Exhuming Bob Part IX: Chronicles Vol I: Pensees 2

April 26, 2008

Exhuming Bob

Part IX

Chronicles Vol. I:

Pensees 2


R.E. Prindle


     I rather admire Bob’s method of integrating his life into history.  He makes himself part of the unfolding plan of historical development.  As some very ancient fellow once said:  The unexamined life is not worth living.  Having posted the rather narrow parameters of his story- that of his signing by Lou Levy and his subsequent redemption of the contract- he fits in most of his intellectual development to the time of the redemption of the contract.

     He does this in an interesting way.  In Chaper 2, The Lost Land, an interesting title in itself, gives the feel of prehistory, he begins by describing how like some insect he burrowed into the nest of Ray Gooch and Chloe Kiel where he lived in parasitic comfort.

     The path to Ray and Chloe’s door is interesting.  First he met Dave Van Ronk, through Van Ronk he met Paul Clayton and through Clayton Gooch and Kiel.  Bob is going to suck off Van Ronk and Clayton to a very large extent also.  Bob describes his hosts as quite eccentric, one might almost say, weird.  As a foreign body in the cocoon he even studies them dispassionately, clinically, one might say.  As one species of another.

     As with the other people he attached himself to they had a terrific record collection and what appears to be a large very eclectic library.  While Bob appreciates the library one feels that he believes the selection of books as odd and weird his hosts.  The library apparently formed the basis of his adult education as he thumbed the books.  This is really the first step in how Bobby Zimmerman became Bob Dylan the songwriter.  Remember he has only a year or so before his career is fairly launched and he no longer has any use for people like Ray and Chloe.  Both appear to have been queintessential Bohemians- or Bohos in brief.

     In this environment Bob provides us with this biographical sketch.  P. 28

     I was born in the spring (5/24) of 1941.  The Second World War was alreadey raging in Europe, and America would soon be in it.  The world was being blown apart and chaos was already driving its fist into the face of all new visitors.  If you were born around this time or were living and alive, you could feel the old world go and the new one beginning.  It was like putting the clock back to when B.C. became A.D.  Everybody born around my time was a part of both.  Hitler, Churchill, Mussolini, Stalin, Roosevelt- towering figures that the world would never see the likes of again, men who relied on their own resolve, for better or worse, every one of them prepared to act alone, indifferent to approval, indifferent to wealth or love, all presiding over the destiny of mankind and reducing the world to rubble.  Coming from a long line of Alexanders and Julius Caesars, Ghengis Khans, Charlemagnes and Naopleons, they carved up the world like a really dainty dinner.  Whether they parted their hair in the middle or wore a Viking helmet, they would not be denied and were impossible to reckon with- rude barbarians stampeding cross the earth and hammering out their own ideas of geography.

     I don’t necessarily agree with the interpretation but one might ask what its intellectual background is.   As bob was writing at the age of 53 of a period he didn’t remember and probably hadn’t formulated his opinions by 1959 he is projecting subsequently obtained knowledge back on his birth as falsified Persistence of Memory.  I admire that.  One has to have order in one’s life.

     Actually if one has read more than somewhat in certain areas the intellectual foundations are more than apparent.  Bob was born Jewish and for four years after his Bar Mitzvah- turning 13- he attended a Zionist summer camp for a month or month and a half in those summers.

     There was a synagogue in Hibbing but it isn’t clear that Bob regularly attended services or was very observant.  As an illustration of what being Jewish means let me cite an ad for the new cable channel called Shalom.  This is the first all Jewish channel.  In the ad or blurb a man is discussing his Jewish education.  He says that they tell you that you will attend a goi school where you will learn to be an educated man.  And then you will also attend this other school where you will learn what it means to be a Jew.  The man says that he already knows what it means to be a Jew-  You suffer.  You suffer.

     Thus at Camp Herzl- the Zionist Camp- Bob spent four summers learning to suffer as a Jew.  Bob didn’t mention Camp Herzl in his book.

     Now, Jewish teaching is that only Jews can rule a just world.  Only Jews are cultured and learned, all others are like ignorant bulls in a china shop- mere barbarians.  The last phrase In the quote from Bob is that the goi leaders were- rude barbarians stampeding across the  earth and hammering out thier own ideas of geography.  This is the exact opposite of how Jews imagine that they would be managing things.

     the notion is that only Jews are capable of creating a just sane society.  This notion hasn’t proven out well in post-WWI Russia, Hungary, and Central Europe or today’s Palestine but facts don’t disturb the notions of ideologues.  We know that Bob is an Israeli citizen and it appears he follows the Party line.  Can’t help himself, really, that was the way he was educated on the Jewish side.

