Ok, so here’s the deal, I’ve got nothing, unless you count the red wine headache I’ve got from the second glass of wine I had with dinner last night. But seriously, after reading and re-reading the questions offered for the short essay response in module 7.e.3 I keep coming up blank. Nothing sparks my muse. But since I’ve enjoyed this course beyond my expectation I don’t want to blow off this 15 point assignment.
The easy answer, for me, to the first proposition is to choose Bob Dylan and one of his poem/songs. Which one? Let’s see, I’d like to choose “Masters of War” (1787) but that’s in the next module I think so I’ll pick “Blowin’ in the Wind,” from this module (1529). This song was published in 1962; I was a junior in high school. Those times were restive I remember. We weren’t involved yet in Viet Nam or if we were my class mates and I were not aware of it. Yet in 24 lines with a rhyme scheme of AB, CB,DB, EB in the first stanza and changing in the next two he succeeds in describing the feelings of myself and at least a few of my friends. We grew up in the shadow of the Atom bomb and were old enough to remember the Korean conflict. (I had a cousin living across the street from our house who fought in Korea and I still remember the day the war ended and my feeling relieved that Jackie would be coming back home safe.)
War didn’t make a lot of sense to us and we voiced concerns over some obvious dichotomies in our society and culture. How old does one have to before he’s considered a man? You can go to war and sacrifice life and limb at age seventeen but you can’t but a beer or get married without parental consent. Doesn’t seem fair does it? We studied the Civil War in American History and knew empirically that the black man was freed from slavery but watching TV showed us George Wallace missed that part and Rosa Parks wanted to see if she could push the envelope. We didn’t have blacks in our community so we weren’t exposed to racial prejudice outright but we saw it every night on the news and so did Dylan. TV was our window on the entire country and wider world and we 16, 17 & 18 year olds with our altruistic and “all men are created equal’ mentality had difficulty swallowing the images of poverty and hunger not just in far off African countries but right here in our own backyards.
We as a generation defined and were defined by this and other of Bob Dylan’s songs. We wanted to be the change in the world; we wanted to stop the answers from blowing in the wind and right the wrongs we were seeing everyday.