April 28, 2012

What do Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison, John Glenn, and Madeleine Albright have in common?

Obama is giving them all a medal — the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Speaking for freedom, Bob's got an old song called "I Shall Be Free." It says:
Well, my telephone rang it would not stop
It’s President Kennedy callin’ me up
He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot
Anita Ekberg
Sophia Loren”
(Put ’em all in the same room with Ernest Borgnine!)
It's not a slow jam, but like that Obama's slow jam the other day, it got that idea that sexual stimulation is what the country needs. (Speaking of old, there's that old Woody Allen joke: "I ... interestingly had, uh, dated ... a woman in the Eisenhower Administration ... briefly ... and, uh, it was ironic to me 'cause, uh . . . 'cause I was trying to, u-u-uh, do to her what Eisenhower has been doing to the country for the last eight years.)

Bob's most famous reference to the President is in "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)":
While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked
Lest you think that was sexy-naked, the year was 1965, and the President was LBJ.

Finally, back to the subject of freedom, here's one of my favorite obscure Bob Dylan songs, from the album we listened to all the time in college, "New Morning":
If dogs run free, then why not we
Across the swooping plain?
My ears hear a symphony
Of two mules, trains and rain
The best is always yet to come
That’s what they explain to me
Just do your thing, you’ll be king
If dogs run free
Run, dogs, run!


Palladian said...

Alvy Singer: What's with all these awards? They're always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.

Curious George said...

As an Ohio schoolboy in the early sixties, there was no bigger hero than John Glenn. We used to jump off our swings and say "I'm John Glenn!"

Albright? The one that allowed the Norks to get nukes? Yes, let's give her a medal.

traditionalguy said...

Memories. 1965 was the last good year before the sudden deluge of drugs and Johnson's sudden insane deployment of Marines into South Viet Nam that summer.

I believe that Bob's Bridget Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren line was from 1962. Those ladies were all Europeans and therefore were allowed to exude sultry sexy personas and show off their breasts in movies.

That changed too after 1965 when we were told that we liked Twiggy's breasts instead. Someone was seriously taking drugs to think that.

Kirk Parker said...

Mad Madeleine? Dear ghu, whatever for???

Wince said...

But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

"Lest you think that was sexy-naked, the year was 1965, and the President was LBJ."

In his recent biography of Lyndon Johnson, Flawed Giant, Robert Dallek writes, “During a private conversation with some reporters who pressed him to explain why we were in Vietnam, Johnson lost his patience. According to Arthur Goldberg, LBJ unzipped his fly, drew out his substantial organ and declared, ‘This is why!’”

Way back then, President Johnson could be confident that the reporters would not share this moment of presidential bonding with the public. Quaint questions of taste aside, it might not have struck them as news anyway. The president’s fascination with his substantial organ was an old story to the White House press corps.

I first heard of it when I was working on a profile of White House press secretary George Reedy for The Saturday Evening Post. Everybody in the press room had a glancing acquaintance with the President’s privates, which he was forever prodding and redistributing through his pants. And ambassadors calling to present their credentials sometimes had a closer acquaintance than that. It was Mr. Johnson’s occasional practice to invite new envoys for a swim in the small indoor pool built for FDR. Skinny-dipping was the long-established tradition, which allowed the President to establish genital dominance at the start of a diplomatic relationship.

DADvocate said...

Oh, the irony, Obama giving medals of freedom while he rob us of our freedom.

Patrick said...

I've got some collections of old Doonesbury cartoons, and in one of the the President (Carter) called Bob Dylan while the character Jimmy Thudpucker was at his house. The strip sort of made fun of Carter for being a geek who started singing some mash up of "Rolling Stone."

From the days when Doonesbury was funny, and when Dylan wouldn't have expected a phone call from the White House.

Beaver7216 said...

“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now"

Bob Dylan-My Back Pages

So the Fairness President is giving Dylan an Award. If only President Obama was younger then that now.

wyo sis said...

Well, what's all the preoccupation with presidents and their big sticks these days. Have we moved on from dog eating?

bagoh20 said...

Dylan sure has been getting a lot of love lately. Not just here. I've been hearing him mentioned in the media and praised more than ever in the last few months. I was never a big fan. He is an impressive word collager, but I have a habit of not hearing the words in music. I focus on the musical part. I still don't know the words to many of my favorite songs that I have listened to for decades.

Dylan has aged well for a rock artist. He avoided the crash and burn that would be expected with his level of success. There should be an award just for that: The Survivor Award.

lemondog said...

