Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bob Dylan is cross with us for confusing 'pre-approval' with 'censorship'

Funny, while he was in China Bob Dylan was quiet as a mouse; now the gig has happened, he's suddenly found his voice:

"As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing," Dylan wrote on his website. "There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous three months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play."
There is a logical answer, in that you might say "why do you want the list?" or "you do know you don't get any pre-approval, don't you?" but perhaps Bob gets his set list signed off by all governing territories at each venue he plays.

Dylan doesn't bother to engage with the question of why he was so happy to indulge the Chinese government while Ai WeiWei was being held somewhere unknown, but I'm sure he has a great explanation for that one, too. My guess is he's just waiting for it to clear.


OE said...

China didn't "pre-approve" his setlist. They didn't get his setlist. All they got was a long list of recently played songs, to which they returned no comment.

Me, I think that the setlist he actually played, which began with one of his "Gospel period" songs and ended with "Forever Young"... i.e., "May God bless and keep you always"-- in a country that still regularly imprisons members of house churches-- was adequately transgressive of Chinese governmental wishes... and they never even noticed. You go, Bob.

simon h b said...

Why do you think the Chinese asked for the set list (or lists, if you'd rather?) if not to find out if there was anything to bother them in the shows?

Clearly, there was an approval process in place - tacit or otherwise - because why else would Dylan have sent them?

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