Bob Dylan Talks Music and Draws in a Trailer (1986)

Bob Dylan has always been in the enviable position of being taken seriously even when he is just messing around. God he must be fun to hang out with. I think he is one of the funniest human beings I have ever seen. He carries on here as if beginning an interview but he’s really drawing the interviewer with total focus and determination. He then proudly holds up one of the worst drawings I’ve ever seen in the long history art. But have you ever seen someone answer questions this way? I like the way in part 2 he predicts the sudden change in music about to happen when the kids who don’t like all the machine music of the eighties make something new in four or five years. He was predicting the emergence of the alternative scene and bands like Nirvana I think.

R. Crumb and the Corporate Mono-Culture

Cartoonist Robert Crumb gets interviewed by a Los Angeles Times writer and talks about his living in France and his hatred for the pervasive corporate mono-culture that Americans seem unaware of.  He can’t stand it and chooses to live outside of it.

Really good perspective.

In a culture where you’ve got a Supreme Court actually giving corporate entities the rights of individual human beings, you’ve got total corporate control of every single living man, woman and child.  You can see this complete robotic control on very prominent and horrific display in the current president of the United States.  He a corporate hologram who moves only when commanded to by his boardroom overseers.  The entire country is oriented around cop/lawyer shows on television which are specifically designed to make you feel close and personal with the state/corporate stooges who work for police departments and gleefully lay disadvantaged people out on their faces on subway platforms and slaughter them with bullets fired straight into their backs from six inches away.  ‘The Mentalist’ is probably the supreme example of this attempt to make the corporate/police control mechanism seem odd and quirky and just a little cutely but intelligently eccentric.  ‘Medium’ is another.  The individual with oddball abilities or perceptions is entirely consumed and controlled by the state apparatus.  All cop shows are meant to make as many viewers as possible feel completely comfortable being visited by and talking to the police.  That is the entire truth of American television.  It’s message is simply this: when we come knocking, open the door.

That is the true subtext of every single show ever produced by American broadcasting companies.

R. Crumb is totally right.

Jean-Luc Godard Interviews Woody Allen

Jean-Luc Godard interviews Woody Allen… sort of.  What is clear to me from watching this video is that Woody Allen is an ordinary thinker.  Jean-Luc Godard is not.  And frankly I’m not certain who is funnier.  I think this is a devastating dismantling of Mr. Allen.  It’s bordering on open mockery.  Watch how Allen looks at Godard.  He hasn’t the slightest idea what’s going on.  Every single answer Allen gives is perfectly expected and we’ve heard all of them before from a hundred other filmmakers.  Godard’s questions however, come dropping out of the bottom of a 747 that’s flying without a pilot.

Poetry Is? It’s a Stupid Question, That’s What.

In my poetic web adventures I went and found this big long movie by George Quasha about poets trying to tell everybody what poetry is. What is poetry? It’s not an unanswerable question. It’s a stupid question. But these poets do try to answer it. It’s a rather long movie and I always look for a bad guy in every movie. Without a bad guy, a movie just makes me hungry and I get up to go to the bathroom a lot. These poets are all so nice and content looking. So friendly and comfortable. I can’t find out which one is the bad one. Someone once asked me a really stupid question and I ran away with his camera and threw it in the river. Why aren’t any of these poets nasty and depressed? What makes them so pleasant? They all sound like their favorite piece of furniture is a podium.

Here’s a guy who if you ask him what poetry is will very likely give you a good reason to never ask that question again:

Get what I mean?

Poet John Ashbery Gives Interesting Answers

Poet John Ashbery sat down to answer questions on a program called Open Book. He’s fascinating. I’m not sure why he is not running away from the questions, but whatever his infirmity might be, he is interesting in spite of the interviewers.

One thing in particular caught my attention: I don’t have any hidden meanings in my poems.

I think that’s an astounding thing to hear from one of the most difficult and impenetrable poets I have ever read.

by John Ashbery

Ages passed slowly, like a load of hay,
As the flowers recited their lines
And pike stirred at the bottom of the pond.
The pen was cool to the touch.

Read the rest of the poem…

Bob Dylan Walks with Ghosts

Bill Flanagan at Times Online has an interview with Bob Dylan.  They talk about Dylan’s impressions of Barack Obama’s writing in Dreams of My Father.  It seems that Dylan considers the president to be a pretty good writer, capable of making readers think and feel at the same time.  He thinks Obama says some ‘profoundly outrageous things.’  I always enjoy the slightly argumentative way Bob Dylan answers questions.  So often, when an interviewer thinks something is obvious, Dylan says, ‘not exactly,’ and goes on to carefully explain how the interviewer is wrong.

Dylan talks about ghosts in the American South:

It must be the Southern air. It’s filled with rambling ghosts and disturbed spirits. They’re all screaming and forlorning. It’s like they are caught in some weird web – some purgatory between heaven and hell and they can’t rest.

Then this:

BF: Are you a mystical person?

BD: Absolutely.

BF: Any thoughts about why?

BD: I think it’s the land. The streams, the forests, the vast emptiness. The land created me. I’m wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I‘m more at home in the vacant lots. But I have a love for humankind, a love of truth, and a love of justice. I think I have a dualistic nature. I’m more of an adventurous type than a relationship type.

BF: But the album is all about love – love found, love lost, love remembered, love denied.

BD: Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.

Anyone who talks that way is definitely going to be able to sell me some music.  I will be all ears and I will walk around for months trying to find those ghosts.  If he says they’re there, then they are.