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Antirockism is just rockism with a few of the words changed
koganbot
In an egregious breach of self-discipline, I posted on an Ann Powers facebook thread* whose subject was "rockism." Given that the thread was mainly stupidity and floundering, and it didn't jostle anything loose in my own thinking, I fear that there was little useful I achieved. My justification, if there is one, is that the stupidity I refer to is relative, and I genuinely believe that if someone somewhere takes in and masters my ideas regarding the "authenticity" thing it would save her several years of wheel-spinning.

Antirockists have never had the slightest actual interest in the people they call "rockists" or in the phenomena they call "rockism." So the conversation has been about defeating phantom enemies rather than about understanding the world.** This makes antirockists frustrating but it doesn't always make them boring, since their beating up on "rockism" is an attempt to use a crowbar or pole vault to get out from under something — even if they won't figure out what it is in themselves and their world they're trying to surmount.

This is what I wrote. I do urge you to click the two Rules Of The Game columns I link down at the bottom of my third comment. Might help your wheelbarrow gain traction.

Frank Kogan Posting to say "Hi" to a bunch of friends I've been mostly out of touch with, though given what I'm going to say you might have wished I'd stayed silent. Also posting so that I can keep seeing this thread as it or if it continues to unwind. (I'm only seeing it 'cause my one and only Facebook friend posted on it, and via Facebook's algorithm or something it'll disappear from my view shortly if I don't. I'm trying to not really be on Facebook so don't try to friend me, or feel offended if I don't friend you back.)

I'm somewhat dismayed that there are only a few names on here I DON'T recognize. I don't know if I've run into Eric Johnson before, but from what he's written on this thread I'd like to read more of him now. (Doesn't mean I wouldn't want to read more of the rest of you, too.)

Like RJ I think the term "rockist" is hopeless, but contra that, I doubt that this thread would have gotten much attention if Ann had used another term. Anyway, if we're stuck with it, I'll say this:

I'm more rockist than I am antirockist, and I strongly doubt that Beyoncé has finally and fully defeated me, okay? And what I mean is that I think a lot of life, culture, social systems, etc. are phony, false, dishonest, corrupt, boring, etc. even or especially on their own terms. Intentionally or no on the performers' part, a lot of '60s music had embedded in its ideals (and by association in its sound) that it was stepping outside or around or at least putting itself at odds with the boredom and the corruption, and implicit in this was the worldview or suspicion or feeling or fear that anyone including me, including you could be and probably was contaminated by the lameness, corruption, etc. A lot of the music was full of posturing in its claim to this worldview and these ideals, but that's not the point. Almost all attempts at musical "authenticity" in the last 50 years draw on this sort of worldview and these ideals. amd tjat
Like · Reply · May 8 at 10:51am

Frank Kogan ...And they draw a lot of their strength from this (as argument if not as music, anyway). Anyway, you can say, sputteringly, "But... but... rockism is when people say that only rock embodies these ideals," or something, but (1) I doubt that anyone says this,*** and (2) if you don't like it when rock makes such claims, or rock fans make such claims, why is it okay for YOU to make such claims on behalf of nonrock, or yourselves? (Assuming that you do.) Anyway, I think these ideals — authenticity ideals — and this worldview are basically right, at least a lot of the time I think so, and I think you think they are too. And it seems arbitrary and wrong to say, "Well, when stupid people do this with bad results it's rockism, but when WE do it in opposition to these stupid people it's antirockism." Antirockism is just rockism with a few of the words changed.

("Authenticity" is almost as hopeless a term as "rockism" is, but it, or something like it, "real," for instance, is essential, at least as an adjective, "authentic.")

Anyway, I've learned nothing new from this thread so far, and I've said nothing I haven't said before (and better elsewhere). I think you all are capable of way better, and I don't get the praise for a discourse where no one learns anything or changes in the course of the conversation. Yes, Chuck, I sound like a broken record, don't I? —But Ann, how could you NOT know that Chuck and Simon R. and John D. etc. weren't going to show up and say what they did? And why didn't you take their ideas into account when you made your initial post?
Like · Reply · May 8 at 11:14am

Frank Kogan I think I had too many canceling negatives in that final sentence (but anyway, how could you not KNOW they were going to say what they said, and how come you didn't anticipate their ideas in advance?).

My laziness: I haven't heard LEMONADE yet. I like Beyoncé but haven't gotten around to her in years. Is there something new and unexpected on the record? (Not that "new" and "unexpected" mean "good"; they are kind of rock ideals, though, the delivering-us-from-days-of-old thing, and are more likely to get my attention than their opposites.)

