November 6, 2012

Bob Dylan in Madison: "We tried to play good tonight since the president was here today."

"Don’t believe the media. I think it’s going to be a landslide."

Spoken from the stage last night in Madison, in the middle of his encore song "Blowin' in the Wind."

Which squarely contradicts my late-night post about Bob Dylan's concert: "And not a word... not a word... about politics. No imploring us to vote for Obama. Or even to vote."

I loved the absence of politics, and I believe/have believed that Bob Dylan has almost entirely avoided politics since the early 1960s. I can see a way to say his quote about Obama is enigmatic, sardonic, and in some real way nonpolitical: Don't believe what they're telling you in the newspapers. A sound and distanced observation. Etc.

But no subtle interpretation can undo my over-strong "not a word." So I have to confess that Meade and I have been to a lot of Bob Dylan concerts. We know he will do one encore. We even knew it would be "Blowin' in the Wind." Halfway through it, we slipped out into the night. We zipped right out of there.

Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll
We ducked outside the doorway, snowflakes drifting...

It was as if they saw us leave. Good! Althouse and Meade are gone. Now we can talk about politics.

IN THE COMMENTS: Many of you say that "I think it’s going to be a landslide" is ambiguous. Especially after "Don't believe the media." And the idea of trying to "play good" because the President was in town is kind of comical — playing at being deferential to authority. He never says Obama's name, and that landslide might go toward the other guy. This reminds me of an old law school anecdote: The famous old professor says: "It's obvious how this case will be decided." And the young lawprof says: "Yes, but which way is it obvious?"

Chip Ahoy said it best:
Uh, excuse me, how do you extract "I think Obama will win in a landslide" from "I think there will be a landslide."

I know what you're going to say.

There is a sentence before that and another sentence after following and those three sentences together add up to an Obama endorsement and I say they do not. I am interpreting them as I go and those are three separate things. Not that I care, it's that sometimes everyone around me is wrong and I'm the only one around who thinks otherwise and as much as I'd like to stay a quiet little church mouse I am compelled to be a pillar of strength momentarily, stand up and say so.
And I defend our walking out:
Actually, the way Dylan uses "Blowin' in the Wind" suggests he means it as a closing-credits/filing-out-of-the-theater song. The show was over at "Watchtower" and you're supposed to go home, you're not leaving, and he comes back to say: okay, here's that famous oldie, now get outta here.

88 comments:

Steve Austin said...

That Kid Rock song that Romney uses is pretty good. It grows on you.

And we always have Ted Nugent.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

"We tried to play good tonight since the president was here today."

Ah, that's nice!

"Don't believe the media."

That speaks volumes. Who does the media like?

"It's going to be a landslide."

Yes, it is!

To me, that's very sardonic. And funny. And enigmatic.

techsan said...

"Don’t believe the media. I think it’s going to be a landslide."

Dylan's for Romney? Who knew?

Ben (The Tiger on Politics) said...

Did he actually say he thought it'd be an _Obama_ landslide?

Or is Dylan funning with us all again?

wild chicken said...

What Kid Rock song, American Badass - ?

I too am disappointed by Dylan's political turn. Way too much of the 60s "protest song" noise was unfairly attributed to him.

But now he can suck it. Hahahha not really.

Colonel Angus said...

So in addition to being a horrible singer, he's an idiot to boot.

jr565 said...

That's why you gotta stick around till the end. You never know what can happen in the last few minutes.

wyo sis said...

Well, damn. So much for contrarian.

Sorun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caedmon said...

So you were down in a taken for granted situation, then?

Sorun said...

I would've thought that for events which have older crowds, most people would try to leave a little early to "beat the traffic."

dreams said...

I thought he was a good guy, disappointing.

Surfed said...

I'm with you and Meade. Hate politics from the stage. I've even left shows (Springsteen) because of politics from the stage. That said, I'm missing me some Bob. The girlfriend and I'll have to go through his catalouge and pick a Bob song to work on tonight. We banked "If Not for You" this summer. I like "Just Like a Woman" (Richie Havens does the definitive
version) the girlfriend less so...

Lyle said...

Lovely story.

X said...

the headline writer and reporter say Obama. did Dylan? I haven't heard anyone predict an Obama landslide.

Bob Ellison said...

