficial song of the Copenhagen summit, it has some lines that we can take out of context to suggest the ramifications of climate change. Changing the meaning of something when it is suitable to your cause is cheap opportunism and it shades the serious discourse, we should be having, with a tinge of ‘movement aesthetic’ which is not what Copenhagen is about. Copenhagen has its own protesters who are angling for stricter limits on Co2 emissions, so leave the protest songs to them, drop the ‘unofficial’ song and de-charade the actual conference. Climate change is our generations challenge and taking Bobby D’s work and injecting it with a new meaning totally discredits what the song was actually about. Bob Dylan was and still is a great songwriter because he tackled issues of his day, segregation, nuclear war, Vietnam, middle class apathy etc. By changing the meaning of something the UN shows the fragility of its mandate. Copenhagen is a serious diplomatic undertaking for every nation and selecting a song to be an unofficial anthem takes away from the true challenges of what we face. I think it would be preposterous for the security council to have an unofficial song, no one would repute that. Why? Because the UN security council deals with issues surrounding this worlds livelihood, why should we treat Copenhagen any differently?

6 gmo protesters setting off.preview Bobby D and the UN

Songtestin - the act of protesting through the magic of song

This isn’t a protest, a concert series, or a ‘flash in the pan’ movement. This is an international summit that will require the grace and humility of all nations to sketch out a worldwide plan on climate change. We owe it to ourselves to be a little bit more serious about the ramifications of failure in Copenhagen and rid this summit of the petty, symbolic jargon that seems to infuse protest movements. The UN should leave the DJ’ing to green peace and, and focus on coming to a consensus and point of action in regards to climate change.

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9 Responses to “Bobby D and the UN”

  1. Ryan says:

    Well said. Treating social commentary (which is essentially what Dylan’s lyrics are) as sound bytes that can be cut out and pasted in any context is stupid and gimmicky. Not to mention it demoralizes the summit’s ideologies by positioning it as some sort of Woodstock revival.

  2. akorozco says:

    You’re surprised? Climate activists will use totally unsupportable data to back their global warming agenda, do you really think they’d bat an eye at misappropriating a song?

    • skyler hype says:

      climate skeptics have been found out using skewed and falsified information? The climatgate scandal was the first instance where climate scientists were found skewing numbers. When they released their findings they were peer-reviewed and the falsehood was pointed out. Also this was exclusive to 2 or 3 people working on the projections. Climategate was a couple of scientists doing things in a very unscientific way, climate activism is something entirely different.

  3. [...] small.  We learned that the most important conference of the year still could not overcome the childish nuances of a nubile movement. That Greenpeace will never give up demonizing nuclear power come hell or highwater (watch out for [...]

  4. Greetings

    It is my first time here. I just wanted to say hi!

  5. Ava LEE says:

    Truly interesting blog u got here. It’d be just great to read a bit more about that topic. Thanx for giving this data.

  6. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  7. Very good article, well written and very thought out.

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