THE BLOOD OF THE LAND IN MY VOICE  4:21 pm May 13, 2011

Bob Dylan Poetically Tells Media People They’re All Still Idiots

by Ken Layne

There must be somethin' happenin' but you still don't know what it is, do you, Miss Dowd?Bob Dylan does things on his own schedule. For a half century now, newspaper people and other media cretins have regularly parachuted into Bob Dylan Land, taken a confused look around, and then ran back to their typewriters or radio mics or television studios or laptops or, we guess, cell phones with the Twitter, in attempts to stir up some newsstand sales or page views or Facebook likes or other forms of venereal disease of the heart, by claiming Bob Dylan did this or that thing. In nearly every recorded instance, Bob Dylan didn’t do whatever people said he did, or he did something that could only be loosely associated with, say, some asinine column by Maureen Dowd, who spends a lot of time lamenting “the greatest generation,” meaning, “when she was a young person, in the 1970s.”

So, many months after a brief media flurry regarding Dylan’s never-ending musical tour making a stop in China, a statement has appeared on BobDylan.com. It is informative, if you care at all about whether or not Chinese government authorities “approved” the set list of a senior citizen and longtime Malibu resident with a long career in show business. But it is also very funny, especially the end:

As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There’s no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous 3 months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play.

Everybody knows by now that there’s a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I’m encouraging anybody who’s ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them.

[BobDylan.com/LA Times]

 
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{ 124 comments }

V572..whatever May 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Everyone should read Chronicles, Volume 1 at their earliest opportunity. It's amazingly good.

WhatTheHeck May 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

No can do. I’m currently in the basement mixing up the medicine to fix the media cretins.

forgracie May 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I'm on the pavement, thinkin' 'bout the government…

undeterredbyreality May 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

And surprisingly snark-free.

Cheetah Repeater May 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Yes, yes and yes. Had no idea what it would be like but I couldn't stop reading it. Even when it ended! He's a good writer.

V572..whatever May 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Which shouldn't surprise us. It was surprising to find him so self-effacing, kind to others, and willing to reveal less-than-flattering aspects of his life. At one point some musicians in New Orleans ask him, "Why don't you write songs like 'Masters of War' and 'Chimes of Freedom' anymore?" If only….

riverside68 May 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Suze Rotolo, Freewheelin Girl: She was the daughter of Italian Communists with her own ideas about life, art and politics

What boys will do to get laid: create great art.

V572..whatever May 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm

She died a while back. Terry Gross replayed an interview with her. Here it is:http://www.wbur.org/npr/134158270/remembering-suze-rotolo-dylans-freewheeling-muse

GuyClinch May 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Show us the long-form set list!

Troubledog May 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Next thing you know this smug self-righteous asshole will get invited to the White House on poetry day.

ChessieNefercat May 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

It's okay, though, he's white.

sati_demise May 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Steve Martin and his banjo bumped him for the smug self-righteous asshole slot this year.

Troubledog May 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Anything as long as it's not that America-hating fascist Mark Russell.

Callyson May 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing. There’s no logical answer to that
Well, "It's not your concern" comes to mind as a logical answer…perhaps Bob Dylan needs a weatherman after all…

RavenRant May 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm

That works real well with the PRC.

Callyson May 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm

I know, but it would sure be nice to see *someone* not cave to censorship in China. Yes–I'm an eternal optimist, or incredibly deluded…

RavenRant May 14, 2011 at 12:10 am

People have stood up – They are in prison now. Dylan simply wouldn't have been allowed to play.

I get your point though. Our media glosses over the censorship and repression because of the sweet, sweet $$$ being made by their owners/sponsors.

I do my best to boycott all Chinese made products, (getting harder all the time, as fewer and fewer products are manufactured anywhere the concept of 'workers rights' or even 'human rights' have taken hold.) It's my own futile little protest.

I also try to speak out about worker abuses, censorship, etc. It seems most Americans have no idea. The assume since trade has 'normalized', conditions must be okay.

