WASHINGTON, D.C.Â Bob Dylan, an enigmatic and sometimes obscure singer-songwriter who gave voice to a generationÂ that wanted to seem intellectual while sitting around listening to music, was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, last night, a move that drew criticism from an unexpected quarter; other sixties musicians.
"The DEA wants to talk to you about that 'Everybody must get stoned' line."
"We're just as enigmatic and obscure as Dylan, and we had a #1 hit," said ?, a punctuation mark who escaped from the ghetto of English grammar books to front his pioneer garage band The Mysterians.Â "If he gets a medal, we deserve one."
?, at left.
"The President does not comment on his choices in music or punctuation," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs snapped at pool reporters who peppered him with questions to determine whether Dylan was available to autograph their frayed copies of "Blonde on Blonde."Â "There was no political dimension to this award, even though Dylan fans were polling low on voter enthusiasm, or enthusiasm of any kind for that matter."Â
"??--please.Â I can't stand '96 Tears.'"
Dylan's identity has been traced to Robert Zimmerman of Hibbing, Minnesota, where he is ranked the second-most famous musician to call the town home after Gary Puckett, a 60's hit machine with his band The Union Gap.Â The identity of "?" has never been revealed, althoughÂ he is believed to be either Rudy Martinez, Lee Harvey Oswald or Judge Crater, a New YorkÂ jurist who disappeared in 1930.
Chicks dig ?!
? is said to be frustrated that his contributions to American music have not received the same recognition as artists who rose to fame after his trail-blazing hit "96 Tears."Â "It had everything going for it," says rock critic Nils Berwang of Screw magazine.Â "A cheesy organ riff, a haunting bridge in a minor key, and an obscure allusion to oral sex."