Bob Dylan's recent concert in China represents "a whole new kind of sellout," writes Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, "even worse than Beyoncé, Mariah and Usher collecting millions to croon to Gadhafi’s family, or Elton John raking in a fortune to serenade gay-bashers at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding." Dylan played a Communist Party-approved selection of songs that avoided anything anti-authoritarian or political. "He sang his censored set, took his pile of Communist cash, and left," writes Dowd.
But, Dowd notes that Dylan has long since moved away from strident politics. The Chinese government was "trying to guard the audience from some figure who hasn’t existed in 40 years," says a Princeton historian who wrote a book about Dylan. Still, Dowd concludes, "Maybe the songwriter should reread some of his own lyrics: 'I think you will find/When your death takes its toll/All the money you made/Will never buy back your soul.'"