On an autumn day in 1963, one of Dylan’s friends was visiting him at his apartment, read the lyrics and asked Dylan: “What is this shit, man?”, to which Dylan responded, “Well, you know, it seems to be what the people like to hear”. This was definitely a song with a purpose. It was influenced of course by the Irish and Scottish ballads … “The Times They Are a-Changin.”

Over the past few months, in accordance with my anticipation, I have been progressively realizing that ‘We the People’ are not interested in embracing the truth and accepting reality. Denial is good in small doses as it can protect us from unbearable pain and shock. As such, our body has defence mechanisms which protects us.

Well my friends, I have come to the crossroads. I do appreciate the fact that some people in my life and strangers have shown signs of appreciation and interest. However, I must face the fact that bearers of truth and the well-intended are rarely compensated in any way shape or form. Not only in a social or political sense, but also in our personal and professional lives. Seems as if no matter how close one gets to another, the more we use what we disguised behind clever terms such as being politically correct, corporate, classy and so on. These terms enable us to look at ourselves in the mirror and find comfort in thinking that we are a good people.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to change people or the way society is structured. Although on more than one occasion in my life, I have spoken the truth to various people, in different stages of their lives and mine, and trust me, it has always backfired. I honestly think that people find comfort in illusion and lies. There are predetermined answers, idioms, sayings and proverbs for everything we go through in life. But we fail to acknowledged that the opposite statements are always available, when needed. Once again, to deter us from reality and also for others to find comfort in us. For instance: “Opposites attract” one minute and “Birds of a feather flock together” the other. Or even “Slow and steady wins the race” which is opposite to “Time waits for no one”.

The sayings that always seem to turn my stomach, which I admit to have also used in the past would be: “It is going to be okay.”; “What goes around comes around.” and of course “Everything happens for a reason.”

We blame politicians all the time but if it weren’t for them sheltering us from the truth, we wouldn’t be able to go on another day.

As Jack Nicholson said it best to Tom Cruise in a Few Good Man: “You can’t handle the truth.”

And my friends, We the People cannot.

I have come to feel as Dylan often did throughout his career. Shortly after JFK’s assassination, Dylan supposedly said: “What it means is that they are trying to tell you ‘Don’t even hope to change things’.” He later wrote: “it is useless to recall the day once more.” In another, he repeatedly wrote: “there is no right or left there is only up and down.”

Maybe Dylan was discouraged and depressed, or maybe he was just spending too much time with Johnny Cash. That’s what you get for spending too much time with the man in black, as he will show you the truth. If you won’t see it, he was the type of man to make you feel it.

Not sure which road I will choose but I am facing the reality that writing about how fat Jessica Simpson or Aishwarya Rai has become after giving birth; commenting on how fake Kim Kardashian relationships always have been; or even who has gotten good and bad plastic surgery in Hollywood, is what We the People want and somewhat need. We complain all the time that there is no quality and/or educational entertainment but the few that are still surviving in the media have the poorest ratings.

In the meantime, there is only up and down.

“Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.”

The times will eventually change but not here and definitely not now. When it will be too late to change, just remember People, you are always given what you wish for, until you don’t wish it anymore.

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday Bob Dylan!

Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, on May 24, 1941.

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.


A Tale of Two …

February 7, 2012

As I initiated my morning routine today, the BBC World Service informed me that today is Charles Dickens’ 200th anniversary. Later on, as I googled a technical term at the office, Google informed me of that as well by altering their home page into cute Dickens-themed characters embedded and merged around their logo.

Okay, I enjoy Dickens as much as the next Anglo but these days; I am more anxious to see how the uprisings in Syria will transition into a full blown certified civil war and from there, who knows how it will proliferate. I am already outraged that, unlike his fellow dictators, Al-Assad, has not been forced to step down, was not heavily sanctioned and was obviously not murdered.

Chuck D. will have an anniversary next year, and if by then Iran is in the midst of nuking you know who, then he will have another one the following year….and the following year…

Bref, although the Holidays were long gone, I realized that I was being somewhat of a Scrooge. I could still enjoy a light subject even in these times of crisis and unrest without feeling guilty. After giving it some thoughts, I understood that Dickens did not represent anything trivial. He was extremely socially involved, especially for the Victorian times he lived in. Dickens, a political journalist, understood the lower classes, despised greed for money and promoted social reform.

Wait, isn’t that a reflection on the situation in Syria? No coincidences after all – Synchronicities (yes it is one of the categories of my blog…lol).

Could Dickens have been reincarnated as a non-Alawite Syrian, leading the uprising?

After researching more about his “power to the people and justice for all” stance, I shockingly discovered that his views were only to be applied to certain nations. Actually only to two nations: the British and their American cousins.

He was so full of hate that some of his writings clearly display anti-Italian, anti-Irish, anti-Zulu and anti-Amerindian views. But he was most notorious for his anti-Indian rants. He left no room for misunderstandings or excuses as he went as far as calling for the extermination of the Indian race and applauded the mutilation of Hindus who were punished by being blown from English guns.

And I quote: “I wish I were commander-in-chief in India … I should proclaim to them that I considered my holding that appointment by the leave of God, to mean that I should do my utmost to exterminate the race.”

I wonder why his work has not been banned in many countries. Not only it has not but also, he is admired (or conditioned to be admired) all over the world; proclaimed as a legend and a genius. I guess talent and good century old marketing teams can change things around.

If I were more informed in high school, I would have not chosen “A Tale of Two Cities” (which is over 500 pages damn it!) for my essay at the time.

Dickens doesn’t sound so trivial after all. What would Bashar Al-Assad say to that? Not so different after all.

“I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion – against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.

I wear black for the poor and the beaten down, the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, for those who never read or listened to the words that Jesus said. For the sick and lonely, in mournin’ for the lives that could have been. For the thousands who have died, believen’ that the Lord was on their side.

I’d love to wear a rainbow every day, and tell the world that everything’s OK, but I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back, until things are brighter, I’m the Man in Black.

– Johnny Cash

The above picture was taken at the Folsom State Prison, in 1966, following the success of “Folsom Prison Blues”, which is one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs.

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.