When it comes to Dylan, though, he may have thought he could slip some subversive content through to his listeners that the censors wouldn't get. Or, maybe it was all about the benjamins. Given his entire life's work, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

On the other hand, his guest stint on the Victoria's Secret show was inexplicable.

Keep your optimism. To accept the status quo is to surrender to the injustice.

(Sorry. Snark impaired at the moment.)

Jukesgrrl May 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm

They weren't doing anything that ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox wouldn't do.

neiltheblaze May 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Good point.

Arken May 14, 2011 at 8:35 am

I'm pretty indifferent to this whole situation, but I would have thought that the logical answer would be "here's the list of songs I will be playing."

zhubajie May 15, 2011 at 4:07 am

Usually they don't think farther ahead than going to lunch earlier.

baconzgood May 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I hate folk music and especially hippies so I don't give a shit about Bob Dylan. Frankly I think he's waaaaaaaaay over rated and wish that dude from the Jesus Lizard would kick the crap out of him.

(this comment is 100% snark free)

undeterredbyreality May 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Gimme back my bacon.

baconzgood May 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Injun giver!

horsedreamer_1 May 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Yowza!

Goonemeritus May 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Dude……..What's With The Harshitude?

I think someone needs a hug.

Mumbletypeg May 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm

but

“the greatest generation,” meaning, “.. in the 1970s.”

don't forget, let alone the hippies; the 70s did give us Soouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuul Traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiin

(I'm still kinda missing your old avatar I guess)

baconzgood May 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I'll have to find it for you mumble. I liked it too now I can find it anymore. I forgot what I googled.

Angry_Marmot May 14, 2011 at 4:49 am

When the Soul Train animation came on, it signaled that the Saturday morning cartoons were over. It was like hearing "last call."

Cheetah Repeater May 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

I'm the least hippie lovin' guy there is, but Dylan is probably been even more influential than those long-haired Beatle boys in modern music. I urge you to take another look at some Basement Tapes/Blonde on Blonde action.

And if David Yow was as successful we'd be living in a much better world. Or at least more fucked up, in good ways.

baconzgood May 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Fuck yeah brother. I don't poo poo (tee-hee "poo") Dylans influence I just don't like him. I think David Yow has more poignant lyrics.

"Meow Meow Meow Beep Beep
Next time you kids run through my yard go around"

The poetry drips from you chin.

sati_demise May 13, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I have trouble explaining this to people too. He wrote great lyrics, I can recite them. I like his latest release. He sings drunk in concert way too much. hmmmm, no good explanation.

riverside68 May 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

It is my understanding that the feeling is entirely mutual

(Zimmerman hates folk music and hippies, doesn't give a shit about you, and thinks he is way overrated.)

sati_demise May 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm

I dont like clogging, either.

BeWoot May 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I, too, avoid the complex. Don't think twice, it's all right.

problemwithcaring May 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

(this comment is 100% snark free)

I still laughed though.

problemwithcaring May 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm

(this comment is 100% snark free)

charlesdegoal May 14, 2011 at 3:38 am

Do you, Mr. Jones?

pinkocommi May 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm

In this case, fiction is stranger than truth.

Weenus299 May 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm

"awopundnnyaminaaannaianaihh alohjmmnnkis salua OHHH adcmmamamamaaama OHHHHH."

baconzgood May 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Wrap your head around THAT China!

Poindexter718 May 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

They prolly just promised an autographed set list to Kim Jong Il in exchange for some kim-chee and three years of nuclear forebearance.

SorosBot May 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

That's a classy way to respond to Dowd's stupidity; personally I would have just sang Idiot Wind to her (you're an idiot, babe, it's a wonder that you still know how the breathe).

johnnymeatworth May 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Nice, a whole new generation of Mr. Joneses who know something is happening here but don't know what it is.

SayItWithWookies May 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

You never know, somebody might have a great book in them.

This does not apply to Sarah Palin. Unless she happens to eat The Sun Also Rises at some point.

Gleem_McShineys May 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm

No shoving?

