This is a strange little story: The AP reports what, on its face, is a humorous little account of Bob Dylan being stopped by New Jersey police in Long Branch who asked him for ID, because they’d never heard of him. Never heard of Bob Dylan! O-ho!
Yes, yes, AP, it’s funny that they didn’t know who Bob Dylan was, but the rest of the reporting in this piece is paper-thin. Apparently the police responded to a call that someone was “wandering around the neighborhood,” apparently a “low-income, predominantly minority” one a few blocks from his hotel. Here’s the gist:
The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:
“What is your name, sir?” the officer asked.
“Bob Dylan,” Dylan said.
“OK, what are you doing here?” the officer asked.
“I’m on tour,” the singer replied.
A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.
The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” said that he didn’t have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night’s show.
The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.
O-ho! Wait, what? This is so odd. Dylan was apparently stopped because he was…walking on a street? Wearing a blue jacket? And then he had to go with the police back to his hotel so he could be identified? This sounds crazy to me. Was he suspected of a crime? Is it against the law to be walking around New Jersey without I.D.? Are people in blue jackets more disposed to commit crimes?
The AP does not give us any of this information, alas. It just closes with “How did it feel? A Dylan publicist did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Friday.” Ha, funny closer, but it would have been so much better if it closed an article that actually answered these questions. How ’bout looking to CNN for a better version (with the same joke):
How does it feel? To be on your own? A complete unknown? Bob Dylan might know.
A police officer questioning Bob Dylan recognized his name but wasn’t sure it was him.
The rock legend was stopped in July by police in Long Branch, New Jersey, who were responding to a call about a suspicious person roaming the neighborhood, police said.
According to Long Branch Police Department Sgt. Michael Ahart, Dylan had been peering into a window of a house that was for sale, which prompted a neighbor to call the police on July 23.
Lord, can you imagine if Dylan had been Skip Gates? Okays so this is better information. Presumably Dylan was amenable to the whole process (Sgt. Michael Ahart of the Long Branch Police Department told CNN he was “pretty cool about the whole incident”), but again, imagine if he’d been Skip Gates — would he have been compelled to go with the police? Required to show ID? What are the laws on the books about that? These are the things I wonder when I read an article like this, in no small part due to Gates-gate, and the issues of ID-production involved in that. (And yes I’m trying to find that out.) But even on just the basics, the AP report is pretty thin stuff.
CNN, at least, did verify how did he feel: According to Sgt. Ahart, he told them that he just felt like going for a walk.
In any case, I’m going to use this as an excuse to make a few Bob Dylan song jokes myself. I know, just like a woman. The references are linked if you don’t get it:
- How many roads must a man walk down, before he’s stopped by the police for identification after looking in the windows of a strange house?
- Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to… I just feel like looking in the windows of a strange house.
- You see me on the street, you always act surprised…because you totally don’t recognize me.
- It’s alright, Officer, I’m only wearing a blue jacket.
- Just a famous rockstar playin’ in town/Thought he’d take a walk and take a look around/Number-one musician of global reknown/Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down…when a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
- It ain’t me, babe. No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe, It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe.
- Come writers and critics, who prophesize with your pen – and master the basics of “who, when, what, why and when.”
Related In At Least One Guy From New Jersey Who Knows Who Bob Dylan Is:
Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen Rehearse for “We Are The World” [Six Degrees of Peter Feld]
Related In Great Minds Think Alike:
NY Post story on Dylan getting picked up off the streets, annotated [Six Degrees of Peter Feld]
*Screengrab and title ref from “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”
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