Does Bob Dylan not play good when the President isn't nearby? You've been to several concerts. Can you compare and contrast? Does the goodness of his play have a linear correlation with Presidential proximity?

traditionalguy said...

I must still be too sleepy. That only sounds like he expects the media's candidate to lose in a landslide.

Whatever.

TWM said...

Never was a Dylan fan. Certainly not since he lost the ability to enunciate even the most simple words.

People give way too much credit to artists (film, canvas, photo, music, etc.) than they have ever deserved. Which is why the feel the need to pontificate in areas they know nothing of. If an artist wants to back a candidate, they should, but do it at campaign events not a concerts that should be about the art and nothing else.

Doing so is certain to sour it for about half of their fans.

Inga said...

Not sayin' a word.

pm317 said...

We all know what he is saying.
Media would have called the race by now if it was a O landslide.

Colonel Angus said...

I never understood the draw for Dylan and Soringsteen. Springsteen is more of my generation and I thought he had a horrible voice, like hoarse drunk yelling.

X said...

Not sayin' a word


all doubt was removed long ago. just sayin'

Steve Austin said...

I don't know why that clown is talking about "the media" saying it will be close. Dylan must only get Fox News in his hotel rooms.

Every other media outlet has been talking about Choom's second coronation for six-months now.

Inga said...

Omen, OK one word.

Inga said...

Perhaps a sign, OK three words. Happy now X?

LarryK said...

Look, no one should rely on any pop singer - not even Dylan - for political analysis. It would be like asking George Will to belt out showtunes.

That said, my extremely cynical take is that Dylan made a cryptic endorsement of Obama because Obama was the guy who hung the Presidential Medal of Freedom around his neck a few months ago. If GWBush would have done that in 2004, Dylan would have endorsed him too.

Inga said...

A portent of things to come...

Calypso Facto said...

"Don’t believe the media. I think it’s going to be a landslide."

As other commenters have pointed out...lots of people think the election will be won in a landslide. They just may differ on which candidate will be the benefactor.

Tank said...

Dylan does not know the difference between good and well, how's he gonna predict anything?

Just another dope smokin hippie who shot his wad, and his brains out, long ago. Has he written a really good song in the last 35 years?

Patrick said...

Very courteous of him to wait until you left.

Inga said...

A prognostication.

Rustling Leaves said...

Maybe he really meant a Romney landslide.

X said...

Happy now X?

always, but a little more juiced today.

Paco Wové said...

Predictions seem unusually divergent this year. Obama landslide, Romney landslide. Obama pulls out a squeaker, Romney pulls out a squeaker. Too close to call. Somebody's going to have some serious egg on face syndrome tonight.

chickelit said...

JUDAS!!

bagoh20 said...

OK, that blabbermouth and her dude with camera are gone - can we talk?

Carnifex said...

@Inga

Hun the best way to not say a word is to not say it. You keep adding to your "not saying a word" word count and eventually you will have.

Or you could be Slo Joe, and say lots of words without saying a thing.


Ciao bella.

john sager said...

Is it sexist of me to find female megalomania more offensive than the male version of it?

Carnifex said...

If Zero wins it will be a squeeker. But he ain't gonna' win. I'm standing by my prediction of a substantial Romney Vee.

Chuck66 said...

I still say Dylan is a closet conservative. Or at least agnostic on politics, but leans conservative.

As good as a musician, he is also a good marketer. He did folk when it was big. Lead the electric change. Played to the beatniks and hippies and later, anti-nuclear crowd when that was popular. Think Sonny Bono. Cher said he was never a liberal hippy, but it was all an act to get them on TV and sell records.

gerry said...

Look, Dylan is nearing death. He can say depressing things about life because of that.

Plus, maybe senility is wrapping its tentacles around him.

Chip Ahoy said...

Uh, excuse me, how do you extract "I think Obama will win in a landslide" from "I think there will be a landslide."

I know what you're going to say.

There is a sentence before that and another sentence after following and those three sentences together add up to an Obama endorsement and I say they do not. I am interpreting them as I go and those are three separate things. Not that I care, it's that sometimes everyone around me is wrong and I'm the only one around who thinks otherwise and as much as I'd like to stay a quiet little church mouse I am compelled to be a pillar of strength momentarily, stand up and say so.

phx said...

