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O My America: Saturday Afternoon, Thinking About . . .

Lawrence Bush
March 18, 2017

by Lawrence Bush

WE WEREN’T WRONG about the Beatles, us kids. I’ve been learning that old, old song of theirs, “All My Lovin,’ ” for the past couple of hours and MAN! John Lennon’s rhythm guitar part is so sharp -- and hard to play, almost impossible without a pick, and I’m a finger-player, so I’m trying to find a rhythm that’s not TOO much less interesting. Yikes, those boys were good -- and about 20 years old when they put that track down!

MEANWHILE, I’m also thinking about Bob Dylan, who is featured in tonight’s Jewdayo, and the time that his robots shut me down. ‘Twas just a few years ago, I made an iMovie about mass incarceration, and I wanted to use Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” as part of the soundtrack. I even recorded it separately off the record to try to get around the YouTube robots -- but sure enough, about two weeks later, my entire video was silenced. Bob’s bots had stepped in and removed the entire soundtrack.

I could’ve played the song myself, of course, but I actually thought I was paying tribute to Dylan by helping folks once again appreciate “I Shall Be Released” as a jailhouse as well as an existential classic. Instead, I got shut down.

Should there be some threshold at which an artist’s work has earned so very, very much money that it more quickly enters into the public domain, maybe with some fair-use restrictions?

I wonder how I’d feel about that if I were Bob Dylan instead of a plagiarist punk?

EARLIER, listening to the New Yorker Radio Hour on NPR, I heard a segment on a hijab designer in America and her models and what constitutes modesty for a model, then a conversation with Jill Soloway, creator of the TV show Transparent, about the show and growing up in a Jewish, gender-fluid family.

And I wondered, through my fascination, when the last time was that I heard on the radio a segment on what it’s like to work on a road construction crew or to take your daughter deer-hunting . . .

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, Donald Trump: He’s such a disappointment. If this is is populism, where’s the bathroom?

Lawrence Bush edits Jewish Currents.

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.