Monday, December 12, 2016

Which Side Are You On

Now at midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row
-- Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan

Reporters often asked Dylan - or the other performers of the song (AKA the Band) - where Desolation Row is. It's a foolish question, if you consider the lyrics. It's not a slum, it's not a red light district. It's not a whorehouse or a prison. You're taking these things too literal.

Pay attention to the lyrics. You'll realize Desolation Row is the United States.

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