Continuing my laziness: I didn't click the links to reread the Sanneh or the Wolk. I like 'em both as writers but thought each of those pieces was dumb (recognizing that for some people those pieces may have introduced them to a subject they'd known nothing about). Yeah, my memory may be wrong and ungenerous. But, if you think their arguments are good, don't just link the arguments. State the arguments. Arguing by links is a drag.

That said, here are a couple of old pieces of mine, not about rockism but about antirockism, and about why I'm not — that's n-o-t — an antirockist. I'm sure I'm being insufferable, but I really think you need not only to read them but to master what's in them. (Not that I can claim a lot originality. It's basically Romanticism 101.)

But if your time is short, I recommend the second one more than the first, and the second half of the second one more than the first half:

The Rules Of The Game No. 31: Rockism And Antirockism Rise From The Dead

The Rules Of The Game No. 32: Where The Real Wild Things Are
Like · Reply · May 8 at 11:42am

Frank Kogan Maybe to clarify things: the most interesting statement in this thread is this from Eric W.: "the white male counterculture went out of its way to transcommodify and coopt the role of outsider, rebel, disruptor." Now I think there's a lot that's strong and a lot that's wrong about that statement, much worth exploring; but for the purposes of this thread the point to make is that the statement is totally, overwhelmingly, MASSIVELY rockist. I'd point to it as embodying the essence of rockism. Now, I'm using "rockist" as a descriptive here, not a pejorative. But the fact that I'm seeing a statement as obviously, screamingly rockist, whereas Eric, who made the statement, thinks he's being antirockist, just underlines RJ's point: we shouldn't use the words "rockist" and "rockism." They're a barrier to thought. They encompass too much and end up vacuous.

What I find prototypically and stereotypically rockist in Eric's statement is that it calls out a phenomenon (the "counterculture") for being phony and white and pandering and commercial in relation to truer phenomena that are the real deal, more genuinely out and rebellious and disruptive (and possibly darker skinned, as well). This basically IS the rockist argument against pop, though in Eric's case the type of pop that's getting called out as fake is called "rock." That there's some merit in Eric's statement just underlines that there's some merit in the rockist distrust of pop, too. —Contra Chuck and Simon, I don't think that "if rockism means anything it's This is a Significant Piece of Work by One Of The Most Important Artists of Our Time." Rockism is about who's real and who's fake, and who's got integrity and who's been compromised. That's why rockist statements keep recurring and have cultural force, because people feel compromised.

I'm not claiming, by the way, that people who make the sort of statements that jump out at me as "rockist" are evidencing some sort of ideological commitment and thought-out critique. It's usually just people spouting off, having some preference and reaching into the culture for words supporting the preference, words that feel strong and true when you say them even if they contradict what you said 10 minutes ago and are going to say 10 minutes later.
Like · Reply · May 12 at 12:58am

Frank Kogan One thing I find extremely problematic in Eric's statement is that it seems to conflate "outsider" and "disruptor." Then again, that's one thing that's problematic about a lot of rock and pop and disco (etc.) too. It's something people like Bob Dylan found problematic about themselves, I'm sure.
Like · Reply · May 12 at 1:09am
*Ann's thread-starting post went, "I'm overwhelmed by the hyperbole surrounding Lemonade, yet I do think Beyonce might be the one to have finally and fully defeated rockism." I downloaded the whole thread and can email it to you if you'd rather read it that way, with the "See More"s clicked and the nested threads expanded. Or you can click the link. As I said, that the thread is stupid and floundering doesn't necessarily make it boring.

I'm trying not to really be on Facebook. I joined Facebook and friended Tina LaConte (who's now dropped me or cut herself loose) so that she could give me an invite to the Campus Restaurant Revisited community (the Campus Restaurant was the freak hangout across from my high school). I friended David Cooper Moore because that was the only way he could get me onto Turntable FM, which no longer exists. Besides Dave and CRR, the only things that ever appear on my Facebook feed are Montgomery Gentry and the Kinks, whom I'd listed in my music interests. (But how come Tymee and T-ara and Ashlee never show up?) Ann's thread came into sight when Dave posted on it.

