Thrown out of the Garden

by José Simián


Although, upon hearing the title, some quickly speculated that “Feel A Change Comin’ On,” one of the tracks on the forthcoming Bob Dylan album (“Together Through Life“, out April 28),  would have something to do with the Age of Obama, nothing has ever been that literal in Planet Zimmerman. Now that the soul-inflected song has been released through news websites (change we can really believe in), that theory has been dispelled by Dylan’s grainy voice: “Well life is for love / And they say that love is blind / If you want to live easy / Baby, pack your clothes with mine.”

Things being circular, nonetheless,  in the last installmentdylan-together-through-life of Dylan’s long interview with Bill Flanagan, the usually evasive songwriter speaks at length about the President:

BILL FLANAGAN: What struck you about him?

Well, a number of things. He’s got an interesting background. He’s like a fictional character, but he’s real. First off, his mother was a Kansas girl. Never lived in Kansas though, but with deep roots. You know, like Kansas bloody Kansas. John Brown the insurrectionist. Jesse James and Quantrill. Bushwhackers, Guerillas. Wizard of Oz Kansas. I think Barack has Jefferson Davis back there in his ancestry someplace. And then his father. An African intellectual. Bantu, Masai, Griot type heritage – cattle raiders, lion killers. I mean it’s just so incongruous that these two people would meet and fall in love. You kind of get past that though. And then you’re into his story. Like an odyssey except in reverse.

In what way?

First of all, Barack is born in Hawaii. Most of us think of Hawaii as paradise – so I guess you could say that he was born in paradise.

And he was thrown out of the garden.

Not exactly. […]

[Complete interview at, including Dylan’s explanation of why the political world came to Barack Obama, and his theory about good and bad presidents.]