Rimbaud once said that creativity is the greatest form of rebellion, a sentiment that I mostly agree with, and can completely understand after having read some of his poetry. There is a strong vitality to his work, an intensity and dissatisfaction that draws the reader in and communicates Rimbaud's feelings of nearly universal disgust. It seems that he sees a general sickness in the world, a corruption in human society, in its cities and lifestyles, altogether a frighteningly bleak vision of rampant materialism and corrupted morals. But the poet never even attempts to come up with an alternative. Last year I read Bob Dylan's recently published autobiography Chronicles and he and Rimbaud seem to be kindred spirits in a lot of ways.
[...] to fame, almost everything popular was examined and assigned to a political and when listening to some of Dylan's songs one can easily see why so many left-wing radicals made the mistake of assigning him to their side. His hit single “Hurricane” serves as a good example. “Hurricane” tells the story of the African American boxer Hurricane Carter who was wrongly imprisoned for the murder of a white couple. This song was released during the height of the black militant, Civil Rights fervor that was sweeping parts of the country and dominating headlines, and Carter's experience carries heavy significance for American race relations. [...]
[...] Their artwork carries so much weight and potential that had they been able to decide where their allegiance lies, where they felt their conscious application could move the world for the better, I have no doubt that they could have left an indelible mark on many people's lives, instead of on the all-time record for album sales or the disaffected urban intellectual's book collection. Arthur Rimbaud and Bob Dylan had discovered their immense talent and their creative ability at a very young age, but they didn't take the next step: in Rimbaud's case articulating what it is he dislikes about European society and deciding how it is possible to change it, and in [...]
[...] Bob Marley, a man whose artwork is without equal in its genre, was not afraid to take that next step. His music, while drawing totally from his personal viewpoint, experiences and emotions, also hopes to bring about concrete and defined changes. His last album Uprising, the concluding chapter in what was meant to be a musical trilogy released over a period of three years, clearly defines what he himself hoped for, and what he hoped his listeners would come to sympathize with: the formation of a socialist Jamaica governed by African Jamaicans. [...]
[...] This deranged flight from his previous life could, in my opinion, parallel Dylan's creative downfall. Rimbaud's life was a sad one, and in Europe everywhere he looked that sadness looked back at him. The life of cities became too much for him: something in European life repelled him, something intangible that worked at his psyche, something that he'd been grappling with his entire life. The deplorable, in his opinion, direction civilization was taking gave him something to write about, but at a terrible cost, as it seemed impossible for him to find happiness there. [...]
[...] But the creative rebels have no hope, and indeed no will, to channel their visions in any hope of helping the suffering and the oppressed that are serving as their muse. Later in his career, distressed by his near god-like status in public culture (some had taken to calling him a Dylan made an active effort to distance himself from the myriad of left-wing movements. He went to Jerusalem and had a picture taken of himself in front of the Western Wall with a skullcap and overnight the newspapers had turned him into a Zionist. [...]
using our reader.