English Learner Portfolio

John Birch Society

Dylan’s use of imagery… does it help him protest?

Definitely as Dylan uses imagery to showcase the ridiculous nature of looking for communists as if they are everywhere, ‘in the air’, ‘on the ground’, ‘in my tv set’ or even on the ‘American flag’ which is ironic and therefore achieving a comedic effect. The ridiculousness is presented further by showing the exaggerated extent that ‘I’ have gone to look for communism as ‘I looked way up my chimney hole and ‘looked deep down inside [his] toilet bowl’. 

What is he protesting?

I think Dylan was obviously trying to showcase how ignorant and ridiculous the red scare was at the time and the song “Talkin’ John Birch Society’ is used to explore how mindless people were at the time. However, I think it isn’t just the red scare that Bob Dylan is talking about, on a greater scale, I think the issue he reveals is the lack of critical thinking amongst the people. The tendency for society to blindly follow what is being fed to them without thinking critically for themselves about the right and wrongs of their action. It is also a form of protest against the manipulative use of media and propaganda from the government to control the minds of the population.


What would he protest about today?

I think it would be more or less the same thing – media has never been used this effectively in history as a manipulative tool for propangada etc. The amount of fake news and extremely biased texts are constantly being fed to everyone and many people have lost the sense of judgement between what is true and what is not. 


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