At “Clap, Clap,” Mike Barthel has an interesting essay on Miley Cyrus that dovetails nicely on my thoughts on I’m Not There. He wrote:
If the construction of character through multiple streams that duplicate and build on existing information just seems like the way the media works–thenÂ Hannah MontanaÂ fits right in.Â
Substitute “Dylan” for “Hannah Montana” and his thoughts on the construction of celebrity are right on point. John Lydon had it wrong – his public image belongs to all of us, and it’s created from fact and fiction, the things he did and the things he’s purported to have done. It’s the product of his behavior offstage and the roles he has played, including talent show judge and reality TV contestant. The truth and the tall tales play equal parts in creating our understanding of any public figure, and that definitely includes Dylan, who has chosen to participate in the process in his own way by writing Chronicles, recording Modern Times, and doing a radio show that reinforces certain elements of the image while adding new, sentimental wrinkles at the same time. Barthel contends that the creation of celebrity has become its own form of entertainment and, to extend his thought, The Daily 10, the slick tabloids and Ryan Seacrest are on the cutting edge of covering it while creating it. It’s a form of entertainment that has its own language – Brangelina, Bennifer, BFF – that’s startling in its glib emptiness – but it’s no more insular than the language of Dylanologists. Bob invented so many things – might as well add Debbie Matenopoulos to the list.