Ballad Of A Thin Man Lyrics - Bob Dylan

Review The Song (5)

You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, "Who is that man ?"
You try so hard
But you don't understand
Just what you'll say
When you get home.

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

You raise up your head
And you ask, "Is this where it is ?"
And somebody points to you and says
"It's his"
And you says, "What's mine ?"
And somebody else says, "Where what is ?"
And you say, "Oh my God
Am I here all alone ?"

But something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

You hand in your ticket
And you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you
When he hears you speak
And says, "How does it feel
To be such a freak ?"
And you say, "Impossible"
As he hands you a bone.

And something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

You have many contacts
Among the lumberjacks
To get you facts
When someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect
Anyway they already expect you
To all give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations.
You've been with the professors
And they've all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You've been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald's books
You're very well read
It's well known.

But something is happening here
And you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you
And then he kneels
He crosses himself
And then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice
He asks you how it feels
And he says, "Here is your throat back
Thanks for the loan".

And you know something is happening
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word "NOW"
And you say, "For what reason ?"
And he says, "How ?"
And you say, "What does this mean ?"
And he screams back, "You're a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home".

Because something is happening
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

Well, you walk into the room
Like a camel and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket
And your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law
Against you comin' around
You should be made
To wear earphones.

Cause something is happening
And you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

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Mr Jones as carnival freak | Reviewer: Steve Borrow | 9/26/2008

An irritating, pompous, besuited journo who asked too many inane questions during an interview with Bob has been immortalized as the famous Thin Man in this song. His interrogatory style reminded Bob of the William Powell detective in the 1930s Thin Man series of movies.

Bob has turned the interrogation back on Mr Jones: Something is happening, but you don’t know what it is. Do you Mr Jones?

Without being conscious of it, Mr Jones has become so institutionalized by his normative upbringing that he walks a stranger among his own people. He is a carnival freak, so hard wired with corporatist values that he no longer has a firm appreciation of reality. He works within the institutional media and his contacts have a stake in the way reality is shaped, perhaps preprogrammed to some extent. He is not permitted to think freely, but is spoon fed with “facts when someone attacks (his) imagination”.

Professors, the official custodian’s of knowledge, like the cut of his jib and he fits an acceptable model of the corporate man. He has learned a lot about social outcasts from those who were part of the legal conveyor belt, but this formalism has prevented him from tapping into the life experiences of those he pretends to understand (“eyes in your pocket and nose on the should be made to wear earphones”). He is inculcated with the selective learning derived from formal education, but it hasn’t made him knowledgeable about the world of flesh and blood, the world Bob writes and sings about. If anything, it had made him both arrogant and ignorant.

Bob’s ubiquitous circus performers make another appearance here. In place of jugglers and clowns we have a sword swallower and midget, freaks at a freak show that remind us that Mr Jones is really a performer in a theatrical sideshow and has reduced the entire exercise to absurdity.

Then we have Bob enjoying a little word play with his pun about a cow – a poor creature that exists as a milk producing factory with no critical capacity is likened to Mr Jones. If you can’t produce milk, Mr Jones, he tells him, you may as well go home. Milk is a metaphor for ideas fed to the public through the media.

The thin man | Reviewer: Ann | 3/7/2008

You are the thin man with charme and jokes.Mr, Jones is the stupid reporter,who has no respect for your lyric!He is propably informed about gossip,the lumberjackets.You can because of your reputation not answer directly back.He also is interested in Your looking.People of that kind don´t understand anything.He doesn`t want to talk to you about your music,he wears earphones.Why at all does he come?Give the reporters back,but continue it you own way.We like as you are.yours censerely Ann:

Mr. Jones is both a journalist and the ignorance of people: | Reviewer: Anni Ecco | 3/4/2008

Dear Bob.Sorry my misunderstanding.Of course Mr. Jones is a reporter.He does not have his pulse at the time as you do.We seldom understand a war, before afterwards-do we?Yes the majority are dumb,we are not informed enough.Thank you for your lovely poems.You have a strange way to express yourself.You are right because as the permanent situation is now, then most of the people close their eyes for reality,because it often hurts too much to bother.The 2001 came behind us all,the leaders say thank you for your sore throat and give it back and so on.We the population are allways kept out of the powerful peoples play.After a war they won`t take any responsibility at either side,but to make it short.We love you more and more.They often undervalue the headmusicions importance.I look forward to hear more of your songs.Good luck!Sorry to be so dumb!95% of us are kept out of the rules,you know what I mean.Love Anni.

A clever man like you,stop it! | Reviewer: Anni Ecco | 3/4/2008

Dear Bob.We all love you as you are.You don`t have to listen to gossip!Don`t case Mr Jones anymore.In the end He shall hate her and you shall love her!None of you can milk the cow.And don`t be suspisius!I have followed the radio songs,so I know the truth.But I think you have a heart of gold and Mr.jones has a heart of silver, perhaps,but stop arguing.Remember It was not to heart.We love Your advanced lyrics,remember that,dear Mister! Love Anni.N.B "The dumb" Don´t jumb on an illusion!Don´t let anybody heart You:"The walls have ears,once in a while"Everything has gone out of its proportions! Everybody hearts!Who of you are to trust?

no milk man | Reviewer: Anni Ecco | 2/10/2008

Dear Bob.You are very sharp in your tounge.But as you know what is going on,then tell us what it is?.You know that in war and love everything is legal,but I doubt it`s the case.You are chasing something,but for what good?You know that you are solo.You walk in your foodsteps!Mr.Jones try to explain to you certain things very kindly,but you are allways sharp back.I must take Mr. Jones in defence,You don`t know enough about it all!Why do you try to make Mr.Jones so so sad,that he hardly can breathe.You don´t want us all to break our hearts do You?What I know from Your songs man, then I can`t imagine that You are a cold "milktaker",misstreather or misbehavior.You know the game!But You also know inside that You don`t in reality care Mr."Gold"do You?.You have a family of Your own.Who should milk Mr. Jones in order for social welfare?Aren`t You far out?.Or are You both far out?Yes it is either You or Mr.Jones who are on the edge of the "law".You have both Your source.Who of you two are to trust? You jump on an illusion.Do You want a tango for two,or 4 Mr."Gold"."Go and sing a poor womans song in the valley"!Come back with a swollen cow and give the milk to Your foodsteps or the flowers.If You are a legend then the flower will grow 6 meters high in 5 seconds.If You meet a bee then say hello,but remember it has to give honey,don`t taste it,because I don`t think that a man at Your age like "honey"Let it stand in the rain as a memory of the good old days!Don`t look back when You enter somewhere,e.g "the sky"There is whiskey in heaven and hash as well,it must be more than enough for a man of Your kind.Good luck!Go and sing a song,but remember Your hash!See You!Not together but alone.Anni

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------ Performed by Bob Dylan

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