Posts Tagged ‘Einstein’

Ignatieff Serves Somebody

March 29th, 2011
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Michael Ignatieff “channels Bob Dylan,” according to the Globe and Mail’s Jane Taber. He has used it in his speeches, and sent it in an email to supporters:

It’s like Bob Dylan sang: “You’ve gotta serve somebody.” Let’s show Stephen Harper what that means

Bob Dylan’s Serve Somebody, from 1979’s Slow Train Coming is a great song. It won Dylan a Grammy and brought him back onto the charts after years of being off them. But what does it mean?

You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord,
but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You Got to Serve Somebody is not a song about public service, not a song about Maritime daycare for single moms who want to be heavy equipment operators. It is a song about service to God. Michael Ignatieff would be just as well to quote Onward Christian Soldiers. And of course, if Stephen Harper sat at the piano and started singing it, Jane Taber would know that.

The fall of 1978 was a low point for Bob Dylan. His career was sliding: record sales were down and reviews for both his records and his live performances were terrible. Even the Village Voice, which is a sort of home town paper to Dylan, had a recent edition which printed four negative reviews.

The current tour was also taking a physical toll. Dylan played a gig in Montreal in October with a temperature of 105. On November 17th, Dylan was playing in San Diego. He still did not feel well, and it showed:

Towards the end of the show someone out in the crowd… knew I wasn’t feeling well. I think they could see that. And they threw a silver cross on the stage.

Dylan, uncharacteristically, picked up the cross off the stage and put it in his pocket. Travelling to Tucson, Dylan was feeling worse. Nothing he tried was working, and he felt he needed something different.

I looked in my pocket, and there was this cross…

…and he had a vision of Jesus, and became that scariest of modern day creatures, a born again Christian.

Michael Ignatieff is being a clever, average hippy quoting Bob Dylan. He could have quoted Einstein (The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule); or Tolstoy (The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity); or John Adams (If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve). He chose Dylan for a reason, to appeal to the baby-boomers. Let Stephen Harper sing the Beatles, he’ll out groovy him and quote Bob Dylan like a second rate literature professor.

Unfortunately for Ignatieff, unlike Tolstoy or Einstein, he doesn’t understand the context of the Dylan lyric. Being a square, not an average, groovy kind of guy, Ignatieff didn’t really now what he was saying.

Pompous Igghead , , , , , ,