In a poem every word counts. And poetry (as any use of signs) is always about the text & the context. Joe Perry, guitar player of Aerosmith fame, covered Dylans Man of Peace for the album Chimes of Freedom: the songs of Bob Dylan honouring 5o Years of Amnesty international.
Perry, supposedly a huge Dylan fan, sings:
Look out your window, baby,
there’s a scene you’d like to catch
The band is playing “Dixie,”
a man got his hand outstretched
Could be a Faker (!?)
Could be the local priest
You know sometimes Satan
comes as a man of peace.
There is only one really weak word in these lines. According to Perry the man, who got his hand outstretched, could be "a faker"? A faker, a Quaker, a baker, a - what!? A faker with his hands outstretched like a priest to welcome the flock of sheep?
If you listen to Bob Dylan himself, you'll find out, that the weakness is only on Perry's not on Dylan's side. Dylan uses the right(!) word (text) that fits perfectly in the context (satan with his hand outstretched): "Might be the FUEHER, might be the local priest". This sets off a firework of haunting images: Hitler, the Nazi salute, the collaboration of the Catholic Church with fascism.
I wonder who is responsible for Perry's version. Why doesn't he sing FUEHER? Could be a slip of tongue, could be ignorance, could be political correctness, could be Amnesty, could be amnesia. The answer my friend...
To end on a lighter note: Let's watch Chaplin's The Great Dictator tonight.
Joe Perry, Man of Peace
Joe Perry, The story behind man of peace