Rhyming and Stealing
Dylanologists (“Dylan Covers London,”
July 30), amateur and professional, might do well to check out a line plagiarized from Dylan by the Old Crow Medicine Show. (They might first check out John Prine’s “Muhlenberg County”: “Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County . . . / Mr. Peabody’s coal train done hauled it away.”) Supposedly, Dylan’s manager gave it to Old Crow, who now have their second hit with a Dylan rewrite. The questions are: What did Dylan send them? What year did John Prine write his great song?
Old Crow definitely have released a song with a different chorus, but the write-overs from Prine’s to Dylan’s lyrics are mighty thin. The protagonist in “Sweet Amarillo” comes down from the “Mesabi Iron ore range” in place of “the Green River where Paradise lay,” where John Prine’s singer wishes to return. Give them both a listen and hear how the timing and placement of phrases and tune in each song overlaps and dovetails.
They’re only words, the dictionary is full of them, pick some. “Cave dweller,” really? I bet if you ran all of John Grisham or Stephen King’s books through the right computer, it would turn out they stole it all from Bob Dylan. Some people have too much time on their hands. “Steal a little, and they put you in jail. Steal a lot, and they make you king”—Bob Dylan.
First off, nobody is a bigger Bob Dylan fan than I am, but as the article suggest, swiping tidbits or parts of sentences from someone else’s book is nothing new. Years ago, Paul McCartney, although he was referring to music, claimed that everybody pinched from everybody else. Years ago, Dylan himself made the point that (I’m paraphrasing) “all the great books have been written and all the great songs have been sung.” There are only 12 notes and 26 letters in the alphabet that I know of, so it’s pretty damn hard for anyone to be completely original.
I write short stories, and I’ve been known to swipe a line or two from old noir B-films, mostly because I don’t want great lines like “It was over fast, like a bad meal” to be forgotten or lost.
The thing of it is, I’m sure that Bobby wouldn’t dig it if anybody lifted any of his stuff word for word, so why not just give the credit when and where it’s due? But I do believe plagiarism is different; it’s the taking of another’s idea and calling it your own. Now that’s stealing.
Diverse or Not?
“Rohnert Park, a city not known for its diversity” (“Chewy Tea,” July 23)—where have you been hanging out, Nicolas Grizzle? I’ve been reading and enjoying your point of view for quite a while now, but have to argue with you about this seemingly gratuitous and erroneous remark. As a former resident, and still a property owner in Rohnert Park, I find it to be one of the most diverse parts of Sonoma County, which is not known for its diversity. And I’m not talking about our frequent count of Latino families. I’m talking about a variety of ethnicities, visibly different from the white majority, black folks, Asian folks and brown folks too. It was one of the features of Rohnert Park that gave me some real satisfaction, preferring to live in a multicultural neighborhood.
Antibiotics and Animals
Right now animals all over the U.S. are being fed antibiotics on a regular basis to prevent illness. The World Health Organization recently warned that, due to this overuse of antibiotics, strains of bacteria are being created with the ability to resist the effects of our most powerful antibiotics.
The first thing that needs to be done is to limit their use on factory farms. By treating farm animal illnesses when they occur instead of administering preemptive methods like antibiotic abuse, we can slow the speed at which these bacteria develop immunities. At this moment, up to 80 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are sold for livestock, not for people.
The government needs to introduce legislation that prohibits this drug abuse on farms. If we don’t act now, we will lose our ability to treat common illnesses like pneumonia, meningitis and infections from minor cuts.
Dept. of Corrections
In last week’s news story, “The New Deal,” we incorrectly reported that Station Casinos closed casinos in the wake of the 2007 recession. The article also stated that Station Casinos was sued by UNITE HERE organizers in 2010. The union filed charges against Station Casinos with the National Labor Relations Board that year. Finally, the piece should have noted that Station Casinos came out of bankruptcy in 2011.
Also, in last week’s cover story, “Dylan Covers London,” we incorrectly reported the name of the journal that ran Scott Warmuth’s essay, and the title of the essay. The essay ran in the New Haven Review, not the New Haven Register, and it was called “Bob Charlatan.” Also, Warmuth lives in New Mexico, not Arizona, as we mistakenly reported.
We regret the errors.
Tangled Up in News
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