I can't get the WaPo story up. But maybe he meant it would be a landslide for Romney.

ndspinelli said...

Maybe Dylan should become a political pundit, he sure as hell can't sing.

Ann Althouse said...

Actually, the way Dylan uses "Blowin' in the Wind" suggests he means it as a closing-credits/filing-out-of-the-theater song. The show was over at "Watchtower" and you're supposed to go home, you're not leaving, and he comes back to say: okay, here's that famous oldie, now get outta here.

XRay said...

Chip Ahoy...

Thanks for the hummingbirds and biscuits and gravy, beautiful stuff and as you say soothing for a tense day. Much appreciated.

chickelit said...

Dylan goes electic!

chickelit said...

I think it's terrible. If I had had an axe, I'd have chopped his microphone cable right then.

phx said...

I think it's terrible. If I had had an axe, I'd have chopped his microphone cable right then.

Ha

Inga said...

I was really not going to say a word, but then X, well he made me!

AprilApple said...

“Don’t believe the media. I think it’s going to be a landslide.”

Yeah - My first impression on his "don't believe the media" aspect was - wait - He's not necessarily talking about a landslide for Obama. And look- the media spins it for Obama.

phx said...

Just another dope smokin hippie who shot his wad, and his brains out, long ago. Has he written a really good song in the last 35 years?

Someone hasn't been paying attention.

Marshal said...

Inga said...
I was really not going to say a word, but then X, well he made me!


Ten posts about nothing. Inga's contract must pay by the post. On the bright side if she's just pumping the last few to hit the quota it likely means the contract ends with the election.

jr565 said...

inga wrote:
I was really not going to say a word, but then X, well he made me!

Funny how you keep saying you're not going to say a word by using words. THen again, I'm not sure how else you would phrase that, especially online without doing so.
Except by not posting, I guess.
Or, you could get around it by using the technicality that you are not actually "Saying" words but writing them.
Though in that case, you wouldn't have to say you're not saying a word, because no one here is saying their words out loud.


EMD said...

"Don't you get it you morons Bob never comes to these things!"

- Joan Baez.

Dylan is a master at playing with your thoughts and emotions.

Inga said...

But that's my own unique way of not sayin' a word.

Marshal, was I that good, seriously? You think I got paid for my comments? Thanks! Maybe I should've gotten paid, damn too late.

Inga said...

Maybe I was paid by the Republican Party, ever thought of that?!

edutcher said...

As always, the trolls lied.

No mention of whose landslide.

PS Dr Freud forgives your error, Madame.

Nobody probably has more election fatigue than you.

wyo sis said...

Inga
(Facepalm)
(eye roll)
(heavy sigh)

Inga said...

Now, now Wyo Sis, don't get yer blood pressure up so early save it for later today... because I care about you.

EMD said...

Inga, Charlie Martin is starting a low-carb diet and you can check his progress here and on this Facebook page.

The before pix aren't that pretty, but it will be interesting to see how he does.

ricpic said...

The show's over. Now get outta here you wild and crazy and tragically hip baby boomers and go wreak havoc somewhere else on someone else and never look back, never look back at the wreckage in you're wake but always look forward, forward into that glorious dawn where the forever hip withits will finally achieve total fuckup.

Inga said...

EMD, good for Charlie! It will work if he sticks to it. I'll be following his progress, he's got a way to go yet.

creeley23 said...

Dylan made his comments during his encore when he said, "We tried to play good tonight since the president was here today."

He went on to say he thinks Obama will prevail Tuesday.

Dylan says, "Don’t believe the media. I think it’s going to be a landslide."


Hmm. When I first read the story, I believed the reporter was supplying a paraphrase at the bolded line for something Dylan actually said.

However, if "[Dylan] thinks Obama will prevail Tuesday" was inserted by the reporter to "clarify" Dylan's other three sentences, that's something else entirely.

Which is what Chip was saying, I guess, but about half the time I can't tell what he's on about. I guess Chip's like Dylan that way.

AF said...

Dylan has never been a partisan or very specific in his political beliefs, but he's always been for the underdogs and the outsiders and the loners and against the Man. Obama is a a natural born loner. Mitt Romney is the Man.

Marshal said...

