The 40th Anniversary edition of Rolling Stone is now on newsstands. The interview by Jann Wenner of Bob Dylan contains a lot of material that was not in the audio clips posted on the RS website over the weekend. Among other things, there is a continuing pattern of Wenner trying to get some political quotes out of Dylan, and not receiving that which he’d clearly like to receive. As in:
Wenner: What do you think of the historical moment we’re in today? We seem to be hellbent on destruction. Do you worry about global warming?
Dylan: Where’s the global warming? It’s freezing here.
Wenner: It seems a pretty frightening outlook.
Dylan: I think what you’re driving at, though, is we expect politicians to solve all our problems. I don’t expect politicians to solve anybody’s problems.
Wenner: Who is going to solve them?
Dylan: Our own selves. We’ve got to take the world by the horns and solve our own problems. The world owes us nothing, each and every one of us, the world owes us not one single thing. Politicans or whoever.
Wenner: Do you think America is a force for good in the world today?
Wenner: But in practical fact …
Dylan: The practical fact is always different than theory.
Wenner: What do you think the practical fact is now?
Dylan: With what’s going on? Human nature hasn’t really changed in 3,000 years. Maybe the obstacles and actualities and daily customs change, but human nature really hasn’t changed. It cannot change. It’s not made to change.
The scent of desperation from Wenner is palpable. He’s doing his damnedest to pin Bob down, but Dylan just keeps stepping back and speaking on an entirely different level, at the same time dismissing the left/liberal clichés that form the premise of the questions.
As a study in contrast, take a look at the interview with Paul McCartney (God bless ’im), in the same issue, conducted by Anthony DeCurtis.
DeCurtis: As you look ahead, what are the major issues facing us now?
McCartney: To make some headway in world peace. It would be great if people with differences in the world today would realize that there are no differences — it’s an energy field, dude! What’s needed is the same old thing: peace and love. Not to be frivolous, but that is still the great aim.
Well, and you guys probably need a new leader [laughs] ! I mean, that would help.
DeCurtis: No kidding.
McCartney: And we do too. You know that book The Ugly American? Britain’s part of that syndrome now. It’s like we’re in a state of denial. What global warming? What war? But global warming is a reality. The environment is a reality.
So, push the button and you get the requisite anti-Bush, anti-war and pro- “global-warming-as-religion” quotes from Macca, and no doubt most of the other graying celebrities who gave interviews for this “milestone” edition of RS.
I guess someone forgot to give Bob Dylan the script.