Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jimmy Loves Bob, but Does Bob Love Jimmy?

Julie Gorin wrote a fascinating piece today on the Jimmy Carter's unrequited love (well, maybe only admiration) for Bob Dylan. But, as Ms. Gorin writes:
I know of Carter’s repeated efforts to get Dylan to perform or at least show up at Carter events and campaign stops and major political bashes. Every time, Dylan was either too busy or traveling, or made sure that he was. Diss!

Some interviewer should ask Carter whether he’s aware that Bob Dylan is a Jew. Even worse, he’s a Jew who doesn’t hate Israel. In fact, he’s the Jew who wrote the song “Neighborhood Bully” in 1983:

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man,
His enemies say he’s on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin,
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He’s always on trial for just being born.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He’s the neighborhood bully.
Julie Gorin left out one verse. You can find it here Just scroll down. It's the eighth verse.

As a youngun' growing up in the 60s and 70s I wasn't much of a Dylan fan. He wasn't loud enough. He didn't scream. I hadn't yet learned to appreciate musical niceties like melody, harmony, and intelligent lyrics. I've got a bunch of his stuff on vinyl and CD. Jimmy Carter, friend to terrorists, Jew-hater, I've got no sympathy for. I'd like to invite him over to my house and play one Dylan song for him though.

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