Day of the Locusts

The French authorities have been investigating Bob Dylan for offending the country's Croats. The inquiry stems from an interview the singer gave to Rolling Stone last year, specifically from this comment: "Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery—that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."

The result: When Dylan came to the country last month to receive the Legion of Honor, he received something else as well. The AFP reports:

After Dylan was questioned and charged, he reportedly put down his robe, picked up his award, took hold of his sweetheart and away they did drive, straight for the hills, the black hills of Dakota, sure was glad to get out of there alive.Bob Dylan has been charged with incitement to hatred in France after he was quoted comparing Croats with Nazis in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, a judicial source said Monday.

The world-famous American singer was questioned and charged last month while on a visit to Paris during which he gave several concerts and was awarded the Legion d'Honneur, one of France's top honours, the source said....

The charge came after the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF) filed a complaint about the comments.

French media law bars incitement to "discrimination, hatred or violence with regard to a person or group of people on the grounds of their origin or of their membership or non-membership of an ethnic group, a nation, a race, or a religion".

The AFP piece adds that "Croatians are highly sensitive when mentioned in a Nazi-related context." This is the sort of absurdity that hate-speech laws can lead to: A clumsily phrased reference to a country's history of Serb-killing and collaboration with the Nazis can get you questioned by the authorities, because it might "incite" someone.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Never Godwin the Croats.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You know who else hated freedom of speech?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    New Morning was a great album. The Coen Brothers used it in Lebowski, among others.

  • RightNut||

    I've never liked Bob Dylan's music. And I don't get why people are so enamored with him.

    Also how do I unlock the magic sensing powers Dylan says I have?

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think you have to be one of those magic negros the vanguard keeps telling us about.

  • Lord Humungus||

    I used to _not_ be a Dylan fan. But a few listens to Nashville Skyline changed that - his voice is its least offensive on that album.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLwhDb7J7TY

    And then I began to realize the genius of Blonde on Blonde. Ol' Bob has a way with words.

  • Spoonman.||

    My Pennsylvania Croatian grandfather was in the US Army during World War II, but having some uneasiness about Croatia's role in WWII is pretty justified, given that the Ustase's actions were considered horrific by Nazi standards (from the Wiki link):

    Ustaše activities in villages across the Dinaric Alps led to the Italians and the Germans expressing disquiet. According to Srđa Trifković, as early as 10 July 1941, Wehrmacht General Edmund Glaise von Horstenau reported the following to the German High Command, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW):
    Our troops have to be mute witnesses of such events; it does not reflect well on their otherwise high reputation... I am frequently told that German occupation troops would finally have to intervene against Ustaše crimes. This may happen eventually. Right now, with the available forces, I could not ask for such action. Ad hoc intervention in individual cases could make the German Army look responsible for countless crimes which it could not prevent in the past.[59]
  • WTF||

    So the fucking Nazis were revolted by the actions of the Croats. No wonder the Croats don't like it to be brought up.

  • ||

    "Croatians are highly sensitive when mentioned in a Nazi-related context."

    I'm offended by being stereotyped like this! Not all Croats are highly sensitive! I demand criminal charges!!

    (I'm not actually a Croat. I'm a Kraut. Close enough)

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Dylan grew up in the Iron Range which has tons of Croats (and other slavs) who came there to mine.

    The peaceful Norwegians I grew up among were always perplexed at the actions of the Rangers. The cursed, fought and drank all the time (The Norwegians only drank).

    So Dylan probably is well aware of the behavior of the typical Croat.

  • Jordan||

    "Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery—that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."

    As if we needed more proof that Dylan is an overrated ignoramus.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Let me guess, you prefer Justin Bieber? Or were you more of a Ted Nugent type?

  • Jordan||

    Herpy derpy dumb. I grew up on 90s grunge rock.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    You know the grunge bands idolize Dylan and Neil Young, don't you?

  • Jordan||

    You know I don't care, don't you?

  • Free Society||

    He doesn't. Guilt by association of your associates with other associates.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    What is your argument here PB? Offended that someone pointed out that Dylan has once again said something completely ignorant?

  • ||

    Dylan can't be ignorant because he put out vacuous pop music in the 60's and 70's. Which was when vacuous pop music was like, totally meaningful and insightful, man.

  • Zeb||

    How do define pop music? It is just anything that you don't like?

  • sarcasmic||

    Look! PB has his own cooking show!

  • Jordan||

    Too sophisticated to be him.

  • Zeb||

    One man's overrated ignoramus is another's brilliant weirdo. I'm not a huge fan but I think he is kind of awesome. It helps if you look at everything he has ever done in public as performance art.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    But the First Amendmenr....Oh, wait. It's Europe.

  • Doctor Whom||

    But remember: It's America that gets it completely wrong on freedom of speech.

  • WTF||

    You're not free to use 'hate speech', because fire in a theater or something.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    There are laws on the books in Canada regarding hate speech. It disgusts me. But so do a lot of laws here. I love Canada and like the people, but fuck people are brainwashed by government here.

  • Free Society||

    Quite similar to Europe. I'll take "divisive polarization" of the US over brainwashed conformity of Europe any day.

  • Brian D||

    Croats are poopyheads.

    And now I can never go to France.

  • Rhywun||

    Lucky you!

  • Doctor Whom||

    Leviticus 20:13. Now I can never go to Canada or Sweden.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    And I don't get why people are so enamored with him.

