Bob Dylan – Unintelligible?

un·in·tel·li·gi·ble play_w2(“U0082000”) [uhn-in-tel-i-juh-buhl] adj. Being such that understanding or comprehension is difficult or impossible; incomprehensible.

Looks like Bob Dylan is having some more fun these days in the teasing department. As many say and some passing through here at the Cafe on occasion have commented from time to time, “Bob Dylan may be one of the great American artists, fine, it’s just too bad no one can understand him.”

Tell the truth, now!

Apparently, there was a journalist (so he says, what would constitute a “journalist” anyway, we know how he dealt with them before) trolling back stage and made some comment (or so he says) about the fact that Dylan is unintelligible. Nope, he doesn’t hide it, he doesn’t go on a rant, doesn’t throw furniture, he just repeats the word over and over, almost as though inspecting its cadence, it’s truth.

Well, old cyber friend RWB has the tape from last Tuesday’s concert in London, Ontario and we can check it out ourselves. Roll the tape:

Here’s what RWB has transcribed, in case Dylan is unintelligible:

Bob Dylan: If you haven’t noticed, there’s a journalist backstage, and he’s asking somebody, “Is he always so unintelligible?” Unintelligible. Does anybody out there think I’m unintelligible? [Pause, indistinct crowd reaction. Bob laughs.] Tell me the truth now!

(By the way, here are some synonyms of the word unintelligible: impenetrable, inscrutable, unfathomable, ambiguous, incoherent, jumbled, puzzling, equivocal – sounds about right, actually.)

He’s so darn funny. Of course he’s unintelligible. I mean, isn’t that the point, Mr. Dylan? If we all understand what you’ve said, sang, spoke, or did – what would be the point of all the books, all the courses, all the bootleg collections, all the studies and lectures and discussions and interviews and doctorates that have been poured over trying to understand you. Of course you’re unintelligible!

When you want to be, that is.