There’s no doubt that Bob Dylan stands high among the greats of rock-and-roll history and that his songs will continue to inspire millions with their poetic imagery, but his latest interview for the Rolling Stone magazine (September 27, 2012 issue) suggests that he has taken his imagery into the realms of insanity of the senile kind when he unleashes his seemingly delusional and scatterbrain claims of the U.S.A.’s “Black’s and Whites/ slavery masters and Klan blood” and “Croatian blood”.
“This country is too f**ked up about color. It’s a distraction. People at each others’ throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery – that is they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. If you’ve 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. It’s doubtful that America’s ever going to get rid of that stigmatization. It’s a country formed on the backs of slaves. …. If slavery had been given up in a more peaceful way, America would be far ahead today.”
There’s a likelihood that some possible adverse cerebral effects of Dylan’s long-standing drug and alcohol addiction, his advancing age and his May 2012 receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honour in the US and, according to the White House, is awarded to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavours) all conspired in the result of the bizarre, the doozy, the hostile, the delusional interview with Mikal Gilmore. With utmost respect and care for those suffering from a mental health problem there comes a time when one must, for the sake of absolute truth and sanity, confront the fact and call a delusion – a delusion.
Mikal Gilmore’s respectful interviewing strategy, filled with praise for Dylan’s musical achievements did nothing for his attempts to make this interview a palatable piece of journalistic adventure. Dylan kept going off the deep end, off the tangents, appearing as a hostile, self-pitying, not too witty (far removed from the wit in the lyrics of his songs) and incoherent old man, even though he is only 71 years old.
While people in the U.S.A. surely take grave offense to Dylan’s insane claims regarding the blood of slavery masters and KKK still running in their veins so strong that “Blacks” can sniff it, or sense it, Croatians have moved a step further and some Radio stations (e.g. Split) have banned Dylan’s music post this interview in the Rolling Stone.
Love the resolve!
Dylan has confused the facts of recent history: it was the Serbs who brutally attacked Croatians in the early 1990’s and not vice versa. It was Serbs who murdered masses and ethnically cleansed Croatian territory of Croatians and non-Serbs before Croatia had to accelerate its defense in efforts to save lives. It was Serbs who perpetrated Srebrenica genocide in 1995, not Croatians.
Duquesne Whistle from Dylan’s Tempest album has some telling lyrics about his state of mind during the Rolling Stone interview:
“Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like she never blowed before
Blue light blinking, red light glowing
Blowing like she’s at my chamber door”
Indeed, Dylan’s mind seems to be blowing like it never blew before and this time he reveals things about himself that truly compel one to question the clarity of his mind and his motives. Apart from the passage on America’s slavery masters, the Ku-Klux-Klan, Nazis, Jews, Croatians and Serbians, quoted above the shock he serves to the public goes further, making one wonder if the boundaries between reality and delusional are truly blurred in his mind, or whether his Rolling Stone tantrums are his last-ditch effort to stay in the limelight and earn a buck while he still can. Whichever it is – it’s nasty and intolerable.
Often, we’ve read that Dylan (real name Robert Zimmerman) had changed after his 1966 motorcycle accident and he explains this by saying that the accident spurred his transfiguration (in reference to Jesus’ transformation from a physical to spiritual entity in the New Testament). Dylan says that upon reading a book about the Hells Angels, he realised he was transfigured in conjunction with a man sharing his name – Bobby Zimmerman, the president of the San Fernando chapter of the Hells Angels – who also had a motorcycle accident in the 1960s and died. Hence, this is why Dylan seems to be struggling to explain some things from his past – that person is “long dead.”
Attacking those who’ve accused him of lyrical plagiarism of various authors, Dylan goes for the kill of his critics: “Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It’s an old thing – it’s part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you’ve been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherf**kers can rot in hell.”
Oh, and Dylan likes Barrack Obama and that’s probably fairly due to the fact that Obama recently bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, however, the fact that Dylan pins his positive view of Obama by saying that he is “a good dresser, personable and loves music” clearly shows what Dylan values in political leaders – something far, far removed from the values political leaders should have if they were to delve into Dylan’s claims of racial-discriminatory, genocidal, persecutory blood that can still, according to him, be sniffed out on the streets of America and Croatia.
A comparison of Dylan as he emerges from this Rolling Stone interview with a disturbing fruit loop image serves poetic imagery right. But also, there are the lyrics of Duquesne Whistle to consider: “can hear a sweet voice steadily calling, Must be the mother of Our Lord”! A seething delusion or poetic imagery!? Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)