FlownOver May 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm

There are other ways she could come to have a great book in her. Did anyone ever happen to publish a particularly jagged-edged edition of Ulysses?

Geminisunmars May 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I thought the way it was written is jagged-edge.

riverside68 May 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Joe McGinniss is all up in her shit workin on gettin a great book out of her at this very moment.

zhubajie May 15, 2011 at 4:09 am

He'll have to write it himself and then stick it up her butt then extract it.

FannyBurney May 14, 2011 at 10:00 am

Yeah, well, if she does, I wanna see the long-form publishing certificate.

undeterredbyreality May 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I'm startin' my book right now. I know he was talkin' to me personally.

Jukesgrrl May 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Let's hope Dame Noonington doesn't think he was talking about her.

neiltheblaze May 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm

No, no – he was talking to Maureen Dowd.

badseeds May 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Someone's got it in for me, they're planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they'd cut it but when they will I can only guess.
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy,
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I can't help it if I'm lucky.

Alt-post: what comes out of Maureen Dowd's mouth.

e: damn it, SorosBot

notreelyhelping May 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I'd write about the time he showed up wearing a hooded parka to "Little Shop of Horrors," but I'm saving that for the book.

cheaphits May 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Now your dancing child with his Chinese suit
He spoke to me, I took his flute
No, I wasn't very cute to him, was I?
But I did it, though, because he lied
Because he took you for a ride
And because time was on his side

Lucidamente1 May 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

"asinine column by Maureen Dowd": that's what my junior high English teacher would have called a redundancy.

SorosBot May 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she writes just like a drunk old gossipy skank

sati_demise May 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm

on snap, bwhaaaahhahaha

metamarcisf May 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Someday I hope to write a novel as good as "Tarantula".

zappadoo76 May 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Please give us your textual analysis. That could be a big help in answering my main question about the book, which was "Huh?"

FraAnima May 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm

The foreign sun, it squints upon
A bed that is never mine
As friends and other strangers
From their fates try to resign
Leaving men wholly totally free
To do anything they wish to do but die
And there are no trials inside the Gates of Eden.

Also too.

themcwow May 13, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Totoro!

FraAnima May 14, 2011 at 10:01 am

Very few people realize that Dylan wrote the lyrics to Totoro:

Totoro, To-to-ro!
Totoro, To-to-ro!

It's on Highway 61 Revisited.

Toomush_Infer May 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

Geez, Louise, I can't feel my knees…..

Sophist [غني عن ذلك] May 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm

The press don't work 'cause the vandals pimp the scandals.

DahBoner May 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Was that from his concept album about the Mexican Pig-Flu Pandemic Plague?

smokefilledroommate May 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Hey Maureen:

I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon..

Just Kiddin'!
Love, Bob

horsedreamer_1 May 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Should have dispatched the lyrics to "One Headlight" to the inquisitors.

DerrickWildcat May 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

All that and a good Dad to boot.

Jukesgrrl May 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm

So it was just the wife he didn't speak to "for weeks at a time"?

DahBoner May 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Love him or hate him, you gotta admit it really was a turning point in music when Dylan went techno

orygoon May 15, 2011 at 11:54 am

I dunno if I admit it when I just don't even GET it. But by then, I had turned a point and was listening to newer (and older) stuff.

littlebigdaddy May 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm

She writes a decent column about one in every ten. That latest one on Osama made no sense to me at all. I think she's on acid trying recapture those magic vibes.

fuflans May 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm

to be fair, maureen dowd was probably really hot in the 70s.

DahBoner May 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

# NEED MOAR LIQUID LSD-25 TO IMAGINE THAT

Angry_Marmot May 14, 2011 at 4:56 am

So was I, but I thought we were the worst generation.

