Dylan's birthday present: Free Bob from the Bobolator cult.

Scrutinizing culture.
May 16 2011 10:31 AM

Dylan's Birthday Present

Free Bob from the Bobolator cult.

See our Magnum Photos gallery on Bob Dylan.

(Continued from Page 3)

I know the first Dylan song that really got to me was "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," a song with a sarcastic title and yet filed with regret, remorse, romantic longing, and a wish that things had turned out differently. His words are sarcastic, but he's almost sending up his self-portrait of detachment, portraying it as false bravado for a broken heart. He's thinking at least twice.

And I'd like to close on a personal note involving that song and its fusion of love and sarcasm.

Advertisement

There's something about this breakup song that, rather than indulging in bitterness and self-recrimination, lends itself to a romantic feeling. I can testify to this. I was at a party some years ago, feeling morose. A girl I didn't want to lose had left because I didn't do enough to keep her, and she had just taken off for the United Kingdom to marry a banker. The very next night at that party—it was in a sixth-floor garret in the Village—I was oversharing my sadness. I did it by quoting one of Dylan's most beautiful and overlooked songs of love and loss: "I Threw It All Away."

"I must have been mad/ I never knew what I had/ Until I threw it all away."

It just so happened that a poetically lovely young woman in a brown velveteen mini shift (hey, there are some details that linger in your memory) had been curled up on a couch taking note of this with a kind of knowing smile (she was onto my self-romanticizing game, yet in a forgiving way), and after I repeated "I threw it all away" one more time she spoke up and said,

"Yeah, but don't think twice, it's all right."

We ended up living together the next three years. I look back on it now as "Love at First Cite."

I have Dylan to thank for it.

Happy birthday, Bob.

If you're in Manhattan this Tuesday night, Ron will be speaking about his latest book, How the End Begins: The Road to Nuclear War, at the 92nd Street Y with The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 23 2014 6:00 AM Naked and Afraid Prudie offers advice on whether a young boy should sleep in the same room with his nude grandfather.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Books
Sept. 23 2014 7:14 AM Fighting the Sophomore Slump, Five Novels at a Time Announcing the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.