Dylan Oversight (HUM425)

One major oversight regarding the Dylan/Chrysler commercial. Sarah pointed out the way that one shot in particular– Dylan at the pool table ringed by middle-aged men– essentially constructed an audience for this advertisement along generational lines. A remark that followed up on this insight observed that such an age-specific group is almost built-in to the commodity itself: after all, who’s going to buy a Chrysler anyway? It was an oversight on our (my) part not to carry this question of reception even further. The pool table scene suggests a fraternal relationship between (the miraculously brunette) Dylan and then men behind him (who simultaneously function as kind of backdrop– mere visual terrain). Yet the “creatures who live on [the American road]”– specifically the young woman with her somewhat alluring expression– indicate that the gaze that is being solicited here is not only older and masculine, but heterosexual.

Or is this absolutely the case? Could different readings and receptions effectively “queer” the commercial such that, say, the presence of James Dean and the (often camp) icon of the American cowboy offer viewers an alternate identification?

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