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Not Across My Daughter's Big Brass bed You Don't, Bob

MONEY Mammon
Published on Friday, April 16, 2004 by the Los Angeles Times
Not Across My Daughter's Big Brass Bed You Don't, Bob
by Leslie Bennetts

My husband had just bought the newly issued CD of Bob Dylan's 1964 concert at Philharmonic Hall in New York, and our 15-year-old daughter was perplexed at yet another addition to our already extensive Dylan archive. She had never understood what made this raspy-voiced guy so important, anyway. "Why is he famous?" she asked.

Delighted at the opportunity to deliver a history lesson, her father a passionate antiwar activist during the Vietnam years spent the next couple of hours playing old songs and explaining Dylan's seminal role in the protest music of the 1960s. I listened as I read the morning paper, and thinking about the parallels between Vietnam and the bloodbath in Iraq against a soundtrack of Dylan songs was almost too painful to bear. How many times, indeed?

The next day, I was startled to see Dylan's craggy, hawklike face glaring out at me from the television screen in a Victoria's Secret commercial. He looked angry, dissipated and possibly deranged; his eyes had that paranoid, menacing look one associates with inmates in lock-up wards. He also looked old; Dylan is 62 and, judging by his appearance, has lived hard.

He was singing a bitter song called "Love Sick" as a nubile young model writhed around in her underwear and stiletto heels. Sultry and blank-faced, she looked about as old as my daughter. Was this porno-babe supposed to be Dylan's current obsession? His fantasy? Were we meant to think this was cool and edgy?

The only edge I saw was the distasteful spectacle of a geezer sexually fixated on a girl young enough to be his granddaughter. When the man who wrote "Forever Young" starts leering at jailbait during prime time, the result looks like a recruiting tool for a pedophilia advocacy group.

And what about the great minds behind such advertising campaigns? Teenagers constitute a critical segment of Victoria's Secret's target audience. My daughter spends a considerable amount of money on its products, but I'm the one who finances her purchases. And from a female, not to mention a parental, point of view, this ad was repellent. Do the geniuses who come up with these ideas really think the sexual fantasies of aging males appeal to women, whether mothers or daughters? Guys, let me give you a clue: Nymphets are not lusting after Bob Dylan these days. Even 60-year-old grandmothers are not lusting after Bob Dylan these days.

My daughter's counterculture history lesson notwithstanding, she will now retain the Victoria's Secret commercial as her most indelible memory of an artist who once had a profound effect on American culture. All over the country, crestfallen baby boomers are watching this ad campaign and wondering, "Why did he do it?"

After being a world-famous star for 40 years, could he possibly be broke? Who cares? He did it for the same reason that fabulously rich movie stars who earn $20 million a picture can still be seduced into making jeans ads in Japan: It's the money, stupid.

Or maybe we should view it as the kinky product of a long-standing fetish rather than simply as a spasm of greed. Nearly 40 years ago, when asked if there was anything that might tempt him to sell out, Dylan reportedly replied, "Ladies' undergarments." But even that theory doesn't hold up he sold "The Times They Are A-Changin' " for a Bank of Montreal ad eight years ago. No exculpatory pathology there, aside from garden-variety avarice.

I suppose even Dylan has the right to pad his retirement account, but it's hard to defend his status as an enduring icon of moral outrage and political integrity when he's shilling for bras and panties.

As I scan each day's front-page pictures of fire and destruction in Iraq, it's equally depressing to consider the current scene. After all, it's not as if the torch has been passed to the younger set. Today's musical superstars seem more interested in hawking their clothing lines and name-brand perfumes than in any meaningful form of political action. Far from protesting the status quo, they're the foremost exemplars of how to exploit it to the max.

Can we be surprised that an old guy is cashing in too? These days it's all about merchandising.

Now, there's a legacy to pass on to the next generation.

Leslie Bennetts is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times
what a mean lady 18.Apr.2004 20:26

Bobby D

somebody's clearly not getting any at home.

whoa! 18.Apr.2004 20:28

rilly now

"the result looks like a recruiting tool for a pedophilia advocacy group."

calm yourself! you're in a terrible tizzy

not news 18.Apr.2004 22:56


Since when are old hippy dudes sexually exploiting young women...news? I live in Eugene Oregon and when I meet one who's NOT so disgusting and disengenous that I could barf...that's when I want to post to the newswire about it!

Still lusting after all these years 19.Apr.2004 01:21

George Bender

"Even 60-year-old grandmothers are not lusting after Bob Dylan these days."

Yeah, they're probably lusting after men young enough to be their grandsons.

Get real. Everyone looks. Young people are sexier. As a man in his 60s, am I supposed to pretend that all those bare midriffs don't exist?

As for Dylan, he has never given a shit about what anyone thinks. He has always enjoyed being perverse, in the general sense, refusing to do what anyone expected him to do. That's one of the things that made him great.