**Btw. I don't think that this is a tradeoff you have to make. You can both defeat an enemy and understand her. In fact the latter ought to help you do the former. But my rockwrite/musicwrite world's failure to even try to understand just highlights my contention that it's pretty thoroughly capitulated to what I've been calling the "hallway," to the need to position oneself in relation to other people at the expense of understanding the world. (Again, that shouldn't be a tradeoff. Doing one well ought to make you better at the other.)

***Says that only rock embodies these ideals, that is.

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I have nothing intelligent to contribute right now. or later either, probably. but that aside about the hallway helps. have you read The Rebel Sell? it's... not really related to the whole rockism question but kind of? it's about rebellion and "authenticity" getting co-opted almost as soon as the ideas were introduced. reading it again for the first time in a while I found it a little smug and too interested in patting itself on the back for its ventures into "political incorrectness" (which is authenticity from a slightly different starting political position) but still useful. also the recent Atlantic piece on Starbucks orders as identity- making. ANYWAY I am going to stop blathering and go back to working [wrote a bunch of self-insulting words here and then deleted them].

In regard to your self-insulting words: Perhaps we should discuss this more thoroughly behind a friends wall on your own lj, but I've been meaning to post a comment there suggesting that your constant anguish and self-doubt demonstrate why — at least in the short-run — the hallway tends to stymie and strangle the classroom online: one's first impulse in a conversation is to wonder where one's self is potentially under threat — how you come across personally and what social type you're perceived as. So the need to identify types and alliances and social markers and hairstyle is way more immediate than the need to understand someone else's actual ideas. We're likely programmed biologically to look out for risks first, before seeking opportunities. The mind tends to shut off once one arrives at a position appropriate to the sort of person one is. Examining ideas and rethinking one's typologies enough to be surprised — that comes later, if at all. (But again, if you don't shut off, this ought ultimately to help you do a better job of understanding people and types and alliances and threats etc. So there doesn't have to be a tradeoff between hallway and classroom.)

The word "co-opt" is stereotyped and lazy in Eric Weisbard's formulation. Specifically, he's being stereotyped and lazy in assuming that the white middle class* always "co-opts" and never adapts and intensifies. (Which Eric doesn't necessarily assume. It was just a lazy sentence he wrote.) Also, for a rebellion to turn truly disruptive, I'd think it would have to substantially commodify itself in order to finance itself. But commodifying something doesn't necessarily tame it. Suppose there's a bigger market for it untamed than tamed.

*Eric didn't use the word "middle class," but he should have. Historically, rebellions that stick tend to come from the disaffected middle class, not from the mostly powerless and definitely not from true outsiders, who have little constituency. At least, that's what my shallow reading of history tells me.

Edited at 2016-05-15 08:01 am (UTC)

Regarding 'authenticity' we still may not be close to entirely sculpting it out of the stone but we do have a general idea of what it looks like. The most authentic music continues to be social / ritual music that is precisely what it purports to be - this is choral music that uplifts the spirit, liturgical music that addresses the divine, folk music that entertains and creates kinship / produces sittlichtkeit. Folk music - the common passed down canonical often anonymous songs of an ethnoculture - has one of the strongest claims to authenticity. Not only does it exist as a shared heritage, but its association with the 'folk' connect it to political ideas about proletarianism and populism in addition to its socio roles.

Once names start going on compositions we begin to move away from this fundamental self-understood paradigm. With classical music this is a challenge to authenticity but court forms + canons are also tightly embedded into specific cultural and historical paradigms so while authenticity might not be the predominant consideration it isn't entirely "inauthentic" either. Benjamin traces the destruction of authenticity to the crisis of reproduction - he is talking about lithographs but the move from live performance to recorded performance would carry some of the auratic destruction too that we see in the visual.

The authentic is immediate, it is personable, it is shared, it is present, it is historical, it does something. Importantly none of these descriptions apply particularly to the pop/rock canons of Western popular music which exists mostly to express the individuated personality of the performer, or to sell records (embedded tightly in a capitalist economic process). I think I agree with you here, Frank - poptimism did nothing different from rockism but change the characters. Both rock and pop share all the same deficiencies of authenticity from my pov. As an identity/diversity movement it was a success (bc now you can read about Beyonce in the New Yorker) but as an attempt to reclaim authenticity it made the assumption that some artists are more authentic than others but ignored the fact that replicability and authorship itself are the daggers at the heart of authenticity.

If you're not sure if this distinction is true go to your church, or choir, or perform a musical, or sing some tunes with some friends at a meal, and compare that participatory experience to the experience of listening to anyone else's recording in any other circumstance. (And to a lesser extent contrast a live concert to any home recording.) It is a vivid contrast.

