On March 16th I was typing here an extract from Bob Dylan’s Chronicles and I was thinking, “Wait a minute, now…”
He wrote, of the WWII years,
Hitler, Churchill, Mussolini, Stalin, Roosevelt -- towering figures that the world would never see the likes of again, men who relied on their own resolve, for better or worse, every one of them prepared to act alone, indifferent in approval -- indifferent to wealth or love, all presiding over the destiny of mankind and reducing the world to rubble.
Coming from a long line of Alexanders and Julius Caesars, Genghis Khans, Charlemagnes and Napoleons, they carved up the world like a really dainty dinner....they would not be denied and were impossible to reckon with -- rude barbarians stampeding across the earth and hammering out their own ideas of geography.
We would need him to “wait a minute” because Hitler, Churchill, Mussolini, Stalin, and Roosevelt were not all in a group, “reducing the world to rubble,” and “rude barbarians stampeding across the earth and hammering out their own ideas of geography.”
Roosevelt and Churchill were not stampeding or hammering or forcing their own ideas of geography on others, and they were not “rude barbarians.” Roosevelt and Churchill were the good guys; Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin the bad guys.
And maybe Bob Dylan wasn’t saying they were “all” the bad guys, or “rude barbarians” – he gets to writing, and one line leads to another, and it becomes how it sounds, how it goes – this is why he’s an artist, not an historian. And they were the leaders – the “towering figures” – all of them, both the good and the bad. (Two hedged bets here, though – I'm not sure anyone thought Mussolini was a “towering figure” and Dylan left out Hirohito, another of the “bad guys.”)
(Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin at Yalta)
-------------------------- That'd be another reason why we don't attend American History taught by Professor Bob Dylan, and we don't go to Wolf Trap to watch Arnold Offner "rock live."
Each person has their own job to do...