by carl wilson

Or To Put It Another Way

One guy who kept reappearing in the news was Caryl Chessman, a notorious rapist whom they called the Red-Light Bandit. He was on death row in California after being tried and convicted of raping young women. He had a creative way of doing it - strapped a flashing red light to the top of his automobile and then pulled the girls over to the side of the road... Norman Mailer, Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, Robert Frost, even Eleanor Roosevelt were calling for his life to be spared. An anti-death-penalty group had asked Len to write a song about Chessman.

"How do you write a song about a pariah who rapes young women, what would be the angle?" he asked me.

Dylan's answer? "... maybe start with the red lights."

This is not how a political person thinks. It is how a writer does. I don't think there's anything implausible or revisionist about that.

(I realize all this has left out the question of the music of his politics but I've written on that general subject a fair amount of late, and don't have the stamina to address it now, though I'd maybe start with the way his voice camouflages his melodies.)

The Writ | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, October 20 at 10:03 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)


Zoilus by Carl Wilson