What is much more interesting to me is the process by which authored music pass into an authentic folk vernacular ie when a song has become fully owned and assimilated into lived experiences of the general pop. Certain Chassidic Rebbes have said that melodies/tunes from a low source (like popular tavern drinking songs) can be transmuted into a higher plane by being used for ritual, holy purpose. Metaphorically this is how I understand a process of authentication working - something from an owned, gated, authored source becoming owned by the people at large. I don't know that poptimism created conditions by which this was more possible but I do think it's possible to argue that the songs they championed (extremely well selling + omnipresent tracks) are those more likely to be embraced on this broader collective level and that some of the songs they derided (extremely obscure, difficult, challenging compositions) were never accessible enough to the people.

Tierless Tinkerbell's wedding bells

Melanie from Chocolat is getting married to her boyfriend, who is in the US Air Force. She must be the first "97-liner" to drop out of the biz and get married. Meanwhile, Tia has a regular gig on Arirang Radio.

Re: Tierless Tinkerbell's wedding bells

I think about 100 years ago, 19 would've been an average marrying age (in West Civ, anyway); now there are so many questions as to why someone would marry that young — as there should be.

Curious about husband's ancestry, which, like Melanie's, seems mixed. (Well, we all have mixed ancestry, but some mixtures currently are more hot-button sociologically than others.)

No mention that I can find if she's to keep singing.

Re: Tierless Tinkerbell's wedding bells

As you may have read, there are practical reasons for Melanie and her boyfriend to get married:
It's common for military members to marry young. You get more pay and better accommodations. So there is a good incentive if you are in love to tie the knot. She gets health coverage and other benefits as part of it too.

Re: Tierless Tinkerbell's wedding bells

I took this graph from vox.com — Eliza Barclay interviewing Moira Weigel, author of Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating.

 photo Marriage age.jpg

Was surprised the avg. marriage age for women was at least 20 all the way through (I'd guessed that 100 years ago it was about 19), but also that the youngest age was relatively recent, in the 1950s. I suspect affluence was pushing the age down then (you could afford to start a household early) even as greater freedom and women's independence was working in the other direction; and my guess would be, looking at this, that prior to the 1950s needing money to marry was pushing the marriage age higher, even while the pressure on women to marry and settle down (and be supported by a husband) was making it not so high — but then I'd have expected lower marriage ages in the relatively well-off 1920s than in the Great Depression 1930s, which wasn't really the case (it's only slightly lower in the 1920s, and higher for men). So basically I don't know how to interpret what I'm seeing. (U.S. Data; I don't know Melanie's official nationality, but I'm guessing that she's more part of the U.S. overseas community than part of Korea, though I may be all wrong about that.)

Edited at 2016-06-20 04:58 pm (UTC)

More from me on that Facebook thread (in response to more from Eric and Chuck)

Frank Kogan Eric, that's certainly gracious of you, and I would be happy to get together in SD or elsewhere, should the circumstances arise. But as for your not being able to engage this all again, I'm skeptical that you, individually and collectively, ever engage it much at all in the first place. Discussions of "rockism" are always borderline vacuous, are what people in my rockwrite/musicwrite world do instead of having actual ideas much less communicating those ideas to one another and mastering someone else's. This thread is typical, and it isn't as if there's some discussion of rockism elsewhere that has more substance.

And a quick counter to your stereotyped narrative of the counterculture co-opting the rebel role: bikers and working-class ruffians in the 1940s engage in their weekend riots and debauchery but never work to make such temporary disruptions (if they even are a disruption) an ongoing challenge to a social structure. It's members of the disaffected middle class, the Brando types, who try to define the weekend blowouts as containing the seeds of a genuine challenge to authority, who imagine transformative possibilities rather than just workaday discontent. Not that my narrative is more a true prototype than some co-optation narrative. I just find your wording real lazy and pandering, rounding up the usual suspects ("white" "male") who engage in typical malfeasance ("co-opt," as opposed to, say, "adapt" and "transform" and "intensify"). I don't know what "transcommodify" means in relation to regular old "commodify," but for a rebellion to turn truly disruptive, I'd think it would have to substantially commodify itself in order to finance itself. But commodifying something doesn't necessarily tame it. Suppose there's a bigger market for it untamed than tamed.

