Tarantula 22: the Egotist and 23: The Lord of the Spiders

A list of all the articles in this series is given at the end.

By Larry Fyffe

22: The Egotist

The problem for those who smirk at the contention that Bob Dylan hides clues in his works, especially those with a Eurocentric point of view, is that they do not realize, as Poe’s detective surely would, that Dylan hides his clues in plain sight.

Especially in “Tarantula”.

Tells this tale about a supposed ‘male’ man:

(W)hile on the other side of the street
this mailman who looks like Shirley temple
& who's carrying a lollypop stops
& looks at a cloud & then the sky
he gets kinda pissed
& decides to throw his weight around a little
& bloop a tulip falls dead
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Shirley Temple’s outraged at the besmirching of her sexual transformation.

Sings a song from her movie “Bright Eyes”:

On the good ship
It's a sweet trip
To a candy shop
Where the bonbons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay
(Shirley Temple: On The Good Ship Lollypop ~ Whiting/Clare)

It’s a mean old world outside – Shirley gets her lollipop taken; her song’s stolen; and she ends up getting hanged.

Her lyrics darkened down a bit:

Take me disappearing ....
Out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach
Of crazy sorry
(Bob Dylan: Mr. Tambourine Man)

Hopalong Bob Cassidy blames it on Pancho; Pancho blames it on some guy called Harold ….  his last name might be Lloyd.

The Mexican bandit brags that he quickly dispatches the smart-ass guy in a slap-stick manner:

Pancho was very startled
& screamed "I'll give you a friend or doe, you freak!"
& banged him with a judo chop
& stuck his head through the ladder
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Given the evidence cited below, the above story’s seems to be a tall tale:

Via a TV broadcast, Richard Boone tells the story differently: on his way to escort the daughter of a landowner across the border from Mexico to the United States, Paladin, an expert in the martial arts, and a have-gun-will-travel kind of guy, digs out a young Pancho Villa who’s been buried up to his neck in sand ~ saves him from a slow death arranged by the above-mentioned landowner.

Pancho and his gang capture Paladin and the girl; ‘the knight without armour’ tries to convince the revolutionary to let him and the landowner’s daughter continue on their way.

Quicker than lightning, Paladin resorts to physical means in order to ensure that he achieves his objective.

English author George Meredith enters the fray.

In the tragicomedy “The Egotist”, self-absorbed Sir Willoughby only pays attention to others when he runs out of ideas of his own.

Truth and beauty unfolds ~ in the Keatian bower of bliss, a good wife “points to her husband like a sunflower”:

Egotist shows you his diary
& he says "i've learned to be silent"
& you say "youve learned nothing
- youve just said something"
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

In the song lyrics below, the lover knows her rightful place:

My love she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn't have to says she's faithful
Yet she's true, like ice, like fire
(Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero)


23: The Lord Of The Spiders

by Larry Fyffe

According to the advocates of the “New Historicism” literary approach, an educated interpreter’s associations gathered from a piece of writing are said to be as valid as those considered thought up by the original author.

So the “Harold”, mentioned in the lines below, might be interpreted by some as a reference to the slap-stick actor (Harold Lloyd), or perhaps he’s a spoof on William Golding, the author of “Lord Of The Flies”:

(W)e sat in a room where Harold
who called himself "Lord Of The Dead Animals"
was climbing down a ladder
(Bob Dylan: Tanantula)

In William Golding’s story, the Christian, non-Jewish, creed of ‘original sin’, the disposition to do ‘evil’, manifests itself among a group of teenage boys who are stranded on a tropical island.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s “will to power” wins out with the ‘strong’ boys coming out on top.

Based on the biblical verse quoted beneath with reference to the god of a Philistine city:

Thus saith the Lord, "Is it not because there is not a God in Israel
That thou sendest to enquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron?
Therefore though shalt not come down from that bed
Which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die"
(II Kings: 1:6)

Demonstrated in “Rain”, starring John Crawford, is that words can be manipulated by a persona in a performance to suit his or her own egocentric purposes ~ as conducted to do so by a director on the movie set.

Pointed out below:

(I)'m not saying  books are good or bad, but I don't think
youve ever had the chance to find out for yourself
what they are all about
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

But now to get serious ~ a card-player and gun-toting former Confederate soldier from the cartoons, and a rabbit,  join the parade of characters on the road to Tarantula Ville:

I'm no doc, you flea-bitten varmint
I'm Riff-Raff Sam, the riffiest riff that
ever riffed a raff
(Yosemite Sam: "Bugs Bunny")

Nor a lover of peace is the flame-slinger below:

Jim Ghandi, the welder, is overlooking
from the window & yells something like
"aw reet ye sons a vermints
- draw ye now or shut ye mouths frever"
(Bob Dylan:Tarantula)


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