Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

I Know, This Is a Hobbyhorse Of Mine....

Bob Dylan has always been inscrutable and surprising. As is acknowledged in the new Todd Haynes movie where five different versions of Dylan are played by five different actors- including Cate Blanchett. But I don't suppose he has ever done anything more bewildering to his fans than appear in the advert that's currently playing on American screens where he sits at the wheel of a horrible great gas guzzler and inscrutably mutters the words some adman wrote for him. So is this Bob the sphinx wrong-footing us again or merely Bob the greedy celeb pocketing his wad?  We'll never know and the pros and cons will be argued over by Dylan cabalists until the end of time.

But maybe Haynes needs to revise his movie and introduce us to a sixth Bob-  Bob the cold calling  salesman. Ideal casting would be the late Jack Lemmon at his sweatiest and most desperate.

Yeah, I'm annoyed. I know Bob has previous. He did a lingerie ad. But that was somehow so way out and cheesy you could pretend it never happened or that Bob was being satirical or something.  And while I know he's not a prophet I always thought he was his own man. I always thought I could trust him to speak to us in his own voice.

Are there any celebs out there prepared to take a principled stand on commercials? Yes, there are some. I saw a list once and I believe Jack Nicholson was on it. I think of Jack as a nasty, sleazy bit of work but I honour him for this.

I don't suppose I really go as far as Bill Hicks- "If you do an ad....you're off the artistic roll-call"; I'm not going to bin my Dylan CDs and if I refused to watch anything starring an actor who did ads I might just as well get rid of my TV. But it does sadden me when someone whose talent I respect pops up and tries to sell me something I don't want. Stephen Fry for instance. Stephen Fry is a permanent fixture on British TV. I think they must have passed a law that if he doesn't appear on screen at least once a day fines will be levied. He does drama, he does comedy, he does games-shows, he does documentaries. And he also does ads for Twinings tea.  He's a very rich man, he's a very busy man. What possible motive can he have- apart from greed- for doing the tea gig?

Maybe he loves Twinings tea. Maybe he loves Twinings tea so much he's giving his time and talent for free....

And then there's Anne Widdecombe. Anne used to be a government minister- with a reputation for being moralistic and bossy. She's a churchwoman. And recently she fronted a documentary where she was out on the mean streets of some brassy nighttown lecturing prostitutes and hoodies on the error of their ways. She was a bit of a joke and more than a little annoying, but there was never any reason to question her sincerity. Until now. Because now she's appearing in an ad for pasta. Anne the crusader becomes Anne the pasta salesperson. Doesn't she see how this wipes out everything she ever stood for, everything she ever did?
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