You that build the big guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain
Bob Dylan - Masters Of War 1962-3
Well, the debate is on. Should any songwriter, let alone Bob Dylan, be awarded a prize for literature. Dylan's win was a surprise to many yesterday, and the reaction was mixed in unusual ways. There were eminent poets who applauded what was an audacious choice. Then there were singer/songwriters who expressed disdain, even though they are Dylan fans, feeling that a literature prize should not go to a songsmith. Go figure.
Dylan began as something of a social activist rebel, became an icon, and has always been enigmatic to put it diplomatically. While he was reviled and booed when he went electric in the sixties, he actually began with rock, moved to folk, and then...well, he was Dylan.
He has been something of a mystery when it comes to religion as well. As the name Bob Zimmerman might suggest, he grew up Jewish, then became a "born again" Christian in the late 70s. A couple of albums from that period are exclusively Christian, but he returned to Judaism along the way. He once described Jesus as his hero.
In response to a question whether he regarded himself as a follower of Christ or as a Jew, he humorously responded that he followed Christ "about 50% of the time and (is) a Jew only when I have to be." I've included a couple of stanzas from one of the songs from his Saved album.
What do you think Dylan's choice for the Nobel Prize? Were you, are you a fan? Were you aware of his Christian fervour? Are your answers blowin' in the wind?
When they came for Him in the garden, did they know?
When He spoke to them in the city, did they hear?
When He rose from the dead, did they believe?
He said, "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth."
Did they know right then and there what that power was worth?
Bob Dylan - In The Garden Lyrics