--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "feste37" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: > > Excellent analysis. That this was an anti-war song had never > occurred to me before, but seems obvious now.
A viewing of Scorcese's "No Direction Home" and a read of Dylan's autobiography might be in order. :-) One can read almost anything one wants *into* his songs, but that doesn't mean that *he* intended for those things to be there. It was a love song then and it's a love song now, no matter how creatively one attempts to interpret it otherwise. It's the oldest problem in creation -- how to tell the difference between reality and what we project onto reality. > --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "Eustace" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: > > > > > > (From http://www.geocities.com/itaintme_babe/itaintme.html) > > > > _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ > > > > LITERARY CRITICISM > > > > IT AIN'T ME, BABE > > > > by Bob Dylan > > > > Go 'way from my window, > > Leave at your own chosen speed. > > I'm not the one you want, babe, > > I'm not the one you need. > > You say you're lookin' for someone > > Who's never weak but always strong, > > To protect you an' defend you > > Whether you are right or wrong, > > Someone to open each and every door, > > > > But it ain't me, babe, > > No, no, no, it ain't me, babe, > > It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe. > > > > Go lightly from the ledge, babe, > > Go lightly on the ground. > > I'm not the one you want, babe, > > I will only let you down. > > You say you're lookin' for someone > > Who will promise never to part, > > Someone to close his eyes for you, > > Someone to close his heart, > > Someone who will die for you an' more, > > > > But it ain't me, babe, > > No, no, no, it ain't me, babe, > > It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe. > > > > Go melt back in the night, > > Everything inside is made of stone. > > There's nothing in here moving > > An' anyway I'm not alone. > > You say you're looking for someone > > Who'll pick you up each time you fall, > > To gather flowers constantly > > An' to come each time you call, > > A lover for your life an' nothing more, > > > > But it ain't me, babe, > > No, no, no, it ain't me, babe, > > It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe. > > > > > > IT AIN'T THAT , BABE! > > > > In July 1992, while driving back to Hartford with a friend after the > > "Tribute to Woody Guthrie" concert in Central Park and listening to > > Bob Dylan, my companion made some comment about the song "It Ain't Me, > > Babe". It seems that somehow his remark and the lingering inspiration > > from the concert set me thinking, because a few days later I suddenly > > came to an startling insight into the meaning of the song's lyrics. > > > > The song has been understood variously as a cynical love song or as > > referring to Dylan's relationship with his audience; however, it is > > actually a political song. It clearly refers to the war in Vietnam and > > to the American flag, which the poet lets go from his window ("Go 'way > > from my window"), subsequently falls on the ledge ("Go lightly from > > the ledge, babe"), and finally to the ground ("Go lightly on the > > ground"); the verse "Leave at your own chosen speed" is a poetic > > description of the swinging motion of the falling flag. > > > > The lines "To protect you and defend you/Whether you are right of > > wrong" refer to actual battle situations and to the then raging dirty > > war; the same theme of the unjustness of the war we find again later: > > "Someone to close his eyes for you, Someone to close his heart" (a > > rather unusual request coming from a woman, to say the least). The > > verses "Someone who will die for you and more" and "Who'll pick you up > > each time you fall" should be construed literally and not > > metaphorically. "To come each time you call" refers to calls to arms, > > not to phone calls. The "promise never to part" implies court- martial, > > not divorce court. Only the "flowers" in the verse "To gather flowers > > constantly" should be understood metaphorically, as referring to > > military medals. Finally, the beginning of the third stanza: > > "Everything inside is made of stone./There's nothing in here moving" > > denotes the absence of patriotic sentiments in the heart of the poet, > > something, however, shared by draft resisters and others with similar > > antiwar sentiments ("And anyway I'm not alone"). > > > > When I realized that "It Ain't Me, Babe" was an antiwar and not a love > > song, I first imagined that I had rediscovered by myself something > > every young person in America in the sixties had known. But when I > > asked friends, and then when I checked the Dylan bibliography, I > > realized to my surprise that no one before had considered the most > > obvious, once of course you think of it, interpretation: Anthony > > Scaduto thinks that Dylan "tells Suze and all women that the search > > for an illusory Hollywood-romantic love, ... has turned him into > > stone" (Bob Dylan: An Intimate Biography, 1971, pp.110-111). Robert > > Shelton, the influential columnist whose report on Bob Dylan in the > > New York Times on Sept. 28, 1961 was a significant landmark in the > > singer's early career, remarks that "... this song, a rejection of the > > mythology of true love, could also represent Dylan's rejection of the > > audience's demands" (No Direction Home, 1986, p. 222). The eminent > > British music critic Wilfrid Mellers comments that "... he refuses to > > allow the girl's self-regarding love engulf him ... disarms through > > its lyricism" (No Direction Home, 1986, p. 222). And so on. > > > > "It Ain't Me, Babe" first appeared in the album "Another Side of Bob > > Dylan" in the summer of 1964, that is long before the antiwar movement > > had gathered its full momentum. Now the song, already included among > > Dylan's greatest hits, acquires added, historical as well as literary, > > significance. And the fact that the artist managed to conceal its true > > meaning so thinly and yet so effectively from so many for so long, is > > still another testimony to his well-established but still talked about > > creative genius: not too long ago, in a BBC program they were debating > > whether Tennyson or Dylan is a better poet; being a poet-proper rather > > then a poet-songwriter, Tennyson prevailed, but it was close. > > > > Dylan, however, purposely gave a specific clue pointing to the correct > > interpretation: the movement of his "babe" from the window, to the > > ledge, and then to the ground. The vivid imagery of the outside of a > > building and furthermore the specification that the object is falling > > lightly, doesn't leave, in my opinion, much room for alternate > > explanations. > > > > Then Bob Dylan turned religious rather than political, and lots of the > > Vietnam era radicals became yuppies... No, no, no, it ain't me who is > > gonna stone anybody: after all, just three years before that memorable > > concert I took an oath to the American flag (and, when questioned, I > > answered that yes, I would fight for the United States against Greece > > in the event of a war between the two countries...). But this > > important political statement of the greatest troubadour of our > > generation remains painfully relevant today; the same moral issues it > > deals with were raised again by the conscientious objectors of the > > Gulf War; and unfortunately they will continue to haunt us in the > > foreseeable future. > > > > EUSTACE M. FRILINGOS > > New York, April 1999 > > > > © 1992, 1999 by Eustace M. Frilingos. Permission is hereby granted to > > reproduce the above article verbatim and with due credit to the > > author; any who do so are requested to inform the Webmaster . All > > other rights reserved. > > > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Ever feel sad or cry for no reason at all? Depression. Narrated by Kate Hudson. http://us.click.yahoo.com/CQDrNC/ubOLAA/d1hLAA/0NYolB/TM --------------------------------------------------------------------~-> To subscribe, send a message to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Or go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ and click 'Join This Group!' Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/