     Then, on pages 27 and 28 bob finds it important to mention Adolf Eichmann.  Now, Bob only has 300 pages to work with here so we may assume he has selected only very key items to discuss.  One could easily write 300 pages without mentioning Eichmann.  I’ve written close to 3000 pages of autobiographical fiction and I don’t believe Eichmann has come up once.  Nevertheless Bob writing of the time at the age of 53 has this to say:

     (Ray worked) also an Omaha slaughterhouse on the kill floor.  Once I asked him what it was like.  “You ever heard of Auschwitz?”  Sure I had, who hadn’t?  It was one of the Nazi death camps in Europe and Adolf Eichmann, the chief Nazi Gestapo organizer who’d managed this, had been put on  trial recently, in Jerusalem….His trial was a big deal.  On the witness stand Eichmann  declared he was merely following orders, but his prosecutors had no problem proving that he had carried out his mission with monstrous zeal and relish.  Eichmann had been convicted and his fate was now being decided on….The State of Israel claimed the right to act as heir and executor of all who perished in the final solution.  the trial reminds the whole world of what led to the formation of the Israeli State.

     Spoken like a true Israeli patriot.  There is no need to defend Eichamnn, the disposal of the conquered belongs to the conqueror without the legal hocus pocus of a trial.  Did anyone believe that the Nuremburg Trial wouldn’t find the defendants guilty?  Why the charade?  There was no exonerting evidence that was going to be considered.  The Israeli State was not even in existence during the Second Wrold War so by what right does the State of Israel act.  None.  Their own will.  Be honest, they wanted to kill this guy, that’s all.  They weren’t even one of the conquerors.  They had nothing to do with the defeat of the Axis.

     So what does the trial of Eichmann mean?  The Israelis violated all international law by abducting an Argentine citizen without authority or extradition.  If Eichmann was a thug the Israelis were no less so.  Did they feel they had an overriding grievance?  Bully for them.  If they’re interested I’ll send a list of mine which I feel no less passionately.

     And then the State of Israel has appointed itself to act as heir and executor of all who perished.  That’s a convenient right to assign oneself.  I, The Jury as Mickey Spillane said.  What a convenient right.  It doesn’t square with justice but then who among them are objecting.  The Jews were self-righteously against capital punishment in all the other barbaric countries of the world.  But…they would make an exception in Eichmann’s case.  As time would show they would make a lot of exceptions.  Assassination became there mode of operations.

     As I say there is no need to defend Eichmann, if you want to kill him, kill him.  No one will object, but to set aside all the rules, all the laws that separate civilization from barbarism seems a bit extreme.  It does make one question one’s sincerity.

     The trial does fit within the time frame of the novel though, so Bravo! Bob.

      After that little moriaistic lesson for us all Bob brings us up to date on some of his musical influences, which were all excellent and then acquaints us with the foundation of his literary and intellectual education as provided by Ray and Chloe.

     He says he did little reading as a kid.  He also says he was not much of a student.  One gathers then that the talk of the biographers about Bob being on the honor roll was a figment of Mother Beatttie’s imagination.  She was apparently telling them of the Bob she wished Bob had been instead of the Bob that was.  Primarily his own reading considted of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Luke Short and H.G. Wells.

     Good influences all.  Luke Short was also my favorite Western writer, him and Ernest Haycox.  Of course I remember not a shred.  The choice of H.G. Wells is probably represented by Seven Science Fiction Novels  of H.G. Wells.  His reading or Wells probably consisted of The War Of The Worlds, The Island Of Dr. Moreau and The Invisible Man.  The other four didn’t get read very often but I have come to really appreciate The Food Of The Gods and In The Days Of The Comet.  I’m a big Wells fancier myself having read about 90% of a very large corpus, some of it two or three times.  At Bob’s age however I was only familiar with the volume Seven Science Fiction Novels Of H.G. Wells.

     Edgar Rice Burroughs is my forte as my essays on I, Dynamo and ERBzine will attest.  So both Bob’s and my own influences closely mesh.  It is of interest to note that having read Tarzan Bob married a Black woman and installed her in Tarzana.  Burroughs of course founded Tarzana naming it after Tarzan.  Cute.

     Bob goes on to discuss items he read in Ray’s library.  Ray was a pretty interesting reader.  Bob really fell through the rabbit hole when he moved in with Ray and Chloe.

     I don’t feel the need to run through what he read, the reader can check it out himself if he wishes, but Ray provided Bob with a nagnificent foundation in a very short time.  I am impressed that Bob found Honore de Balzac a great writer.  Damn, that Bob does have an unerring nose for the best in both records and literature.  Balzac is one of my favorites too although I’ve only read about twenty volumes of the immense corpus Balzac called the Human Comedy.  If you want to read a really stunning story, a novelette, get The Girl With The Golden Eyes and have your life changed.  Too bad Bob got confused by being forced to try to combine a liberal education with a Jewish one.  I’ve got a Jewish one too, acquired late however, but I scrapped it as useless.






















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