It's just wonderfully, wonderfully enriching learning about these things. While I agree about the gut level reaction to art raging_glory mentions, there are two sides to every coin, and those refusing to look at it might well miss out on a vast field of Dylanesque playfulness.
I've long had a sneaking suspicion that the Siamese twins coming to town in Honest With Me just might be the same fellows...
I beleive that there are Siamese twins in "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum," but that they are not fellows - they are female. It has to do with the line "His Master's voice is calling me." In the 1932 film Freaks
conjoined twin Violet Hilton of the Hilton Sisters says, regarding her sister, "Her master's voice is calling."
I do not think that this is a stretch considering Dylan's interest in sideshow, the line about Siamese twins in "Honest With Me" as well as Dylan's long history of incorporating film dialogue into his lyrics.
A new article titled "Tell-Tale Signs - Edgar Allan Poe and Bob Dylan: Towards a Model of Intertextuality" by Christopher Rollason presents a doubling that I had not seen noted anywhere previously:
"...in the song ‘Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum’ (itself about doubling) the line 'he’ll stab you where you stand' (Dylan 2004b: 579-580, line 30), which is lifted straight from the climax of ‘William Wilson’, when Wilson challenges his double: 'Follow me, or I stab you where you stand' (Poe 1978e: 446)."
You can find Rollason's article at http://www.atlantisjournal.org/ARCHIVE/ ... llason.pdf
The song is loaded with other hidden twins, pairs and doubles.
Pairs previously suggested in the song are Jenny and Hannah Hellman, the aunts of Lillian Hellman. The line "Lot of things they'd like they would never buy" seems to be based on a passge from Lillian Hellman's memoir Pentimento
that includes, "Nicest of all was to take a small piece of all the Hollywood money and buy them new winter coats and dresses at Maison Blanche, to be delivered after I left for fear that they'd make me return them if I were there, and then to go along to Solari's, the fine grocers, and load a taxi with delicacies they liked and would never buy...
That passage, including the elipsis, is excerpted in the travel guide New Orleans
by Bethany Bultman, a book that seems to have have appealed to Dylan. Many phrases in "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" seem to be gleaned from her book, for instance Bultman writes, "Food is served family-style, dripping in garlic and olive oil
. Extremely difficult to find; check your map. $$$"" and "The social clubs assume all the expense of the parade, including hiring the bands. Bands can cost well over $1,000, and the police escorts and parade permits
cost over $1,500." He also appears to have returned to her book a number of times while writing Chronicles
In the song Dylan sings, "My pretty baby, she's lookin' around/She's wearin' a multi-thousand dollar gown."
In New Orleans
Bultman writes, "At the other end of the spectrum are the gay balls - a combination of Las Vegas and the Lido with just a dash of camp thrown in. They're presided over by a grand female-impersonating queen in a multi-thousand-dollar gown
That is perhaps another duo in the song; the male/female dichotomy of the drag queen.
Another pair in "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" regards an 1856 minstrel show sketch called Box and Cox
. The story involves a scheming landlady who rents out the same apartment to two men, one who works days and one who works nights, without telling one about the other.
"Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum":
"Tweedle-dee Dum said to Tweedle-dee Dee/'Your presence is obnoxious to me'."Box and Cox
Box: (Looking significantly at Aunty B.): Well, I oughter hab, dat's a fac', for I pays for it. So if you's no dejections, I'll just remark dat your presence is obnoxious to me - I wants to go to bed.
"Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum":
"'I've had too much of your company,'/Says, Tweedle-dee Dum to Tweedle-dee Dee" Box and Cox
Box: No mam! I've had too much of your company already. Vamoose!
"Uncle John's Bongos," the song that Dylan based the music of "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum" on, is by Johnnie & Jack - another duo (if you've never heard Johnnie & Jack's "Humming Bird," a song that Dylan was playing live a few years back, check it out here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dMiJ2Vm164
Kudos to Rollason for finding the Poe connection. I wonder what other secrets may still be hidden in the song.