The new Rolling Stone interview with Bob Dylan conducted by author Douglas Brinkley — which consists of varying content in the print magazine versus the online “outtakes” — has a whole bunch of funny and delightful and interesting bits. So much so, that it calls for a mega-post to deal with it, which I’m not up to doing at this moment. But from where we sit we would be remiss if we did not immediately highlight the passage in the print interview where the name of former president George W. Bush comes up.
Dylan talks a lot about the state of Texas in the interview, including about the “independent-thinking people” that he says come from there. Picking it up at one point:
“I think you really have to be a Texan to appreciate the vastness of it and the emptiness of it,” Dylan says. “But I’m an honorary Texan.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Well,” he says, “George Bush, when he was governor, gave me a proclamation that says I’m an honorary Texan [holds hand up in pledge, laughs]. As if anybody needed proof. It’s no small thing. I take it as a high honor. ”
Brinkley goes on to ask Dylan something more (we’re not told the exact question) about George W. Bush:
Almost every American artist has taken a piñata swipe at Bush’s legacy, but Dylan refuses. He instead looks at the Bush years as just another unsurprising incident of dawn-of-man folly [Brinkley’s characterization, of-course –Ed]. “I read history books just like you do,” Dylan says. “None of those guys are immune to the laws of history. They’re going to go up or down, and they’re going to take their people with them. None of us really knew what was happening in the economy. It changed so quickly into a true nightmare of horror. In another day and age, heads would roll. That’s what would happen. The rot would be cut out. As far as blaming everything on the last president, think of it this way: The same folks who had held him in such high regard came to despise him. Isn’t it funny that they’re the very same people who once loved him? People are fickle. Their loyalty can turn at the drop of a hat.”
What he says is plainly true; although, of-course, not all of George W. Bush’s supporters came to despise him. (He has never been held in contempt in this space, and never will be. Disagreements on a few issues do not justify contempt for a man of such character and decency as Dubya.)
As for his being named an honorary Texan by Bush: it makes me feel like a terrible failure that I never heard that this had happened, and so had never mentioned it here. Of-course, it’s not the kind of thing that would get a lot of attention in the media. That’s why Bob Dylan himself had to tell us about it. Belated congratulations to him. A high honor indeed.