Inga said...
Marshal, was I that good, seriously?


Yes Inga, you were that good at ignoring reality and supporting only the Dem Party talking points even when they were at odds with your backstory.

phx said...

On the liner notes he wrote for Another Side of Bob Dylan, he has one poem where the first, second or third line starts "wheres the party jim". I can't remember it very well, don't have it here and it's been years since I've read it, but I bet that's a pretty good explanation of how he felt and continues to feel about political parties in general.

Just in case anyone wants dig out their vinyl copy.

phx said...

Dylan has never been a partisan or very specific in his political beliefs, but he's always been for the underdogs and the outsiders and the loners and against the Man.

That's an accurate read IMO. How that actually translates into support for Obama, I don't know. I would have guessed that more likely than not, Dylan would prefer Obama. IN GENERAL most artsy types are likely to.

EMD said...

Obama is a a natural born loner. Mitt Romney is the Man.

And yet only one of them is currently in power, where one would usually find "The Man."

Inga said...

Marshal, damn I'm good! I think I may have a new career at this late stage of my life. Where does one apply to be a DNC online operative?

wyo sis said...

No, Inga. I was giving you options for wordless comments if you really are "not sayin' a word."

Inga said...

Well Wyo Sis, I actually was saying something by saying "I'm no saying a word", even though it would've been funny to say "eye roll", " face palm", etc.

BUT, I really wasn't going to NOT say a word:)

wyo sis said...

DNC doesn't really pay it's online operatives. It's the old theory about getting the milk for free.

Inga said...

And yes of COURSE Dylan meant Romney. Nodding head and rolling eyes.

Inga said...

Yes Wyo, it was a labor of love.

creeley23 said...

If you google "bob dylan obama" you discover that just about every paper in the country has run a story titled:

Bob Dylan predicts Obama "in a landslide"

If that's not really what Dylan meant, it's another dirty trick. But I'm sure they'll note the error after the election.

Marshal said...

Inga said...
Marshal, damn I'm good! I think I may have a new career at this late stage of my life. Where does one apply to be a DNC online operative?


Are you trying to tell us you shill that hard for free? That's just sad.

tiger said...

Professor?

I'm seeing Bob in Milwaukee tomorrow night.

I've been a fan and seen him about so many times I can't remember but stopped going because I NEVER want to hear 'Blowin' in the Wind' again!

So, how was he?

tiger said...

Gosh, the amazing amount of bitterness here for Bob saying not to believe the media and it's gonna be a Romney landslide.

What's wrong, folks? Can't stand a Leftist hero coming to his senses?

Where is that vaunted 'tolerance' you pride yourselves with?

You're all for diversity until someone disagrees with you.

Baron Zemo said...

Going to see Bob Dylan is like driving around talking on your CB radio.

Just as cool good buddie.

EMD said...

more likely than not, Dylan would prefer Obama.

You would think, but as was stated above, Dylan has always been much more of a keen marketer than his folk brethen.

ricpic said...

Why should a multi-millionaire favor a thieving socialist?

Ben (The Tiger on Politics) said...

Really, really think that Dylan was having fun f***ing with people again.

phx said...

Jim Jim
where is our party?
where is the party that's one
where all members're held equal
and vow t infiltrate that thought
among the people it hopes t serve
and sets a respected road
for all o'those like me
who cry
"I am ragingly against absolutely
everything that wants t force nature
t be unnatural (be it human or otherwise)
an I am violently for absolutely
everything that will fight those
forces (be them human or otherwise)"
oh what is the name of this gallant group?
lead me t the ballot box
what man do we run?
how many votes will it take
for a new set of teeth
in the congress mouths?
how many hands have t be raised
before hair will grow back
on the white house head?

- dylan ca 1963

Plumb Family In Turkey said...

This is what Dylan wrote on Facebook about the quote:

Here's pretty close to what I said last night in Madison. I said from the stage that we had to play better than good tonight, that the president was here today and he’s a hard act to follow. Also, that we’re not fooled by the media and we think it’s going to be a landslide. That’s pretty much all of it.

- Bob Dylan

phx said...

Bob wasn't a great fan of Ronald Reagan's either.

~~Maybe an actor in a plot that might be all that you got
'Til your error you clearly learn.~~