So one of my students who’s a passionate Bob Dylan fan lent me this collection of Rolling Stone interviews with Bob, and as I read them I found myself fascinated by one particular thing: how endlessly inventive Bob is in his evasions. I mean, he never gives a straight answer to a serious question. Moreover, for any given question that he’s asked more than once — and he gets a great many repeat questions — he varies his answer remarkably. Dylan’s interview performances constitute one of the greatest exercises in sustained disinformation I’ve ever seen.
Here are some questions I would ask Bob Dylan if I got to interview him:
- You seem to be really good at preserving your privacy. Have you gotten better at that over the years? When were you at your peak in Privacy Protection?
- How’s your guitar playing these days? When were you at your best as a guitarist?
- How do you feel about your piano playing? Do you think you have the skills you need?
- When you forget lyrics to your songs, which must happen sometimes, do you ever come up with better alternatives on the fly? I imagine you do, and if so, do you remember them later?
- Who is your favorite among the biblical prophets?
- What’s your favorite non-prophetic book of the Bible?
- If you could go back in history to slap someone, who would it be?
- Do you think Satan can be redeemed?