Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bob Dylan and The Masters of War

I just discovered that there is a Bob Dylan song called "Masters of War". Forgive me for my cultural ignorance.

Unfortunately, the song is limited in its view point and actually proves the point of my previous post.

Dylan sings about the Masters of War as if they are only the rich leaders of the military industrial complex who send young men off to die so that they can increase their profits. But, what I am talking about is the desire of all people to become the Masters of War. This desire to chain War and make it do our bidding is a desire that all people have at one time or another.

But it is a fool's desire because War can never be mastered. It can only be survived.

Dylan's song proves my point in its final verse as it expresses the desire to turn War back on its alleged Masters:

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

This is a clear call for the moral clarity of War to work for the oppressed instead of the oppressor. But the clarity of War is a false one whether it wielded in the service of the rich or the poor.

War is no man's slave.


Blogger campester said...

if you're finding a clear call for anything in any of bob's lyrics, then you've found something that the rest of us have been looking high and low for since, oh, i'm guessing before you were born. :)

but if you review his catalog, and especially most of his lyrics of that particular decade, i think you'll find he had little interest in putting reins on that particular horseman, much less any of the other three. in other words, in my opinion all he's saying here is "i hope that you die". not, "i hope that the people rise up in glorious revolution against you" - just, "i hope an ice cream truck runs you over, or you get cancer, or something like that." and if you've never wished that on the masters of war, you're a better man than most.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Chris Andersen said...

Perhaps I read more into it than was there. But in the context of the overall song it felt like he was calling for turning War on the so-called Masters of War. Perhaps not. I'm not a Dylanoligist (after all, I did just find out about this song yesterday :-)).

Thanks for commenting.

2:17 PM  

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