the Vatican rags Bob Dylan

L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, yesterday came out with a list of Top 10 rock and pop albums of all time.  They admitted it was a “semi-serious” attempt to offer suggests in case you got stuck on a deserted island.  Lost‘s one-note thump of an opening theme didn’t make it.

1:  Revolver…The Beatles
2:  Dark Side Of The Moon…Pink Floyd
3:  (What’s The Story) Morning Glory…Oasis
4:  Thriller… Michael Jackson
5:  Achtung Baby…U2
6:   Rumours…Fleetwood Mac
7:  The Nightfly…Donald Fagen
8:   Supernatural…Carlos Santana
9.   Graceland…Paul Simon
10.  If I Could Only Remember My Name…David Crosby

(from Marc. A. Catone, I can’t find a direct translation of the article – I assume it will appear later in their English weekly edition)

Apparently, this was a light-hearted response to what they describe as the “cheesy” music festivals going on around Italy this time of year.  I somehow picture the Trapp family at the Salzburg Festival by way of Eurovision, with more gesticulation.  I may be wrong.

Revolver was also picked as the Top Rock/Pop Album of all Time by (baby boomer leaning) Rolling Stone.

I’ve  owned only one: U2’s Achtung Baby. In the 70’s you didn’t actually need own either Dark Side of the Moon or Rumours – you heard every song on them on the radio and at friends’ houses on regular rotation.

And for some reason my stuffy 50’s-reminiscing parents loved Webber and Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar, which they literally played all the way through every Easter weekend.  And they also loved Godspell and took me to see it at the Studio Arena theater when I was 11, where we sat in the front row and actress Lynne Thigpen – later The Chief on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? – kept smiling and winking at me.  (for a fleeting moment at the start of my adolescence everything came together and I was damn good looking)

And interesting that two of the artists, Don Fagen and Carlos Santana, were at least at some point  – and both may very well still be – practicing Nichiren Buddhists.

Interesting, too (and this is where I turn snarky – or at least as snarky as I get)…

Bob Dylan was pointedly left out, and the article’s writers, Giuseppe Fiorentino and Gaetano Vallini, pointedly explain why, via the Wall Street Journal

Dylan was excluded from the list despite his “great poetic vein” because he paved the way for generations of unprofessional singer-songwriters who have “harshly tested the ears and patience of listeners”…

Yes, that’s right –

The Catholic Church “condemns” a groundbreaking innovator because his followers think they are living up to his example but are in fact tone deaf to it.

Now, I’m an idiot six ways to Sunday, and my pile of shortcomings is the only thing tall about me.  I am a lesser man than most, and I think I know that.  I will listen attentively to your opinion as long as you are not hypocritical – or lying about your facts – or have an “opinion” that informs you to hurt people who have nothing to do with you.  At least I think I will; if I am a hypocrite please tell me.  I hate hypocrisy and will call it out.

I won’t go into a litany of the Catholic Church’s transgressions here – some of which have touched my life.  It’s pretty easy to find them eagerly listed on the internet.  But I know and work with devoutly Catholic men and women whose lives are so much larger than mine – including a convent of damn cool social activist nuns around my corner (literally).

For myself, I practiced the same Buddhism as Fagen and Santana for 27 years – devoted my life to it, before I dropped out last year.  Sorry Vatican, but it wasn’t Buddha who said

Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged.
Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned.


One response to “the Vatican rags Bob Dylan

  1. I disagree – you’re not a lesser man than most. I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. At any rate, a lot of the albums on their list were fairly predictable though. What was surprising to me was that the Vatican actually has a top ten list in the first place.

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