FlownOver May 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

No, I ain't gonna work for Triggy's ma no more.

mavenmaven May 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Who is Bob Dylan? Has he worked with Bieber, Bristol or Gaga?

bflrtsplk May 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

He wrote Sarah Palin's resignation speech.

horsedreamer_1 May 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm

He prolly will work with Bieber & Gaga.

undeterredbyreality May 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Another side of…

If you ever try to interfere with me or cross my path again
You do so at the peril of your own life
I’m not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound
I’ve seen enough heartaches and strife
(Floater)

Released 9/11/01

HempDogbane May 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Dinkeytown !

lochnessmonster May 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Sound Opinions had Al Cooper on talking about Dylan…a LOT of the crap written about Dylan was just that…CRAP per Al, someone who was in the room.

rhubarbpie2 May 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I happen to like Dylan, but here was the report from my niece, who went to see Dylan in Shanghai — her Chinese husband is a big fan. She said it was better than the first Dylan concert she'd seen (in the U.S.) a few years ago, cause she didn't fall asleep.

OneYieldRegular May 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I tried to get tickets to hear Faye Wong when she played Vegas. Can I get an advance on the book I'm planning to write about it?

Beanball May 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
But these words from Maureen make her seem
Like a tool

mercianomad May 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

"Everybody knows by now that there’s a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I’m encouraging anybody who’s ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book."

I like this particular bit because just a little while ago I was at my local bookstore and noted that the number of different books about Bob Dylan outnumbered (by 10 to 8) those on anything related to the 5+ centuries of 'classical'/composed music that came before him.

neiltheblaze May 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Can't you imagine Maureen Dowd – laying on her big brass bed as a teenager, listening to "She Belongs to Me" and thinking "He's singing about meeeeee……"

[redacted]hse May 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

And wearing a leopard-skin pill-box hat, no doubt.

neiltheblaze May 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I bet she wears an Egyptian ring that sparkles before she speaks and everything.

Toomush_Infer May 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

No.

kittenbomb May 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Jesus, what kind of shit was Maureen Dowd smoking to think the 70's were in any way great? That decade was immediately disqualified by Seals and Crofts.

Angry_Marmot May 14, 2011 at 5:01 am

Making lemons out of lemonade, 70's music was so cringe-worthy it drove me to jazz, blues, world/folk, classical, anything but Top 40.

kittenbomb May 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

"When life gives you lemons, just say 'fuck these lemons' and bail." Forgetting Sarah Marshall

LesPaultard May 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I think I spent (wasted) a full year of that decade listening to Stairway to Heaven, Freebird, and 2112.

kittenbomb May 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm

What was wasted? You or the year? If the answer is both, then well played.

zappadoo76 May 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Dylan understands the Chinese bureaucracy, which doesn't care what he puts on the form they give him, so long as he fills out the fucking form. I think Confucius said that in one of his anal-lects.

el_donaldo May 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I'll point out that on Dylan's website, where this was posted, his Christmas album receives the same four star fan rating as The Times They Are A-Changin'. Don't know what that means; just putting it up there.

Jerri May 13, 2011 at 8:09 pm

That Christmas record is great, that's what it means. And if you happen to host your family's Christmas eve get-together, it can help chase the in-laws and their children out the house when you just want them to leave already.

hellbabe May 13, 2011 at 8:31 pm

clare and renaldo

[redacted]hse May 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I guess now's the time to recount the story of the early days, when it was just me and Zim and our guitars. Of course that was before he stole all my songs.

BZ1 May 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Oh great, a Dylan call to action: "So I’m encouraging anybody who’s ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book…" Just what we need more vanity press books??

James Michael Curley May 14, 2011 at 7:03 am

At a stop light in my convertable. "Masters of War" on the player, volume at 11. Police cruiser pulls along side. Leave stop light, police cruiser follows me. Pull into A&P parking lot. Police cruiser pulls in behind me. I sit there with hands on top of steering wheel, officer calls me over. He's about 30 and says; "What's that song? A lot of the guys sing it in Iraq. It's great (or something)."

