Politics

One infamous Dylanologist says Dylan’s aloof behavior toward Obama during White House concert explained by racism; other Dylan expert ‘strongly disagrees’

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      Jeff Winkler

      Jeff Winkler is a Daily Caller staff writer covering firearms, as well as campaign advertising and fringe culture topics. He worked previously for several Arkansas and New Zealand publications. His byline has appeared in Slate, Reason, Good magazine, the Guardian, Washington City Paper and most notably, Worm Digest.

If there is just one thing to glean from President Barack Obama’s chat with Rolling Stone editor Jann Werner, perhaps it is this: Bob Dylan hates black people.

At least that’s what one of the most infamous and controversial “Dylanologists” said in an interview with The Daily Caller.

In the long heart-to-heart between the president and the Rolling Stone magazine editor, Obama recalls his encounter with the living legend, who played at the White House for “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” in February:

“[Bob Dylan] wouldn’t come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn’t want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn’t show up to that. He came in and played “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage — I’m sitting right in the front row — comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves. And that was it — then he left. That was our only interaction with him.”

While Obama went on to say that Dylan was “exactly as you’d expect he would be,” for the ridiculed subculture meta-celebrity Dylanologist, A.J. Weberman, that behavior was just Dylan’s racism shifting from cryptic lyrics to cryptic gestures.

Having spent years laboriously decoding the messages hidden in Dylan’s songs and poems, Weberman says he’s seen an uncomfortable pattern, one that he says explains Dylan’s aloof behavior toward the president. (Weberman claims to have created and mastered the art of literally digging through Dylan’s garbage for evidence, “Garbology” to professionals.)

“[Dylan's] hatred for blacks seems to have overtaken his desire to, you know, receive this kind of prestigious welcome,” said Weberman, who also remarked that the mere appearance of Dylan at the Obama White House is insignificant.

“[Dylan will] show up for anybody, for the Pope, doesn’t really matter. He’s looking to add another notch to his career as a performer.”

In an interesting interview, Weberman methodically decoded several Dylan songs for TheDC, which he believes proves Dylan’s dislike of African Americans. The author of “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol,” “The Hurricane,” and “The Times They Are A’ Changing,” is, says Weberman, a pretty big racist. You just have to read between the color lines.

For TheDC’s benefit, Weber interpreted revealing sections of Dylan’s autobiography Chronicles: Volume 1 and described several songs which support his “idea [that Dylan] doesn’t like blacks” before decoding the more popular song,”Subterranean Homesick Blues”:

And then I looked at another song, “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” where it’s also racist embedded meaning. And he says, “the pump don’t work, ’cause the vandals took the handles.” The pump, pumping money into the economy, giving blacks money, doesn’t work ‘cause the vandals, the liberals, took the handles. The ax handles, like Lester Maddox used to give out pickaxe handles in his chicken place to beat blacks so the whites can beat up blacks over the
head with them. Get it?

“Yeah,” said TheDC. TheDC actually meant to say “no.”

Up Next: The other side of Bob Dylan: he’s more conservative than his liberal appropriators let on

  • rowdygirl

    “He didn’t want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn’t show up to that.”

    wow.. and he’s NOT a narcissist???

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  • dave72

    Bobby Zimmerman knows an anti-Semite when he sees one.

  • Skepticus

    This entire article is a crock of you-know-what.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sukie-Tawdry/100000706973113 Sukie Tawdry

    People have been trying to force Dylan into one ideological slot or another for decades. They should stop trying. Dylan has been a chronicler, an observer, an interpreter of his times; he did not seek to drive them. On the other hand, Yippi “garbologist” Weberman is a pest and certifiable nut who shouldn’t be given serious consideration.

    During the 2008 presidential election, Dylan was intrigued by Obama (“He’s like a fictional character, but he’s real”) and had this to say:

    Asked about his views on American politics, he said: “Well, you know right now America is in a state of upheaval. Poverty is demoralizing. You can’t expect people to have the virtue of purity when they are poor.

    “But we’ve got this guy out there now who is redefining the nature of politics from the ground up…Barack Obama.

    “He’s redefining what a politician is, so we’ll have to see how things play out. Am I hopeful? Yes, I’m hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to.”

    Doesn’t sound like he was grappling with his innate hatred of blacks to me.

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