Sunstein on Bob Dylan @CassSunstein @Harvard_Law @Kennedy_School

Cass R. Sunstein, Harvard Law School; Harvard Kennedy School, has published On Bob Dylan. Here is the abstract.

Bob Dylan celebrates “songs about roses growing out of people’s brains and lovers who are really geese and swans that turn into angels.” He thinks that “museums are vulgar,” because “they’re all against sex.” He proclaims,“Folk music is a bunch of fat people.” He notes, “Just because someone mentions the word ‘bomb,’ I’m not going to go ‘Aalee!’ and start clapping.” These remarks about lovers who are really geese, museums, folk music, and protest songs capture Dylan’s distaste for whatever is rote or routine, and help explain his refusal to identify with the social movements of the 1960s. The remarks also tell us something about the central themes of “Desolation Row” and “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” and also about why “Like A Rolling Stone” is not a finger-pointing song but a celebration of movement and rootlessness. Dylan’s work is dishabituating, and he cherishes the dishabituating power of music and art in general.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.


For more about Bob Dylan and the law, see this short bibliography:

Brown, Richard, Bob Dylan’s Critique of Judgement: “Thinkin’ About the Law, in The Political Art of Bob Dylan 35-54 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

Gearey, Adam, Outlaw Blues: Law in the Songs of Bob Dylan, 20 Cardozo Law Review 1401 (1998/1999).

Levine, Samuel J., Symposium: Bob Dylan and the Law, Foreword, 38 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1267 (2010/2011)..

See the rest of the issue for more articles about Dylan and the law.

Perlin, MIchael J., “You That Build the Death Planes”: Bob Dylan, War, and International Affairs, 37 Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law 305 (2020).