A Master of Insults

If you listen to Bob Dylan’s music, you can hear many a great jab. The cheery lightness that seems infused in a lot of his music seems to overshadow some of the more vitriolic comments. Sorry to go all cliche on everyone’s ass, but I still think one of the sentimental Hate Ballads (or…schadenfraude ballads?) is Like a Rolling Stone, in which he kicks Edie Sedgwick while she’s doped up and down.

“Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.”

Not to mention Positively Fourth Street, far less poetic and adorned but straight to the heart of the matter:

“You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, “How are you?” “Good luck”
But you don’t mean it

When you know as well as me
You’d rather see me paralyzed
Why don’t you just come out once
And scream it”

Or about the Masters of War:

“Even Jesus would never forgive what you do”

This is a man on whose bad side you do not want to be.

I would like to name my daughter Edie, because two of my most beloved cultural icons are Edies, but they were also both irreparably fucked up, and so my friends tell me I cannot do that. But I can give her that middle name.

I am in a rambling mood, partially inspired by and inspiring the writing about Bob Dylan. As my teacher said this morning, “Somebody please stop me from talking!”

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