Are we alright, Ma?

Bob Dylan Performing “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m only Bleeding)” in Chicago, 1974

Looking at society through his own personal lens, an artist can become inspired to create a song that will show his opinion. A singular guitar and voice focus on the flaws and propaganda in our culture.

       The song “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m only Bleeding)” begins with a lone guitar. The artist, Bob Dylan, soon after fills the speakers with his signature raspy tone.

     “Darkness at the break of noon.” The opening line incorporates lyrics relative to the book Darkness at Noon written by the author Arther Koestler.

     Along with nods to the novel, Dylan’s song also references many lyrics from Elvis Pressley’s song “That’s Alright, now, Mama.” Elvis’ first single originally only intended for his mother.

Dylan’s song references the culture flaws that he believes to have witnessed and how society is driven by propaganda and bias.

“As some warn victory, some downfall Private reasons great or small Can be seen in the eyes of those that call”.

File:Stop The Steal, January 6, 2021 St. Paul, Minn.jpg
January 7, 2021 – St. Paul, Minn. — Large crowd gathers to surround the capital, Chad Davis

The two extremes that he has viewed in the society he lives in. He says “some warn Victory,” that they believe that the place they are in now or that they believe they are in now is a place of winning and success, but in the second half of that sentence he says that the same people who control the lives of the people winning, are watching the people who are failing.

     This line can be related to the current situation society finds itself in. There are two extreme sides that we see. This split comes in the political landscape which has now more than ever spilled into everyday life. Making your politics something that people judge you off of. If you are a supporter of one party, others will immediately shove you into a group with people you don’t relate to at all. 

Whether it is Morals, Beliefs or more judging people based off of these things has dramatically gone up in the past years.

 “Advertising signs that con you Into thinking you’re the one.”

Bob Dylan, “It’s Alright, ma (i’m only bleeding)”

“Advertising signs that con you Into thinking you’re the one.” Dylan mentions that Propaganda is one of the main driving forces that has caused the extremes he is talking about. That through media and school people form opinions that they don’t truly believe in and have not formulated themselves. Whether it is gaining some political beliefs through the news or a teacher or maybe an idea that is taught to them.

     The Propaganda Dylan saw is similar to the current climate in the United States nowadays. People watch, listen or read to the news and all they can find is the extreme. No one reporting both sides of the story. They see either the far left ridiculing the right, or the far right ridiculing the left and then have to figure out which side they think is less ridiculous and reasonable.

     Bob Dylan wrote the song “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m only Bleeding)” to express the things that disturb him in 1965. Coincidently decades later it can still be related to what disturbs many people about our world. But like Bob Dylan wishes in his song, hopefully this split will be mended soon.