I recently rented and watched Masked and Anonymous, a rather strange movie with Dylan in the lead role. A terrible actor, frozen-faced all the way through, but his singing was great. An old voice, but a lot of art in it. "It ain't dark yet, but it's gettin' there."

Real 19.Apr.2004 02:06


Um, I think she's being very real. She gets the creeps when she thinks of an old, angry looking geezer leering at her teenaged daughter. Get real. Any mother wouldn't like that, or even the thought of that. Does it happen? Sure. She's knows that. She doesn't have to like it though.

Leering? 19.Apr.2004 02:36

George Bender

I'm not sure what you mean by "leering." Displaying an obvious sexual interest? Well I always try not to be obvious, but obviously if women dress to attract sexual interest they are going to get it. Certainly we shouldn't be rude about it, men or women, but it's common for both genders to make their sexual attraction obvious. And people have to put out the bait, if they expect to mate. With men the bait would more often be evidence of power, which in our culture usually means money. When it comes to mating, humans are fairly primitive mechanisms.

Victoria's Secret is about sex, and nothing but.

Why is it worse for an older man to show a sexual interest in a young woman than a younger man? Seems like an irrational prejudice. And what does anger have to do with it?

I'm afraid that sex and anger are connected in our culture because a lot of people have been disappointed in love. With the divorce rate at about 50 percent, something is badly wrong with the American mating dance. Maybe we should worry about that instead of sexual advertising.

Yo, guys, 19.Apr.2004 08:35


it's beyond sad when an icon like Bob Dylan, who has more money than god,feels like he must sell his image to a corporation, whether said corporation sells underwear or hamburgers or cars. I grew up on Dylan's songs, in a redneck town in east Texas. I thought he cared about ideas. Silly me! Money's the only thing that matters!

Lay Lady Lay 19.Apr.2004 09:26

Pastor Richard Seeland

The dog is turned to his own vomit again.
2 Peter 2:22

I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was born and raised here, and have no desire to leave. My sentiments have raised a number of Christian eyebrows over the years, particularly of those who reside in the midwestern United States. I have become accustomed to the break in eye contact and dumfounded look, telling me that visions of "Adam and Steve" are already dancing in their heads. Their quivering response usually comes out something like, "Well, I guess everybody has the right to learn about Jesus.....if they have any desire to CHANGE!" I smile knowingly, as I will surely win them back after educating them about Contra Costa County.

Though only a 30 minute drive from "The City," my home town of Concord is one of the most conservative locations in Northern California. We are dedicated to the tradition of family, religion, home, garden, and careers, and though we do not shun diversity and new ideas, we strive to keep them within reasonable limits. We are also home to one of the most prominent military production facilities on the West Coast, and welcome those who are here helping to serve and protect our country. Though our community may find itself overshadowed by the immoral minority in San Francisco, or "Sodom" as we call it, we make a concerted effort to distance ourselves from the ungodly social climate of that horrible place.

Case in point: During the 1970's, a major event was "Day On The Green," a massive outdoor rock concert, featuring the top acts of the day. Tens of thousands of young people flocked to the big city to take part in a long day of music, sex, drugs, and immorality. In 1977, we CoCo Countyites countered with "Day In The Son," an all-day glorification of the Savior, featuring Christian rock singers such as Randy Stonehill, Pam Mark, and former pop-star Barry McGuire. Saved and unsaved youth alike congregated at the Concord Pavilion with their parents' blessing to listen to these outstanding performers. Any further description of this wondrous event would not do it justice, so I'll just say that "the message was there!"

Of course, we do not claim to be without our shortcomings. Big city problems have wormed their way eastward, and drugs and promiscuity are grinding away at the precious souls of many. I recently counseled a high school couple who were lured into "Cruising the Creek," a weekly event in which teenagers create a sinister traffic jam down Walnut Creek's main drag in search of (heterosexual) sex. These two know the Lord and are active within the church youth group. They came to me in tears, and admitted that they had engaged in sexual activity. They confided that they felt so badly afterward that they got down on their knees and asked the Lord to forgive them. "Young man," I responded, "You should have fallen down on your knees and prayed that your zipper would get stuck!"

So again, I'm left thinking about how the music plays into all of this, and a perfect example comes from the pasty-faced legend of yesteryear, Bob Dylan. Now I realize that I am barely forty, and far too young to remember when this guy was cranking out the hits, but I do know that it was during the period that the male-dominated recording industry saw fit to begin designing music that would break down womens inhibitions so that they could "score." Bob Dylan was the perfect vehicle to help them "go to town."

It was clear to them that women were difficult to manipulate into compromising positions, and they realized that then-current straight-laced pop-icons such as Fabian, Steve Lawrence, and Bobby Vinton were not only sending the wrong message with their mild-mannered approach, but they looked better than most guys who were trying to get lucky. Why not put a scroungy, blithering idiot with sex appeal out there, and sell him as a free-thinking intellectual who can encourage young women to feel okay about heavy use of recreational drugs. Well, the plan worked, and with Dylan's full cooperation in the world of big-business, women became easier to have sex with than any man ever dreamed possible.

