In Your Heart, You Don't Think Twice, You Know He's All Right

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Pubblog.com takes a peak at Bob Dylan's Chronicles, and comes up with a snippet (italics added) that simultaneously demonstrates why Dylan had to leave the poli-folkies behind, persuades me I was right to stick with him through "Jokerman," "Wiggle Wiggle" and all the rest, and shows that Dylan should get a Presidential Medal of Freedom every six months:

He hung out with Dave Van Ronk a lot and often slept on his couch. Van Ronk was a hard-core intellectual Marxist. Dylan says, "There was no point in arguing with Dave, not intellectually anyway. I had a primitive way of looking at things and I liked country fair politics. My favorite politician was Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who reminded me of Tom Mix, and there wasn't any way to explain that to anybody. I wasn't all that comfortable with all the psycho polemic babble. It wasn't my particular feast of food. Even the current news made me nervous. I liked old news better…"

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  1. I’ve heard many descriptions of Goldwater, but not that one. Tom Mix? The cowboy star of silent films?

    I think I can understand why he couldn’t explain that to anybody. There’s a Tom Mix Memorial north of Tucson on the Oracle Highway. It’s often stolen and slowly replaced (and it wasn’t me). Goldwater used to have a department store, now is known as a donor of kachinas to Phoenix museums, and is occasionally remembered as the guy who lost big but put conservatism back into politics.

    Nowadays, people are more likely to remember Gene Autrey and Ronald Reagan. I wonder who will be remembered in Dylan’s spot?

  2. My opinion of Dylan just went up tremendously. I hope that reflects well on me….

  3. But he liked Fidel Castro and his beard! 🙂

  4. I don’t why he bothers to write good songs if he’s just going to do crappy versions of them like on some live album of his I heard a few days ago at a local coffeehouse. I wish the old Dylan would come forward in time and slap the current Dylan around and say, old man, have some goddamn pride in what you’ve done and sing these tunes like you care.

  5. Dylan has also stated that he wished lived in the suburbs and lived the suburb lifestyle.

  6. I don’t know if David T’s emoticon means Dylan never said he liked Castro or if it means David T is reporting this with a smile, but if it’s the latter, that would very much seem like Dylan and would be consistent with his reasons for liking Goldwater, which seem to be aesthetic rather than ideological.

  7. David T was just quoting one of Dylan’s songs. (Unfortunately, I can’t remember the context.)

  8. When Dylan wrote he liked Fidel Castro and his beard, in a song called “Motorpsycho Nightmare,” he was trying to escape a farm house where he was staying for the night (in the song, he describes himself “as a clean-cut kid and [he] went to college too” and a doctor who was “born on the bottom of a wishing well”). The farmer’s daughter badly wants to sleep with him, but the protagonist needs to escape, because the farmer warned him “don’t touch my daughter and in the morning milk the cow.” So the protagonist has to do “something that will strike him fairly weird, because “[he]’d already promised to milk his cow,” so [he] said, ‘I like Fidel Castro and his beard.’ ” Needless to say, the farmer becomes angry, threatens to turn the kid into the FBI, and shoots at him with shotgun. Protagonist, however, avoids having to take a shower with the young lady and then be killed by her father; he flees: “the sun was coming up and I was runnign down the road.”

    I avoid terms like “the most American,” but Bobby D. is pretty close to deserving such an epithet. So I’m with Cavanaugh–every six months, at least.

  9. Thanks for the info, TJ. Sounds like there’s many levels of meaning and irony associated with this fictional preference!

  10. Fyodor: Lyrics and sound clips available at http://bobdylan.com/songs/motorpsycho.html

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