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The Sandwich Shop

These are my thoughts. They are based on what I see going on around me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

I know very little about myself. If I did know myself better, I probably wouldn't be doing this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Watchin' Bob Dylan:
Over the last two nights, PBS stations across America broadcast the Martin Scorsese documentary, "No Direction Home". It covered the life and times of Bob Dylan up until 1966. I watched both nights and was affected deeply.
I came away with the impression that not only did Dylan's art speak for itself, but more than likely Dylan had no choice in the matter. Maybe when Dylan wrote those songs from his "glory days", those songs weren't talking about what he had inside; maybe they actually were what he had inside. In other words, how can you explain a work of art if none of its meaning is left in you once you create it, it's all ( 100% ) in the work of art itself.
One of the recurring themes of the documentary was the relentless pursuit by the press and his fans for the "real meaning" behind his songs.
They always seemed to be asking , " Now that you've given us the truth, what's the truth behind the truth ?".
What complex creatures we humans are. We want simplicity, but only in a complicated format. We want truth, as long as it doesn't deprive us of our ability to disect that truth and start looking for it all over again. We want the answer, but not at the cost of losing the question.
Bob Dylan, today, looks and sounds like he's either smoked a lot of pot or drunk a lot of booze over the last forty years. I must say, if over the last forty years every single question put to him has been,
"What do you mean by that ?" and when he answers he is then asked,
"What do you mean by that?" and so on, and so on, and so on, it's no wonder he might need something to numb his brain.
If I could give Bob Dylan a word of advice it would be, " Stop letting it annoy you; it ain't ever gonna be any different. Don't worry if you can't explain why or how you do what you do. As much as people act like they're pissed-off that you won't give them the " inside scoop " on the
" real meaning " of your songs, they'd probably be even more pissed-off if you could give them the "final answer". You're dealing with people for God's sake, the same creatures that can't pass a mirror without sneeking a peek at themselves so they can prove to themselves that they still exist.

PS: This from November 2003:
Pickin Parts Of Dylan:
" Use the right tool for the right job." Right ? Way back on January 13, 1964 Bob Dylan released, possibly, his best known song, " Times They Are A Changin' ".
At the time of its release it was considered an anthem for a generation that was fed up with the shenanigans of " The Establishment ". It was considered the perfect vehicle to let those in power know that things were going to change, and there was nothing " The Man " could do about it,so they might as well, " get with the program ".
Funny how none of us seemed to realize, back then, that the record company that released " our message " to " The Establishment " and the big chain stores that sold it were part of the same establishment we were sending a message to.
I guess we all figured it out though, since within a decade of the release of " Times They Are A Changin' " most of us were trying to become part of " The Establishment " as fast and as deeply as possible.
Don't feel too bad about it, seems every generation has gone through the same situation in one form or another. Each and every time the different generations have used the same " tool " to deal with the aftereffects of the idealistic views they had in their teens, but quickly abandoned by their mid twenties. The name of that often used, yet often unappreciated tool is " nostalgia " ( such a yearning for anything far removed in space or time ). The beauty of a tool such as nostalgia is the fact that it can be customized to fit the job that needs to be done, more than any other tool.
With nostalgia you can't relive the past, but you can escape the present.
S-0-0-0-0-0-0-0, why not perfect the use of this tool ? Instead of using a song like Dylan's " Times They Are A Changin'" as simply a way to look back and pretend the past was more than it was, why not use it to make the present seem like less than it is ?
Let's face it, the only reason we want to revisit the past is because the present isn't going the way we would like it to go.
So, why not take Dylan's " Times They Are A Changin' " and fast-forward to verse four ?
" Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, and don't criticize what you can't understand ".
BINGO ! , a successful union of the past and the present. We can feel like we never left our roots, while not feeling threatened by the present. Let's face it, the thing that most of us worry about these days is the number of things we don't understand.
Here's Bob Dylan, himself, telling us not to criticize the things we don't understand. As you know, you cannot worry about something without criticizing it. No criticizing = no worrying. I like it !
If we're lucky in the near future politicians will be using verse four of
" Times They Are A Changin' " in their campaign ads. Then we'll really be using our "tool" to the max.


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