Despite his lack of continuing chart success, Mr. Dylan is still a major corporate commodity, serving to make the rich richer, a plan that he is more than willing to accept, as he is a millionaire many times over himself, and would not dream of giving up his posh surroundings. I recall that in 1979, this superstar claimed to have become a Born Again Christian, and got a hit record out of it, but he didn't seem to stick with it, and to the best of my knowledge, said nothing about it. His abhorrent lifestyle is evidenced by his recent affiliation with the Pope, which is a sure sign that he is no longer walking with the Lord.

Let us pray that if Mr. Dylan has another heart attack, stroke, or age-related illness, that he will repent of the seemingly endless list of evils that he has inflicted on modern society. Maybe if it hurts enough, he'll really mean it this time!

Pastor Dick

Another case of a parent not 19.Apr.2004 10:16

taking responsibility

In regards to Victoria Secret products;
"My daughter spends a considerable amount of money on its products....."
your daughter is FIFTEEN years old and she is already a veteran of Vicky's?

Sexuality is a wonderful thing, but when a parent is granting a child priviledge to buy products from a slick soft-porn magazine that treats women as toys for men, you really shouldn't be too worried about Bobby D.
You should be more worried about your parenting skills.

Jesus Fucking christ!! 19.Apr.2004 10:34

pastor jimmy smitts

Pop icons with egos or intense greed? You don't say! But really when is the last time that bob dylan did anything real revolutionary? helped out with a good cause? Can you really be that shocked over a television commercial? is there something wrong with giving credit to the beauty of a woman?

But christ, are you serious "pastor"?

"Let us pray that if Mr. Dylan has another heart attack, stroke, or age-related illness, that he will repent of the seemingly endless list of evils that he has inflicted on modern society. Maybe if it hurts enough, he'll really mean it this time!"

Does anyone else find this statement an example of a far more discusting attitude that is a plague of our nation? fundementalist wack jobs like your self should really reconsider what it is you think you stand for. I mean seriously praying for some one to have a life threatening illness to convince them that they should think like you? twisted you are ... I do not believe in god ... and people with your attitude im sure would be the ones filling up hell it it coulld exist. On behalf of humanity I'd like to invite Pastor to wake up....unless that was all a joke, in that case you've got quite the talent for writing satire!

Pastor Dick 19.Apr.2004 11:50


Is total satire. He's hosted at Negativland's site, for chrissake. His entire site is over-the-top christianofacsist criticisms of everything from the alphabet song to Louis Armstrong. You should check it out, it's hilarious...

Bob Dylan=pathetic 19.Apr.2004 12:41


Anyone who thinks Bob Dylan represents the progressive movement or the anti war movement is quite delusional. The man has always been about the $$$$$. Ex-hippies are some of the most pathetic, greedy, gross, nasty, dishonest, self centered people I know. It comes as no surprise that he is lusting after girls who could be his granddaughters. Anyone who wants to support a sexism free world should never spend a dime at VC before or after Bob Dylan's endorsement. The fact that you have bought clothing from them in the first place shows your ignorance.

I love Satire!!! Thank you pastor dick.

to 'Im' 19.Apr.2004 15:16


Dylan had his image manufactured for mass consumption ever since his signing by Columbia Records in 1962.

some of this can be found the liner notes to Dylan's box set retrospective "The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3" (originally released in 1993).

Columbia wanted to tie Dylan's 'look' and lifestyle to the target market for his records, early on. there is a detailed description of the 1963-64 ad / press release campaign by Columbia Records to place Bob Dylan's image and persona into 'bohemian' locations and shopping venues, making it clear that he favored / frequented certain types of clothing, coffee shops, etc.

George 19.Apr.2004 15:38


I used the word "angry" because that's one of the adjectives the writer used to desribe the way Dylan looked. She was reacting to the way he looked singing that song juxtaposed against the teenager writhing around in her underwear.

Like another poster I was a little surprised that a woman would be buying Victoria Secret underwear for her daughter, but to some people it is just underwear, despite the catalogs and hype.

As an adult woman I have bought Victoria Secret clothing (yes they sell regular clothes) and underwear and it was never about sex, it was just about clothes. It happened only once. I found their product to be ill-fitting and not well made.

So George, Victoria's Secret may be just about sex and nothing but to you, but that's not the case for everyone.

Dylan is not a symbol 20.Apr.2004 01:01

George Bender

He's an artist. Early in his career he wrote and sang folk protest songs. He quickly gave that up because he felt he was being catagorized and stifled as an artist. Since then he's produced a lot of great songs and a considerable amount of crap. Like most artists. He has always been constantly changing. Since he was never a symbol of progressive values, you can't really say he's sold out. Like most performing artists his focus has been on doing the art that is most interesting to him and making a living. I don't have any problem with that. We need all the art we can get. I'll do the politics.

still a great song 20.Apr.2004 01:59

after all these years (and "sellouts")

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Copyright 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music