Surprise!! He didn't award it to himself......such restraint, such humility

Humperdink said...

Similar to the Peace Prize. The Medal of Freedom has achieved worthless status.

Toni Morrison? Madeleine "Aunt Bea" Albright? Sheesh.

I suspect Rahm "Deadfish" Emanuel will be next.

edutcher said...

Without meaning to, Ann shows us once again why Dylan has not supplanted Irving Berlin as America's Lyricist.

And regardless of how John Glenn may have started out, he ended up as just another cheap Demo politician covering up for Willie.

Astro said...

I'm hoping Dylan doesn't bother to show up.

Chip Ahoy said...

A deaf person I know got an award from a president. Best athlete. Or handicapped athlete, probably. He was a senior at the school in Colorado Springs at the time. Football. Nixon. Racially much darker than myself. He was older than myself and we played pool together and he couldn't hear how hard he was cracking the balls, and that was very odd because they make such a piercing sound and honestly anybody should be able to hear that. He was calm and rather slow moving it seemed but he pounded the shit out of the pool balls. He bounced pool balls right off the table a couple of times. They cracked across the floor CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! and bashed into a wall BLAM!, I turn red with embarrassment but that is silly because nobody looked. Nobody. This was at the deaf club in Denver. Off of Colfax, a very busy street, about Tejon, I think. There were about 30 people there various ages. An ambulance went by on the street directly in front of the building while we were playing and not a single person in the room showed any interest at all or appeared to notice, nobody went to the window to look. That was a very odd couple of hours.

Amexpat said...

There were a couple months in 1976 that "If Dogs Run Free" was the Dylan song for me. I was a 19-year-old Carlos Castaneda reading dope smoking pseudo hippie, hitch hiking around Europe. I was really into that song. I actually contemplated throwing my passport and backpack in a river in France and living a feral existence.

In any event, Dylan deserves any award given to him.

yashu said...

I'm fond of the reference to the vice-president in "Clothes Line Saga":

The next day everybody got up
Seein’ if the clothes were dry
The dogs were barking, a neighbor passed
Mama, of course, she said, “Hi!”
“Have you heard the news?” he said, with a grin
“The Vice-President’s gone mad!”
“Where?” “Downtown.” “When?” “Last night”
“Hmm, say, that’s too bad!”
“Well, there’s nothin’ we can do about it,” said the neighbor
“It’s just somethin’ we’re gonna have to forget”
“Yes, I guess so,” said Ma
Then she asked me if the clothes was still wet

yashu said...

(By the way, Althouse, clicking the "Bob Dylan" tag at the end of this post only yields this post. Seems your other Dylan posts are tagged "Dylan". It's unfortunate if your many Dylan posts-- which happen to be faves of mine-- are accidentally split into separate categories and can't all be accessed with either a "Dylan" or "Bob Dylan" tag.)

cassandra lite said...

I always took Dylan's stimuulus solution of Bardot, Ekberg, and Loren to mean that we need more *foreign* sexpots.

SteveR said...

I'm with DADvocate

Irony Alert

Joe said...

And Bob Dylan, ever the self-promoting hypocrite, will accept his medal.

William said...

I hope that Boby Dylan uses the occasion to speak out on the innocence of George Zimmerman. I bet everyone would really respect his courage if he did that. It would be just like when he used his moral standing to speak up for Hurricane Carter.

lemondog said...

I suspect Rahm "Deadfish" Emanuel will be next.

Add Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke if O is re-elected.

wyo sis said...

Maybe we should choose presidents by having a look at THEIR Johnson. If it's larger than his substantial organ they are automatically disqualified. President Johnson should have the largest Johnson.

Darrell said...

I like Twiggy's breasts.

Casey said...

The best summary I've heard with respect to Dylan's work was when they started calling Eminem "the new Bob Dylan." 'Nuff said.

The man wasn't horrible, but I don't get the reverence he still gets from the 60s generation.

Don't mind me, I prefer BB King, Elvis, Janis Joplin, Wilson Pickett, The Who, Sam & Dave, just about anything with Stills/Furay/Messina, and/or Fuller, Allman Brothers, Renaissance, Chick Corea, Travis Tritt, Harry Connick Jr, and Blues Traveler. Just in case someone wanted to call me a philistine. ;)

edutcher, you might not like Glenn, but he was hardly a "cheap politician." If nothing else he never became corrupt the way Randy Cunningham or John Murtha did.

In fact, Glenn was one of the few Democrats I always voted for, when he was an Ohio senator. I'm just sorry he never got very far on the Presidential trail.