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Bob Dylan, Recovering Christian

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So you don't care who's president? It doesn't make any difference?
I don't think so. I mean, how long is Reagan gonna be president? I've seen like four or five of 'em myself, you know? And I've seen two of 'em die in office. How can you deal with Reagan and get so serious about that, when the man isn't even gonna be there when you get your thing together?

So you don't think there's any difference between, say, a Kennedy and a Nixon? It doesn't matter at all?
I don't know. It's very popular nowadays to think of yourself as a "liberal humanist." That's such a bullshit term. It means less than nothing. Who was a better president? Well, you got me. I don't know what people's errors are; nobody's perfect, for sure. But I thought Kennedy — both Kennedys — I just liked them. And I liked Martin . . . Martin Luther King. I thought those were people who were blessed and touched, you know? The fact that they all went out with bullets doesn't change nothin'. Because the good they do gets planted. And those seeds live on longer than that.

Do you still hope for peace?
There is not going to be any peace.

Bob Dylan's Late-Era, Old-Style American Individualism

You don't think it's worth working for?
No. It's just gonna be a false peace. You can reload your rifle, and that moment you're reloading it, that's peace. It may last for a few years.

Isn't it worth fighting for that?
Nah, none of that matters. I heard somebody on the radio talkin' about what's happenin' in Haiti, you know? "We must be concerned about what's happening in Haiti. We're global people now." And they're gettin' everybody in that frame of mind — like, we're not just the United States anymore, we're global. We're thinkin' in terms of the whole world because communications come right into your house. Well, that's what the Book of Revelation is all about. And you can just about know that anybody who comes out for peace is not for peace.

But what if someone genuinely is for peace?
Well, you can't be for peace and be global, It's just like that song "Man of Peace." But none of this matters, if you believe in another world. If you believe in this world, you're stuck; you really don't have a chance. You'll go mad, 'cause you won't see the end of it. You may wanna stick around, but you won't be able to. On another level, though, you will be able to see this world. You'll look back and say, "Ah, that's what it was all about all the time. Wow, why didn't I get that?"

Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Miles Davis: Photographs by Don Hunstein

That's a very fatalistic view, isn't it?
I think it's realistic. If it is fatalistic, it's only fatalistic on this level, and this level dies anyway, so what's the difference? So you're fatalistic, so what?

There's a lyric in "License to Kill": "Man has invented his doom/First step was touching the moon." Do you really believe that?
Yeah, I do. I have no idea why I wrote that line, but on some level, it's like just a door into the unknown.

Isn't man supposed to progress, to forge ahead?
Well . . . but not there. I mean, what's the purpose of going to the moon? To me, it doesn't make any sense. Now they're gonna put a space station up there, and it's gonna cost, what — $600 billion, $700 billion? And who's gonna benefit from it? Drug companies who are gonna be able to make better drugs. Does that make sense? Is that supposed to be something that a person is supposed to get excited about? Is that progress? I don't think they're gonna get better drugs. I think they're gonna get more expensive drugs.

Everything is computerized now, it's all computers. I see that as the beginning of the end. You can see everything going global. There's no nationality anymore, no I'm this or I'm that: "We're all the same, all workin' for one peaceful world, blah, blah, blah."

Somebody's gonna have to come along and figure out what's happening with the United States. Is this just an island that's going to be blown out of the ocean, or does it really figure into things? I really don't know. At this point right now, it seems that it figures into things. But later on, it will have to be a country that's self-sufficient, that can make it by itself without that many imports.

Right now, it seems like in the States, and most other countries, too, there's a big push on to make a big global country — one big country — where you can get all the materials from one place and assemble them someplace else and sell 'em in another place, and the whole world is just all one, controlled by the same people, you know? And if it's not there already, that's the point it's tryin' to get to.

Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Bob Dylan's 'Highway 61 Revisited'

In "Union Sundown," the Chevrolet you drive is "put together down in Argentina by a guy makin' thirty cents a day." Are you saying he'd be better off without that thirty cents a day?
What's thirty cents a day? He don't need the thirty cents a day. I mean, people survived for 6,000 years without having to work for slave wages for a person who comes down and . . . well, actually, it's just colonization. But see, I saw that stuff firsthand, because where I come from, they really got that deal good, with the ore.

In Minnesota, in the Iron Range, where you grew up?
Yeah. Everybody was workin' there at one time. In fact, ninety percent of the iron for the Second World War came out of those mines, up where I'm from. And eventually, they said, "Listen, this is costing too much money to get this out. We must be able to get it someplace else." Now the same thing is happening, I guess, with other products.

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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