Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bob Dylan, Wisdom, trivial coincidence, ... or not

Bob Dylan gave a puzzling  introduction to a new song at the Albert Hall in 1966: "I would like to dedicate this song to the Taj Mahal. It's called 'I see you've got your brand new Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat'". I was there, bunking off school. I heard him say it.

Going over some very old philosophical ground recently, I thought I might have finally found a solution to the puzzle: "Suppose someone is trying on a hat. She is studying it in a mirror. There's a pause and then a friend says 'My dear, the Taj Mahal'. .... To call a hat the Taj Mahal is not to inform someone that it has mice in it or will cost a fortune." ('Philosophy, Metaphysics and Psychoanalysis', John Wisdom, 1953).

Coincidence? Probably. But, I know Dylan has eclectic reading habits, and like to think that Wisdom's eccentric remarks would have appealed to his quirky imagination which was, after all, working overtime in those days.