First Listen: Bob Dylan, ‘The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11′ – “Recorded during a period of seclusion after Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle accident, The Basement Tapes present the already-iconic figure as he intentionally departs from the confrontational invective and tightly wound wordplay of the triumphs in his recent past — among them the single “Like A Rolling Stone” and the album Blonde On Blonde. Driven by what sounds like a desire to simplify his art, he begins by diving deeply into traditional American gospel (“My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It”) and modern offshoots (a tremendous version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”), folk (“Po’Lazurus”) and country (Johnny Cash’s “Big River” and “Folsom Prison Blues”). The Band’s Robbie Robertson has said that during this early phase, Dylan was “educating” his collaborators on folk and other styles they’d only recently encountered; they’d been primarily an R&B band before the Dylan tour. From there, Dylan wrote at a torrid clip, generating simple ballads, allegorical blues and story songs. These follow the general outlines of the covers; they eschew fancy language in favor of blunt declarations, and are built on the crisp, regular cadences of the blues. Though they’re not exactly heavy treatises, Dylan does at times venture into heavy topics — like the nature of goodness, salvation and the meaning of existence, themes he tackled more directly on his next album, John Wesley Harding.”
A new green anthem – “Who is going to stand up and save the earth … this all starts with you and me.” A blunt-force environmentalist protest song — “End fracking now,” Neil Young demands at one point. Even Alan Jones might play this one from the Storytone album due out early next month.
The Pope and the Precipice – “To grasp why events this month in Rome — publicly feuding cardinals, documents floated and then disavowed — were so remarkable in the context of modern Catholic history, it helps to understand certain practical aspects of the doctrine of papal infallibility. On paper, that doctrine seems to grant extraordinary power to the pope — since he cannot err, the First Vatican Council declared in 1870, when he “defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.” In practice, though, it places profound effective limits on his power. Those limits are set, in part, by normal human modesty: “I am only infallible if I speak infallibly, but I shall never do that,” John XXIII is reported to have said. But they’re also set by the binding power of existing teaching, which a pope cannot reverse or contradict without proving his own office, well, fallible — effectively dynamiting the very claim to authority on which his decisions rest.”
It’s my belief and I’m sticking to it – “Part of the reason American voters have become more polarized in recent decades is that both sides feel better-informed. … A common response to this increasing polarization is to call for providing more unbiased facts. But in a phenomenon that psychologists and economists call “confirmation bias,” people tend to interpret additional information as additional support for their pre-existing ideas.”
Your Creativity Might Be Stifled by Your Expertise – “It’s great to be an expert, right? Of course it is. But is it possible that your expertise is actually undermining your ability to think creatively and be open to new ideas? Recent research has revealed that this is exactly what can happen. Innovation–by definition–includes an element of newness. The more you know about a topic, though, the less likely you are to be open to truly groundbreaking advances in the same area. Put another way, the expertise that got you ahead can actually limit your creativity and willingness to consider new ideas.”
Comcast: Broadband battleground – “The group may become the world’s largest media company. Content companies are worried. … The recent, shortlived $71bn bid for Time Warner, owner of HBO and CNN, from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox was driven in part by a need to create a company big enough to stare down Comcast in negotiations on distribution over its cable systems.”