Conversations With Robin
June 19, 2008
Conversations With Robin
Robin Mark and R.E. Prindle
Conversations continued from Post: Lipstick Traces Part IX: Greil Marcus
OK, OK, OK. I’m getting it, took a while. STONE. Everybody must get stoned. What’s your mother’s maiden name, Bob? Stone. Right. Dylan might be tongue tied. I certainly was. Still am to a certain extent. But, I think one place to start is the religious conflict he had to endure.
His father, Abe, was a fundamentalist religious weirdo. Just because one is Jewish doesn’t mean you can’t be as religiously weird as Mike Huckabee. For Christ’s sake, Bob believes the Bible is literally the word of God. Somebody recorded his rants between songs and published them. Don’t have the book as yet but I’ve read a couple of exerpts. I already know all that crap. Spent much youthful time among the Nazarenes and other weird outfits. They had me for a while but I threw them off. The taste still lingers though. Bob apparently hasn’t. God, how can anyone believe that crap.
Beattie in Thompson’s book say Bob sampled the various churches as well as attending Jewish sabbath. Yes, I can believe that. So he’s got a father who’s king of B’nai B’rith and ADL and a controlling mother who’s quieen of Hadassah. As if this isn’t enough when he turns thirteen his old man straps him to the torture rack, pries his eyelids open with toothpicks and bombards the poor little bastard with Lubavitcher bullroar.
And then…and then, they send him off to be preached Zionist poppycock for a month or two every summer for four years. I can’t tell you how much I hated church camp. I mean, I can, but maybe later.
Apart from the religious issue then we have the personalities of Abe and Beattie. I got a vaguely uncomfortable mother feeling about Beattie from Thompson’s Main Street. I wouldn’t say I didn’t like her but I probably would have been very respectful and kept my distance if she had been the mother of my best friend.
So then, how does Bob tell her and Abe how he feels? Can’t just speak right up to his parents, who can? Consider the successive titles: Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited. Like all artists Bob can combine several different influences into one song or even one line. Highway 61 is nowhere near Hibbing which is situated North of Duluth so if Highway 61 figures in anywhere it’s down at Redwing or perhaps the run back and forth to Minneapolis.
It is mere coincidence that Highway 61 continues to the Mississippi Delta. Has nothing to do with Bob’s thoughts. He can’t express himself plainly so he has a couple accusatory poses photographed looking straight at Abe and Beattie and goes into rants like ‘God said to Abraham…’
All that’s possible.
I’ve been reading on Bob’s religious odyssey in Restless Pilgrim: The Spiritual Journey Of Bob Dylan by Scott M. Marshall and Marcia Ford and also Marshall’s solo piece from the web on Jewsweek. Very enlightening stuff. Sounes and Heylin could have blended it into their biographies and given some sense to his later years.
The guy actually believes the Bible stuff literally. When he says: God said to Abraham… he means it. He thinks it actually happened. I spent a lot of time with those people in my yout’. Been there, done that. No thank you.
I am getting clearer on why I thought the Middle Period was so entrancing though. Still don’t forgive myself but I was there so I suppose I had to go through it.