    That word salad "poetry" really impresses the hipsters.

  • Free Society||

    It's just too deep for you to understand. You effing square.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    I'll never forgive him for infesting Dinkytown with hordes of wanna-bees. Dinkytown is a small neighborhood next to the U of Minnesota. It is where Dylan got his start singing on the streets. Hence every aspiring hipster in the area (at least back in the the early 90's decided to go play their own shitty songs there while I had to plod past them on my way to try to get a degree.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.

    Oh.

  • Voros McCracken||

    While I have another thirty minutes random surfing the internet, I think Mr. Zimmerman will probably end the day having uttered the stupidest thing I read on the internet all day.

  • ||

    I think Mr. Zimmerman will probably end the day having uttered the stupidest thing I read on the internet all day.

    Not if you stop by reddit before you log off.

  • Apple||

    If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that.

    Cool! I need to ask some black folks to give me a reading because I have no idea if I have Klan or slave master in my blood.

  • Drake||

    Uh, don't just about all "African Americans" have slave master blood? African Africans are sure a whole lot darker.

    And wasn't Kenya a big slave supplier to the Arab world? Being descended from Muslim Kenyans, Obama should absolutely reek of slave master if Dylan's hypothesis is correct.

    /no racist

  • ||

    The vast majority of Western Hemisphere slaves came from West Africa. I know this because Oprah was absolutely convinced she was Zulu. She could just feel it. But no. She's just as Liberian or Nigerian or Ghanaian as the rest of the former slaves in the U.S. I kind of giggled at that. She looked and sounded so disappointed when they told her.

  • Drake||

    That's why I mentioned the Arab slave trade.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_slave_trade

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Teh can sense duh privludge, boy

  • Harvard||

    Sniff around a bit when you see them. You'll be amazed how often the whiff of hub cap thievery or crack dealership will smart the eyes.

  • GILMORE||

    "Bob Dylan has been charged with incitement to hatred in France after he was quoted comparing Croats with Nazis""

    CROAT = "Nazis? who cares about Nazis?! He called us *niggers*, the little jew communist!!"

  • Agammamon||

    "Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery—that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."

    In Dylan's defense, there's nothing 'clumsy' about his phrasing - stupid, asinine, and completely at odds with reality maybe, but not clumsy.

  • Jesse Walker||

    It was clumsy to say "Croat" instead of "Ustaše."

  • alittlesense||

    Oh well. If I received a dollar every time a rock/folk/pop musician said something stupid, I'd be wealthier than Gates and Buffett put together!

  • Lord Humungus||

    Not to get on the Dylan defending wagon, but anything that comes out of this man's mouth is suspect. If you ask him the same question a day later, he'll say something different.

  • Drake||

    I can't understand a word the guys says. He could have been commenting on the weather to a French interpreter.

  • Donut-san||

    I like Dylan a lot, not least of all because he rejected the attempts of the left wing folk movement to turn him into their spokesman, and he certainly takes himself a lot less seriously than some of his fans do. He famously called himself a "song and dance man," and never wanted to be a messiah like Bono and Springsteen. But having said all that, that quote is utterly ridiculous.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I loved the fact that the hippie folk trash booed him when he brought out an electric guitar and he just kept playing. They turn on you so easily.

  • Donut-san||

    Exactly. Pete Seeger himself said he wanted to cut the sound cables with an axe when Dylan played electric at Newport.

  • From the Tundra||

    Sort of related (public figures saying stupid shit):

    http://www.jammiewf.com/2013/c.....e-married/

    First Caroline Kennedy and now Crazy Joe. I suspect the Japanese are starting to wonder why America hates them.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    No matter how bad it gets here, we can always be thankful we aren't France.

  • Harvard||

    At the astonishing rate we're traveling we should be in that station soon.

  • l0b0t||

    Bob, The American Gordon Lightfoot, Dylan is silly and and ignorant but Blood On The Tracks is a bloody brilliant album.

  • Stilgar||

    No more Dylan for me. What a clueless turd. Everyone knows the Serbs are the problem.

  • Drake||

    And the Croats had a solution.

  • Free Society||

    and it was final.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood...

    Which is about as meaningful as Nazis sensing Jew blood.

    Which is to say not at all.

    Dylan's kind of an asshole hypocrite for even wanting to accept the Legion d'Honneur in the first place. Of course, the award is hypocritical in the first place so Zimmy's getting exactly what he accepted.

  • Killaz||

    Awkward doesn't even begin to describe the time I was strolling by a group that consisted of a black guy, a Jew and a Guatemalan. They yelled out on seeing me as if in unison, 'Slave Master! Nazi! Conquistador!'

  • Adam330||

    Was he in France when he said this? Or is France claiming jurisdiction over words said anywhere in the world if they happen to be repeated in France?

  • Free Society||

    Their legal system assumes universal jurisdiction. Especially where it concerns bullshit speech laws.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They're better at the egalité and fraternité, no so good at the liberté.

  • Free Society||

    We're brothers. So give me 75% of your income. We're equals, but you make more money than me so give me 75% of your income.

    So I guess they do very well at egalité and fraternité in some strange parallel universe where those concepts have no meaning.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Bob Who?

    Was he in Velvet Underground or somethin?

  • MSimon||

    You're thinking of Jerry Garcia.

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