obama, tired of working on maggie’s farm

CNN ran a little puff piece yesterday about what’s on Obama’s ipod. For the most part, it was pretty predictable — the kind of stuff you’d expect from a presidential candidate trying to walk the fine line between safe and interesting. He did mention one thing, however, that piqued my interest. He said that one of his favorite songs of late is Bob Dylan’s, “Maggie’s Farm.” About it, he said, “It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric.”

Following are the lyrics to “Maggie’s Farm.” I’m wondering which particular lines are speaking to him… Any thoughts?

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.
Well, I wake in the morning,
Fold my hands and pray for rain.
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin’ me insane.
It’s a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor.
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more.
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more.
Well, he hands you a nickel,
He hands you a dime,
He asks you with a grin
If you’re havin’ a good time,
Then he fines you every time you slam the door.
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more.

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more.
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more.
Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks.
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks.
The National Guard stands around his door.
Ah, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more.

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more.
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more.
Well, she talks to all the servants
About man and God and law.
Everybody says
She’s the brains behind pa.
She’s sixty-eight, but she says she’s twenty-four.
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more.

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am,
But everybody wants you
To be just like them.
They sing while you slave and I just get bored.
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.

I hope it’s not “I got a head full of ideas / That are drivin’ me insane” that’s resonating with him.

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9 Comments

  1. H
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Well, he puts his cigar
    Out in your face just for kicks.
    His bedroom window
    It is made out of bricks.
    The National Guard stands around his door.

    If that ain’t W I don’t know what is.

  2. Mark H.
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    i take Obama’s comment about “political rhetoric” not as a reference to the song, Mark, but rather the song as being meaningful to him as he hears the political rhetoric of our day. “Maggie’s Farm” is a kind of protest song done by Dylan in 1965, protesting against the expectation that he’d keep on doing politically topical songs. When he played it publicly at Newport that year, it as amplified so much that it was no doubt the loudest sound most in the audience had ever heard. Great song. It’s about refusing to be controlled by others expectations. maybe it’s hopeful that Obama likes it — maybe he’ll reject the hooks that his big funders will seek to sink into him.

  3. jean
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    My take is along the lines of Mark H. … that Obama’s willing himself not to participate in the standard political rhetorical garbage, not to speak only in ambivalent/safe sound bites, but to offer sustained thorough dialogue, that he also won’t sound bite back when provoked (sound-bitten). I hope he also means fund-raising, but we’ll have to see on that one. He does seem to be resisting the established path to office because it’s corrupted and corrupting. His penchant for an, in essence, subversive song heartens me… I think he really may be for change, in a deep, sustainable, systemic overhaul kind of way. Pulling it off will be another matter, but the man has vision….Dare to dream.

  4. Andy
    Posted June 26, 2008 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Might Maggie’s family be a stand-in for the Clinton’s?
    Ain’t gonna work on Hillary’s farm no more…
    Ain’t gonna work for Hillary’s hubby no more…

  5. Robert
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m currently taking bets that two years from now, and if Obama is elected, you’ll all be complaining about how disappointed you all are that he isn’t doing so much more.

    I’m voting for Obama, but mostly because I think the real Republican presidential candidate is whoever the military industrial complex forces McCain to select as his running mate. Then he’d take over a month into the new administration when they give McCain his scheduled heart attack.

    Anybody still wondering why Reagan chose Bush Sr., and why Gore chose Liberman?

  6. mark
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Howard Hunt can come out of hiding.

  7. Robert
    Posted July 3, 2008 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Does that mean you’ll take me up on my bet?

  8. Robert
    Posted July 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

  9. HB
    Posted April 14, 2011 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    I think I’ll email him an MP3 of the song. He needs to be reminded.

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