Numbat_Dundee May 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

I had to meet someone for as dinner in Beijing recently. They suggested a location and we met in front of the "Workers's Sports Stadium" and there was Bob's picture up front. So I can confirm he played in Beijing.
As to his sucking up to the regime: there's an English language channel here in Beijing where any number of indigent journalists from the Anglo world make a good living spouting the government line. It's fun to catch the British and Aussia and Canadian and Yank journos all parroting approved lines and I hope they're paid well in this post GFC world where western news outlets are laying off staff. It's particularly heartneing for an ex Melbournian like me to see the former weatherman for the ABC Melbourne (ABC being the Australian version of the BBC) as the main anchor person – he was always such a witty weatherperson, now all he does is pronounce stuff well, but I'm sure they pay him well and I'm happy for him).
Anyway, if Bob had in any way sucked up to the CCP (ie said that the Dalai Lama was a paedophile or sang a song in praise of Chow Mein as superior to KFC) then they would have been all over it like a rash. But they weren't.
Still it's a bummer that I can't access Youtube,

zhubajie May 15, 2011 at 4:14 am

Stay away from Beijing and you'll have a fine time in China.

FraAnima May 14, 2011 at 11:22 am

Upfists for everyone in honor of Bobby.

Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the proletariat!

ulTIMum May 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

In my time listening to Bob Dylan, I heard him croon full faith and credit to (1) a psychotic racist Texas serial killer, (2) a vicious triple-murderer considered by some not guilty by reason of race, and (3) a brutal mafia hit man. At what point do I look to the troubled troubador to lead me in moral decisions of any sort? Plus he's one of the Jews for Jesus, and we are only the first…

greypanter May 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Bob Dylan is a successful artist. Maureen Dowd is a would-be entertainer.

zappadoo76 May 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Inside the museums
Infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what
Salvation must be like after a while
Mona Lisa must have had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles.

Visions of Johanna

MiniMencken May 14, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Goddamn, but isn't that the best Dylan lyric?

skytrucker May 14, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Somehow I don't think he means that (encouraging everybody to write a book about him), but then, it's Bob Dylan so you never know.

MiniMencken May 14, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I do remember being accidentally locked into a bathroom stall at the Houston Astrodome at some vastly historic, "final tour" Bob Dylan concert around 1977 and having to climb over the stall wall in my three-piece Yves St. Laurent suit, which I was wearing ironically to a Bob Dylan concert, and the rest of the toilet attendees scattering like cockroaches because, in 1977, only "The Man" wore a three-piece suit and it was obviously a bust. Good times, boozers, users and losers, good times.

102415 May 15, 2011 at 3:40 am

I hope you still have that suit, my man.

MiniMencken May 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

Actually, I do. But, for some odd reason, it no longer fits.

102415 May 16, 2011 at 1:30 am

You could stuff yourself into it and wear it any way. That would be way ironic. Especially if you went over the top of the stall to get in.

MiniMencken May 16, 2011 at 2:04 am

I think I see your point, but my stall partition-climbing days are jus' blowin' in the wind.

ShaveTheWhales May 15, 2011 at 5:39 am

You know, I think that twenty or thirty years ago (maybe in the time of Raygun), Bob came to realize that his tunes weren't going to change the world any more than they already had, and he decided to become "just" a musician, and influence change more subtly.

I'm happy to see that he appears to have kept his sense of humor.

Hipple, Rev. Paul T. May 15, 2011 at 9:15 am

My own Dylan biography is soon to appear from Warton Press: "Dylan: Speaking the Voice of God. NOT!!"

orygoon May 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

I am happy to see that Our Editor found an opportunity to crap on Maureen Dowd, and I wish Our Editors would do so in almost every entry. It would make the hearts of real people soar. Hint, there.

MinAgain May 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Everybody knows by now that there’s a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future.

I read this sentence and thought, "Bob Dylan is gay? I didn't know that."

ghblowhard May 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Poor Bob. He hasn't been the same since Suze Rotolo died.

bobby_dee May 17, 2011 at 3:58 am

In his next life, Stephen Hawking will be booed for plugging in. Pete Seeger will be a famous General sporting sunglasses and a corncob. John Lennon will opt for the forklift.
The Bob will not be born again.

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