Author’s Note: A few years ago, I wrote a piece that announced that Bob Dylan was laying off part of his fan base. I decided to dust it off, revise it, and put it out there for your enjoyment, particularly if you are an “older” Dylan fan:
BOB DYLAN ANNOUNCES MASSIVE FAN LAY-OFF
In a surprise news conference held today in Los Angeles, Jeremy Fickelstein, spokesperson for the North American Bob Dylan Fan Club, announced a massive cut in the organization’s fan base. Effective immediately thousands of members will receive their pink slip lay-off notice via certified mail. Severance terms for the effected fans were not revealed, but it was widely rumored that as compensation, each effected member would receive a brand new leopard skin pillbox hat, and an autographed poster of a recent picture of Bob Dylan, who now resembles Vincent Price.
When alert reporters noted that all the fans receiving pink slips were over 55, Mr. Finckelstein replied:
“Look, Mr. Dylan has been trying to pare down his North American operations for years. In fact, in an effort to be contemporary, he’s been trying to shed his older fan base ever since he came on stage at the Newport Folk Festival years ago with an electric guitar. Apparently the old folkies just didn’t take him seriously when he said that the times they were a-changing. Despite the initial catcalls and boos, the majority of the fans hung in there with him, and new fans emerged to the point that his fan base is now ridiculous and unwieldy. Mr. Dylan noted that the majority of his older fans were stuck in the 60’s, and hadn’t memorized any of his lyrics since 1975.”
When pressed that many felt he hadn’t written anything worth memorizing since 1975, Fickelstein retorted: “All the more reason to weed the garden of fans who don’t appreciate the artistic depths of ‘Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle’ and ‘Fiddle-dee-dum and Fiddle-dee-dee.”
When asked if Mr. Dylan planned to take advantage of the more liberalized free trade policies and move his operations overseas, Mr. Finkelstein did not deny it:
“Something had to be done to create a more efficient and effective operation to meet the demands of the current market. We don’t deny that plans have been in the works for years to take advantage of opportunities overseas. In fact, if you had been paying attention, you would have realized that Mr. Dylan has been singing in Mandarin Chinese for several years. Older fans were fooled into thinking that Mr. Dylan’s pronunciation was just sinking more and more into pinched and nasally gibberish probably blamed it on themselves. After all, they are getting feeble and harder of hearing. In fact, this was just part of a grand scheme to bring Mr. Dylan’s brand of music and inspiration to the world’s most populous nation. Next week Mr. Dylan will be announcing a major tour of the Chinese mainland. Businesses are already seeing a surge in the sale of Bic lighters.”
The layoff announcement immediately sparked rumors of a corporate merger with John Prine. Many have noted over the years that older fans often get Mr. Dylan and Mr. Prine’s lyrics confused. This is understandable, as they are both creative geniuses that have turned many a memorable phrase. However, Mr. Prine’s loyal fans are quick to point out that he still sings in English–although with a Southern hill twang–and that one can still understand what he is saying when he sings.
A merger of Bob Dylan and John Prine would undoubtably be one of the biggest lyrical M&A’s of all time. Rumors of this possibility have already set off alarm bells at the FTC. Not only would such a merger yield an estimated 63% of all memorable lyrics of the past 50 years, it would also corner the market on existential angst, although the songs of Hank Williams, Iris DeMent, and Meatloaf would remain.
In anticipation of such a merger, Wall Street announced the upcoming public offering of a new corporation–PrineBob. High-rolling investors are rumored to be lining up for the opening bell as forecasted in the Dylan song: “Ring them bells, St. Peter.” Hands are rubbing, chops are licking, and day laborers seeing their chance to get rich are saying that they ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.