Five Takes on Bob Dylan’s JFK Song

Maybe its his Nobel Prize but Dylan seems immune to the normally outspoken camp of JFK anti-conspiracy theorists. Rather his 17-minute rumination of the assassination of President Kennedy has attracted 2.6 million views while impressing critics and scholars of the case.

A sampling:

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Dealey Plaza, November 22, 1963

At Salon, David Masciotra talked to David Talbot, one of the best journalistic historians of the 1960s, about who was responsible.

At The Forward, Seth Rogovoy unpacks some of Dylan’s more obscure references with revealing results.  Were you, like me, puzzled by the line, “When you’re down on Deep Ellum, put your money in your shoe?”  Rogovoy has the answer.

In Haaretz Ben Shalev plumbs the depths of Dylan’s message: “Something is rotten in the American kingdom, to quote from the play the name of the song is taken from.”

In the New Yorker’s online edition, Kevin Dettmar traces “Murder Most Foul” to Dylan’s Old Time Radio Hour, a musical show Dylan hosted on XM radio about ten years ago. But Dettmar, a literature professor, most ignores Dylan’s moral and political stance in favor aesthetics.

At Kennedys and King, Jim DiEugenio frames Dylan’s intent with a candor the New Yorker shies from: ‘For people who have studied the Kennedy case, Dylan has centered the lyrics around a conspiracy to kill JFK in Dallas. 

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