Counterargument: The Conceivable Threat of Bob Dylan.
While watching a documentary on the Kent State riots of the late 1960s, I was struck by a poignant interview with one of the faculty members, shortly after the National Guard had opened fire on the protesting students. This conservative woman with her gray corkscrew curls and black cat-eye glasses was remarking that it was a shame more students had not been hit, that they deserved to be punished for creating such an uproar. At first, I abhorred her comments, wondering how on earth anyone could think such a thing.
However, step into her perspective. As surely as I will argue that Bob Dylan was one of the most influential and powerful figures of the twentieth century, this woman would surely tell you that he is the Antichrist. To the adults of the 1960s, the sit-ins, riots, long hair and unpatriotic behavior of the college group were seen as cardinal sins. These things, now commonplace to the average citizen in 2001, were unheard of in the 1960s. To the elders, raised in a time when "children were to be seen and not heard," and when young men proudly served their country, all these passionately outspoken students were just creating a disturbance for the mere sake of a disturbance. The Freedom Movement was not seen by the elders as a form of free speech, acted out by a generation who was changing the norms of modern society forever. In a microcosm of the times, Dylan captured the essence in his song, "Subterranean Homesick Blues," as he sang "don't wear sandals, you can't afford the scandals." The adults didn't wear sandals and found it atrocious that the younger generation was doing such an entirely foreign thing (Roe, interview). Now, with the retrospect of forty years, it is clear to say that the flower children and the freedom fighters of this age drastically altered the course history would take, but then, it wasn't such a distinct conclusion.