(The following article is a parody. Examiner has never in actuality talked to Bob Dylan. This is a fictional satirical piece and none of the words ascribed to him in this article are in fact his.)
During the Super Bowl game, an ad for Chrysler cars appeared, with a familiar tune starting to be played in the background, "Things Have Changed," by Bob Dylan. Then the following words began to be narrated over the guitar chords, by an equally familiar voice...
Is there anything more American than America? ‘Cause you can’t import a vision. You can’t fake true cool. You can’t duplicate legacy. Because what Detroit created was a first and became an inspiration to the rest of the world.
Images of cheerleaders, diners, small town baseball games, Dylan in the 60's, James Dean and other images quickly flicker by.
But the voice... once the voice of his generation, the voice of the man who in the 60's set out to remake the world at large, the voice of the man who sounded his generation's battle charge, was, gasp... using his voice to pitch cars. American cars. And pitch America... here was his voice in a Chrysler commercial!
Then the truly unbelievable thing happened, hitting us all like a lead balloon. A black grate elevator door opens and it's HIM! The man himself, America's poet spokesman, Bob Dylan! Playing the part of a spokesman for American pride and Chrysler cars.
The country, sitting before their giant HD Wide-Screen TV's, chomping on buffalo wings and nachos, swilling Bud Lights, becomes collectively stunned. America's mouth drops wide open!
Bob Dylan?! If this isn't selling out, what is!?
Then, from the bard's mouth came more words...
Yeah, Detroit made cars, and cars made America. Making the best, making the finest, takes conviction … And you can’t import the heart and soul of every man and woman working on the line.
You can search the world over for the finer things but you won’t find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.
Because we believe in the zoom, and the roar and the thrust. And when it’s made here it’s made with the one thing you can’t import from anywhere else. American pride.
So let Germany brew your beer. Have Switzerland make your watch. Let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car.
From the same mouth that once said,
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you
Something is happening here, but we don't know what it is... tell us, Mr. D.
In that one, sweeping, nationwide gesture, Dylan crushed the hearts of millions of befuddled folkies, still clasping their autoharps to their chest, contributing to WGBH after Peter, Paul and Mary sing "Blowin' in the Wind." Broke the hearts and wills of the righteously indignant new-folk beardoes who discovered him and embraced him to their barrel chested hearts. And Dylan finally disappointed, in the worst way, a whole bunch of everyday Joe's and Josephine's who've looked up to him for his vision, wisdom, leadership and guidance all through the years, as they've muddled through their mundane lives oh so full of it - the banality, boredom and quiet desperation of ordinary existence. But you see, Bob had given their lives uplift and meaning! He was their guide, their hope, their pacifier. Now what would they do? Go out and buy a Chrysler? The commercial suddenly made it all seem so cruel.
Why was he doing this to us all?? Was this finally, fatally, totally the last gasp of peace, love and 60's idealism? Had we now lost all ray of hope?
The only way to answer this great conundrum was to hear directly from the man himself. Reacting to the huge swell of self-righteous backlash and virulent criticism from all quarters, Dylan's people responded to an interview request from the Examiner. The interview was held over the phone and recorded. It has subsequently been transcribed exactly as spoken by the two voices talking on the audio file, Dylan's and the interviewer's. The transcript is printed in its entirety here below.
(background noises, moving of chairs, someone - Dylan? - clears his throat.)
Examiner - Hello
Dylan - um hum. Howdy. (sound of match being lit and inhaling)
Examiner - So... I thought...
Dylan - Did you now... are you sure?
Examiner - Yes. Ah... let's begin with some of the stronger reactions to the commercial.
Dylan - I ah... I spoke to Willie Nelson last night. He thought it was great. Is that what you mean by strong reactions? Because Willie, well... he's one strong guy. Doesn't look it, but he's as wiry as a rattlesnake and all that hair makes him strong as Sampson. You know the story of Sampson, right? You read the Bible much?
Examiner - Umm, no, not really, not lately.
Dylan - Ah, well... you know, you should. When your time comes, don't say I didn't warn you.
Examiner - A lot of people were shocked to see you in this commercial.
Dylan - Really? Did you take a poll? How many's a lot, exactly ?
Examiner - A lot of your devoted fans have said and written comments that...
Dylan - Devotion is reserved for gods and beliefs. Last time I looked I wasn't either of them. Now, if I was Ganesh or Shiva, I might pay attention to those devoted fans...
Examiner - You don't pay attention to your fans?
