Elizabeth Wurtzel Has Thoughts On Bob Dylan, Shockingly Few Of Which Are About Elizabeth Wurtzel
Someone over at The Daily Beast thought it would be a dandy idea to have noted music critic Elizabeth Wurtzel write a piece about the enormous new Bob Dylan box set, The Complete Album Collection Volume One,that just came out, on account of how she is such an esteemed music critic. (You guys click through that link and buy yourself or someone special that enormously expensive box set so we can get some monies.) Somewhere, there’s some music writer who has toiled away at an alt-weekly for 20 years slowly tearing up each of his clips and then methodically smashing his laptop. Where were we? Oh, yes. Elizabeth Wurtzel on Dylan, which we bring to you because we are your authoritative Wurtzel news source. Word salad? Fuck yeah word salad.
Bob Dylan can’t see himself. That’s why it is significant to Jews that Dylan is Jewish, but it does not matter to him. He is only himself. On the same day Dylan’s guitar is to be purchased by some wealthy collector, Inside Llewellyn Davis, the Coen brothers’ new movie about a folk singer who arrives in Greenwich Village in 1961, is opening. Another version.
Another version of WHAT? No, really. We read the rest of the article and have no idea what she is on about. There’s so much goodness here to cut and paste and mock, but the Daily Beast would probably frown upon us just stone cold lifting the whole thing. This part, however, is triumphant in its complete trip to nonsense-ville:
Bob Dylan is the thing he invented, and not at all the boy from Hibbing, Minnesota. If his parents are alive, they hope to be invited to his next wedding, but they don’t at all know the person that is Bob Dylan as the son they raised and saw read the Torah at his bar mitzvah. Bruce Springsteen is, even as the biggest rock star in the world, the person he was growing up in Freehold, New Jersey; he is an evolution, and an ongoing project of constant connection of birth and rebirth going back to his origins, going back generations and maybe even centuries: as long as there has been a land mass anywhere near Asbury Park, Bruce Springsteen was there, before the Lenape, before the indigenous people—he is the indigenous people.
We have read this 10-car-pileup of words about eleventy times and we think it means this: Dylan and Springsteen are both archetype and artifact. See? That wasn’t so hard. Also, too, it is a thing that has been said how many times? all the times! better than this. Somewhere, Greil Marcus is wondering why the Daily Beast couldn’t have just called him up and asked him for an excerpt from The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes.
In an unexpected twist, it takes Wurtzel almost until the end until the piece turns into a piece about Elizabeth Wurtzel, as all Wurtzel pieces must. On the way there, though, she shows us she knows how to use the Googleby listing off a wide variety of artists who have covered a Bob Dylan song. After that, though, there’s the big reveal: Elizabeth Wurtzel, as constant as the tides, has some thoughts about Elizabeth Wurtzel:
I am not a mother, so I have never loved anyone just because he exists. I love everyone in my life for a reason. That is how I know that not all life is equal, and no, we are not even all the same in the eyes of God: it is worthless to say that we come from nothing and return to the dust. All that matters is life and how you spend it, and some people are great and valuable, some not at all.
God made all the little creatures, but some of them like Bob Dylan and, of course, Elizabeth Wurtzel, he made much better than the rest. Got it.
At the end of the piece she yammers on about her feels the day Lou Reed died and all we can say is thank god almighty that the Daily Beast did not let her write a Lou Reed obituary. This thing is bad enough.