As for the "white male counterculture"; this seems akin to talking about "white male Judaism"; it's one thing to call a society "patriarchal," another to call it "male," the latter usage being perverse. In any event, if you'd gone to my high school when I did you would have seen, in the shitty little shopping strip across the street, some white male teenagers who'd cut classes and were hanging out smoking in front of Storrs Drug, as if staring at us from the stage side of a proscenium arch. If that's all you knew of the freaks, of the counterculture, and you never saw whom these guys hung with in the hallways and you never walked 50 feet north of Storrs Drug to the entrance of the Campus Restaurant, and never entered and went down the stairs, you might legitimately think the counterculture was white male. If you did go down the stairs, you'd see as many girls as boys. Or anyway, there are as many women now as men participating in the Campus Restaurant Revisited conversations, for what that's worth statistically. This doesn't mean the roles were the same or equal, obviously. Several years later, in New York City, one of the Storrs Drug boys, Tim Page, complained to me about the casual sexism of the freaks back in the day. But an account of the counterculture that includes Steve Stills but leaves out Judy Collins (not to mention loads of publicists and secretaries and fans etc.) isn't an honest account. (Btw, for all I know Judy Collins herself hung out at the Campus Restaurant. I know virtually nothing about the couple of years she spent in Storrs, when I was still in elementary school.)
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Newport Redux pt. 1

Frank, I spent several months last year trying to figure out what was going on the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, the one where Dylan played "Maggie's Farm" with Mike Bloomfield and a bunch of Chicago and New York rock and blues musicians. At the time, I was working on revising Ed Ward's old 1983 book on Bloomfield, which contained a lot of writing about "authentic" music vs. "real" music and so forth. It was the story of a musician obsessed with being authentic to a form that is one of the foundational texts of rockism, the blues, and a downward spiral in which the said musician never finds the next step beyond blues, at least not in any form that he could translate into any kind of real power. So as I did my revisions and expansions and interviews, what I began to be concerned about was power and how musicians wield it.
I began to see, even more than I think I had already seen in a writing career that found me often concerned with the way musicians think about music as opposed to the way fans think about it, that what Bloomfield lacked was the ability to take himself seriously as someone who had something to say, not just someone who had something to play on his chosen instrument. Yet his entire career after his immersion in pop was an attempt to diversify, find new ways of playing guitar that would allow him to deliver new kinds of content--he liked country music a lot, and had he lived into the current era, or at least until say 2010, he would've been recording in Nashville with Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, maybe Marc Ribot, maybe the McCrary Sisters (black post-gospel group), maybe even with Miranda Lambert or Kris Kristofferson or Guy Clark on a tribute album to Townes Van Zandt. He would've been extolled as a natural resource, much like Steve Stills.
I pick Bloomfield partly because I have a certain sympathy for him, as a doomed fuck-up, and partly because he was almost a great musician, and partly because he's about as tired and moldy an exhibit of Rockism Rampant as you'd want to encounter in the year 2016. Yet the guy liked Leo Sayer! And George Jones, and maybe even the Osmonds, who after all cut records in Alabama.

Newport Redux pt. 2

When you say "at the expense of understanding the world" maybe you're talking about, at least in part, not understanding what the world does to people, to musicians, to artists, and the people who love or like or dismiss those artists. Because Bloomfield is dead, died the year before Lester Bangs died. And what the world does to critics is a big part of what criticism ought to be about, it seems to me, and that's why you have the famed antipathy between say Sarris and Kael or the anti-rockist-rockist debate. Kael wanted to put everything into her work, make the world see what she saw; Sarris wanted to show viewers of movies what artists put into the work without the viewers always noticing what was there. What makes "rock" interesting and still relevant is the way rock artists chart the way the world works on them and the way they can change their minds, which is what happened at Newport with Dylan, who was at once a folkie, a rock artist, a pop star and an ironist. The performance of "Maggie's Farm" is about Dylan standing in dead calm with chaos around him in the form of Bloomfield's guitar solo, which even at the time had to be recognized by a few blues fans in the audience as totally derivative of someone like Elmore James, who was also a pop musician--an adaptable guy--and a rocker and an ironist. Is it anti-rockist to honor Elmore James as a pop musician? Why would an anti-rockist want to get rid of a guy like that, anyway? And at Newport, the elements of pop were there in the guise of folk music in the straw hat of country music, which had already begun its Drive to Americana in the way it co-opted folk by giving folkies like Judy Henske and Joan Baez plenty of "authentic" material that of course was written by tunesmiths in suburban enclaves.
So what I'm trying to get at is that the mechanism for dismantling anti-rockism was already in place in 1965. In fact, Dylan did get booed, but he also got something else, a collective murmur of recognition, during his infamous electric performance, part of which was spoiled because Jerome Arnold, the Butterfield Band's bassist, had never heard Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" on the radio, and it was already a hit, undeniable, part of the landscape, by the time Newport started in July. Jerome was a rockist--he didn't trust the radio.
But would I say Jerome Arnold was therefore compromised? Do all musicians necessarily keep up with all new developments? Do you think Buddy Miller takes time off to attend to Meghan Trainor or Taylor Swift or Beyonce? And in general, there is some merit in the rockist distrust of pop. There are several thousand quasi-country, quasi-pop, quasi-folk artists operating in Nashville and other Americana outposts at the moment, busy scrambling all the categories, and yes, that sounds like a simplistic apology for a nonexistent genre. But basically, most of these folks, the ones under 30, trust pop music implicitly whether or not they want to admit it, and so their versions of folk and country often come across as fatally compromised even when you sense that they are "authentic" or even moving, or even somewhat true to the idiom they take off from. In this sense, they've walked a million miles away from how Mike Bloomfield looked at the relationship between pop and rock. --Edd Hurt, Aug. 11, 2016

