So, I’m reading about Bob Dylan out of a big book that claims to be the bio of all Bob Dylan bios. Maybe it is, I’m yet impartial to its ranking (and also have little base for comparison). But the pictures told a whole lot in all of about eight pages. After I had the refresher of Dylan’s time line, I flipped to a chapter in the latter half called “Faith”.
Terms like ‘faith’ tend to be ambiguous these days, especially with New Age-type movements employing Christian and Biblical language with brand new, man-made definitions. It’s almost trendy to redefine like that (but so out of line) and to use familiar language to say something fresh. So, ‘faith’ can probably mean just about anything in this case. Turns out, it basically means ‘women’ so far.
At the point in his life where this chapter picks up, he’s already sickeningly famous, living on a 2.5 million dollar estate that is one of four or five. He’s gone through the intro-rocker stage, where his immaculate talent was egregiously overlooked and now in super-stardom he’s already annoyed with his obsessive fan base. And with all that money and fame can buy, he’s nothing but unsatisfied and desperate. He seems to be in at least a fistful of relationships on the emotional level at any given time (one is usually, but not necessarily, his current wife). And that’s not to say he’s deeply emotionally involved either, but that the unsatisfied, seeking attitude sees temporary relief in the next woman that walks in his door (often, literally).
I’ve talked about covenant and vows in marriage a few times this week, resolving that those promises are meant to keep. And in light of said discussions, Bob Dylan breaks my heart. He has everything that any materialistic American (is it redundant to say both?) could ever want and yet he runs around taking more from this wretched world than his fame can even buy him; woman after woman after woman. I know words aren’t worth a dime when the actions don’t back them up, but what is it that gives folks the idea that “I do and I will forever…” means “I’ll try as long as I don’t get bored”, or “Until I change my mind”?
I want to say it’s ignorant. I want to condemn the single-minded selfish who parade their right to divorce and remarry, and do it again, leaving shrapnel of broken families, children, and friends…and promises, scattered all over “the house that she got”. I want to read them their vows and make them stand true to their word. But, I can’t. I can’t say “Look, I’ve done it!”, and if I could they wouldn’t care. I can only try to separate the talent and thrill in the Bob Dylan’s from the choice that mars a man’s word. I can only say that I’ll be true, true to a promise I’ll maybe never make – but those are all just words, too.