VH1 has been airing a series of shows under the banner, "The Greatest." They compile votes to determine the top 100 in various categories. One category is greatest artist, and by artist they mean musical. Dylan came in at number five behind only (in ascending order) Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and the Beatles. Not bad company.
Asked for a comment, Dylan said he was going for a walk.
No, not really. But I imagine if he knows at all, he shrugged. This is because I have only an imaginary relationship with Bob (or Zim, which is what he lets me call him), and I want to project certain values of mine on him. And I don't want this top five thing to matter to him.
And part of that is because I don't want this kind of stuff to matter to me. Not where Dylan stands, but where I stand. I know that all of us are prone to comparing ourselves to others, and sometimes this gets in the way of being an authentic person. People who have a certain public-ness though are more susceptible than others, I think, to this temptation. And I have a modest amount of public-ness.
How do my speeches measure up? My publishing? My programs? My blog? My hair? My guitar playing/songwriting vis-a-vis other theologian/wannabe rockstars? These are demons I beat back on a regular basis. (But seriously, for an olding dude, I have great hair).
I have a John Updike quote taped above my desk that I try to believe in. "One can either see, or be seen." I'm trying to see, but wouldn't mind being seen in the process. I want Updike's quote to be true. And I want it to be true of me. Which means I also have to believe things like, "if you want to save your life, you must lose it." I know for some people its the resurrection that presses credulity. For me its this losing and saving business. More than anything else, I want this one to be true.
So, I hope Dylan shrugged.