Dylan - Is that what I said? No. I pay real close attention to some of 'em. Others, well... there's some that just take it way too far, man. If it wasn't me it'd be somebody else. Did you know that Rick Springfield has a bunch of... umm, middle aged women fans who attribute little miracles, healings and such to him? It's true. He plays his gigs on a cruise boat. I thank Rick for takin' on those fans as his own, at least they won't be worshiping me instead.
Examiner - You say you have no interest in being godlike, but just last year you said you'd been transfigured, which is something that happened to Jesus.
Dylan - Apples and oranges. Whole different thing. You could be transfigured. It just happens sometimes. Just cause it happened to Jesus doesn't mean it can't happen to somebody like me. Or you.
Examiner - OK. Well, let's talk about the ad. Take the first thing you say... "Is there anything more American than America..." Critics have called that an inane statement. How do you respond to that?
Dylan - It's not inane, it's accurate. Perfectly, like a mathematical formula. Let me draw a picture for you, OK? Somebody'll say I plagiarized it, but that's all right. Say I say there's nothin' more banana than a banana. Does that sound stupid? Inane? Well, maybe, but you got the fruit that's hangin' in bunches in the grocery story, then you got banana as in banana flavoring in kid's candy, and you got banana and mango room freshener scents, and banana insignia baseball hats and banana sheets for your bed and plastic bananas that they use in movies hanging from a fake banana tree and the banana sticker Andy Warhol made for the Velvet Underground record. You see? There's bananas and then there's all this other crap. So you want a real banana? It's the one hangin' in the grocery store. Or out on a tree in Costa Rica. Nothin' more banana than that. You want something American? Try America. That's all it meant. Simple. Too simple for them devotees with their amazingly analytical and academic minds to ever understand.
Examiner - So you're saying America is...
Dylan - Yep, it sure is. It's somethin', isn't it? I like America, you know? I'm not one of those America haters, never have been. There's lots of things wrong with America. We all know that. I like the people of America.
Examiner - People who make American cars.
Dylan - Exactly!
Examiner - Were you paid well to make the commercial?
Dylan - Sure. What of it?
Examiner - A lot of people would say that you can't possibly need the money, and so you're just greedy. Selling out.
Dylan - Is this the same lot of people who were shocked to see me in the commercial, or a different lot?
Examiner - OK, you're just putting us on now...
Dylan - No I'm not! I have a right to know, if they're saying I can't need the money. How do they know what I need? Are they looking into my bank statements? These computer hacker creeps can do that, you know. But listen, the whole lot of them got a lot of nerve telling me what I do and do not need. The whole lot, and their wives too. Just might turn to salt.
Examiner - Salt?
Dylan - Next question.
Examiner - What made you agree to do this, to hawk cars on TV, to be a common pitchman? Don't you see how this could disappoint a great many people?
Dylan - I've been getting asked these questions since forever, and a couple lifetimes before that. Kris Kristofferson does voice overs for commercials and no one gives a hoot, man. Why do they keep houndin' me? I'm just a guy who writes songs.
Examiner - Some of the greatest songs of our time, Bob. Many people have been touched deeply by your work.
Dylan - Oh, gee, I didn't realize that... how long has that been goin' on? (laughter) Look, I write 'em and when I write 'em I feel usually just like those people out there feel when they hear 'em. It touches me too, real deep sometimes, but then I let 'em go out there to the world and do their work. I can't be feelin' everything I felt when I wrote those songs, feelin' it all again every minute of my life. I'd go crazy. And I sure can't answer to everybody who's felt somethin' from one of my songs.
Examiner - So you've got nothing at all to say to all those millions of people who've been moved by your songs...
Dylan - Well, good luck. I'd say that to 'em.
Examiner - What do you have to say to all the fans of yours who feel like this time you've really crossed the line, and are standing on the side of corporate America?
Dylan - You know that Saturday Night Live skit where these Star Trek fans are at one of them conferences, and William Shatner comes out and tells 'em all to get a life? Somethin' like that... I'd like to tell 'em all somethin' like that. Not in a mean spirited way, no... more in a way that I'd like to help 'em but I can't. Only they can help themselves. I'm just a guy who did somethin'. Yeah, I did somethin' big. But everybody can do somethin'. It doesn't have to be big to be good and to mean something to a lot a people. Everybody doin' somethin' for their own lot. Anybody who thinks they'd like to be me can count their blessings they aren't. Believe me. But to be the best you, that's the thing. That's somethin' I always lift my hat to whenever I see it, somebody who's made themselves into the best them they could. Isn't that what America's supposed to be about?
(shuffling sounds, clicking noise, silence. end of recording)