Re: Newport Redux pt. 2

Edd, it's great to hear from you, and these comments of yours are terrific. What I hope to do someday is paste them, and some of my own ideas, into a post of its own, adding my own thoughts about "Maggie's Farm." (I notice that in the Newport performance Dylan and the Butterfield Band backup drop the brief chord changes in bars 14 and 15 to turn the song almost into a one-chord groove — I assume this was owing to the personnel and performance being very ad hoc.)

In case it wasn't clear (though I'm guessing it was), I don't think "rockism" and "rockist" are usable terms; I certainly don't think they can be rescued from the vacuous, ponderous usage of the modern-day antirockists; the only reason I was using those words, in the post above and in the two Las Vegas Weekly pieces I linked, was to try to get at what was going on with the antirockists, what germs of potentially being interesting are in them, were they to drop the words and choose to be less vacuous and ponderous (and what was interesting about less ponderous predecessors like Pete Wylie and ilk).

Obv. one can call the people booing Dylan at Newport "rockists," and Jerome Arnold for not listening to the radio. (Btw, I'm not listening to radio all that much this month, or streaming a lot that's modern.) But one can equally call Dylan "rockist" for not wanting to work on Maggie's farm, or — in "Like A Rolling Stone" — for presenting pimps and whores and derelicts as more real than diplomats and limousines and princesses. But a better way of thinking about Newport 1965 is that we have a whole bunch of competing romanticisms, every one (and everyone) with good reasons, and I'm kind of on everyone's side in this fight, the booers and the (pop)rockers and the flailing blues/post-blues guitarist. And I think I'd be on the various sides of their modern-day equivalents, in K-pop or EDM or wherever.

Edited at 2016-08-19 06:07 am (UTC)

Frank, "Like a Rolling Stone" has to be the first non-authentic authentic electric folk song ever recorded, because it's the most unpremeditated--it was caught in one take. When you listen to the outtakes from "Highway 61," you hear "Like a Rolling Stone" in many forms, most notably a crippled waltz. What Dylan wanted was the Byrds, not blues, as exemplified by his famous admonition to Bloomfield, "I don't want any of that B. B. King shit." And what Bloomfield plays on the record is by far the most pop music he ever committed to wax, nothing else he ever did addresses the larger audience in anything approaching the same way.
I interviewed Peter Yarrow for the book. Here's what he told me about the animating spirit of music, which I guess you could equate to "authenticity" if you count pride of place and tactile impressions as "real," I know I do:

Talking about the 1965 Newport Folk Festival fifty years later, Peter Yarrow remembered Dylan’s set as an experiment that had gone wrong.
“The only song that worked at all was ‘Maggie’s Farm,’” he said. “I was mixing it at the time, so I know what it sounded like. It sounded
horrible. There was so much leakage that it was ridiculous.”
In Yarrow’s estimation, the controversy over Dylan going electric had everything to do with Dylan’s intentions, not his use of amplified
guitars. “Looked at in retrospect, why would it be OK for the blues singers to have amplification?” he asked. “Well, it was OK because that
was part of the way they performed anyhow. So where do you draw the line? The point was, it wasn’t a line. It was the spirit with which something was shared.”

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