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May 21, 2009

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Interesting Thoughts.
I think that "Queen Jane" is not a person but is the escape or euphoria that is available from cannabis.

I believe that Dylan's reference to the the diplomat who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat refers to the Vietnam war. Dylan's diplomat is the American Empire, Vietnam used to be know as Siam. Dylan is telling Miss Lonely that she can't believe in her country any more.

I once read an interview with Dylan, wherein he said that every time he uses the word "you" in a song, he is actually talking about himself. I wish I could find that interview again.

Great article. Excellent alternative ideas. Kudos to you, sir.

Wake up, dude. LARS is about Edie Sedgwick. Read about her, read about her and Bob and Warhol, watch Factory Girl. Do your homework.

One-eyed:
Go back to sleep, dude, where Dylan songs are about one thing only.

@Jim: It's Thailand that used to be known as Siam, not Vietnam.

I've always thought of Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window as THE Edie song btw. Funny how this never seems to be suggested. I mean "I'm sure that he has no intentions
of looking your way, unless it's to say
that he needs you to test his inventions" / "Trying to peel the moon and expose it with his businesslike anger and his bloodhounds that kneel" etc. - pretty obviously Dylan's take on Warhol.


That's a fair eye-opener about Grossman ; your interpretation of that verse sure has the ring of truth to it. Thanks !

I've always loved the verse in "Tombstone Blues" where it seems to me that Dylan alludes to Samson (who killed many with the "jawbone" of an ass), and calls the Johnson Administration "Philistines", desperate to recruit fresh soldiers to "send" "out to the jungle" of Vietnam.

Many years ago I heard an interview with a woman who had done as her doctoral thesis a study of Dylan's changing interpretations of Like a Rolling Stone. Her theory was that in versions both live and recorded done after the original, Dylan expressed increasing hostility and this hostility was a sign of his growing misogyny. Is there any validity to her claim? I guess if it proves anything, it's that the writer (or writer/performer in this case) provides only half the story.

My thanks to all who commented on my post. I realize my interpretation is controversial, and so I'm glad it got some reaction.

Stacey, you asked about Dylan's purported misogyny. I don't see a hatred of women in his songs except insofar as such hatred is a weariness with all people. It makes more sense to me to accuse Dylan of misanthropy than misogyny.

Dylan's view of women is obviously complex. He sees them as guideposts ("Girls' faces formed the forward path" in My Back Pages), but also as betrayers. He sees the feminine goddess sometimes and the masculine God at others. If there is momentary fury or profound unhappiness it does not lapse into hatred for all women. He is ever-searching for the elusive love that will complete him.

Larry

I have enjoyed some things you have written but your interpretation of Ballad of a Thin Man is a complete joke. You must have phallus on the brain because I have given that song dozens of pensive listens and that "sword swallower" means anything but sword swallower - Dylan has a fascination with circuses and carnivals (see No Direction Home, and Chronicles Vol. 1). I shudder to think how you might interpret Blowin' in the Wind.
More generally though, I can't help but think that when Bob himself reads garbage like this, he thinks to himself "I wrote that song in 2 hours and this idiot spent 10 trying to tease out something that's not there".

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