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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 01:45 GMT 
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i see somebody naked.
-yea, -but what did it mean?


"The Torah of the L-rd is perfect, restoring the soul;
the testimony of the L-rd is faithful, making the simple one wise".
- Psalms 19:8


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 04:29 GMT 
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I heard John Brown today and I thought in Dylans song he is a solder in The Civil War, then I thought a marching song of that war was "John Brown's Body" Also known as "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic" .So then I thought , now if I were Warmuth my view would be that Dylan deliberately named the here of this song John Brown to tie in an already known link to the Civil War?
Or am I reading too much into this?


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 08:33 GMT 

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oldmanemu wrote:
I heard John Brown today and I thought in Dylans song he is a solder in The Civil War, then I thought a marching song of that war was "John Brown's Body" Also known as "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic" .So then I thought , now if I were Warmuth my view would be that Dylan deliberately named the here of this song John Brown to tie in an already known link to the Civil War?
Or am I reading too much into this?


This is a possible interpretation, but there is a constrain in the text, that is he went to fight "on a foreign shore", which would make a more contemporary interpretation more "valid", from the point of view of textual coherence. Just my two cents.


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 10:00 GMT 
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I have read this interesting thread and thanks for all the contributions.

I still don't understand, though, how this method differs from things people have been doing for a long time. The Waste Land had 'incorporations' nearly a hundred years ago, using snatches and fragments from elsewhere to build up theme and scene. And Burroughs' cut up technique placed bits of found language to create accidental meaning and so on. We know Bob is a bit of a modernist (as well as a bit of a surrealist and a bit of a romantic and a bit of a song and dance man...), and maybe there are not very many popular songwriters who have gone there, but it's not news on earth that people use language in these ways. I don't get the hullabaloo.

As for high vs low culture and the seriousness of lit crit over other ways of listening and thinking... we went round that block many years ago with the whole 'Keats or Dylan' brouhaha, and it is sort of the least interesting thing to do with good music (or good poetry for that matter).

I appreciate the efforts, and it's fun to see where Dylan has magpied from, but I don't understand why it is anything more than that.

Lastly, I have no doubt in some of these sources, but in other places this Scott fellow looks in danger of seeing the world through the lens of his theory. Words and phrases travel together through time, using different mouths and ears. It's not always an author's conscious choice that determines them.


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 11:00 GMT 

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Pockets wrote:
I have read this interesting thread and thanks for all the contributions.

I still don't understand, though, how this method differs from things people have been doing for a long time. The Waste Land had 'incorporations' nearly a hundred years ago, using snatches and fragments from elsewhere to build up theme and scene. And Burroughs' cut up technique placed bits of found language to create accidental meaning and so on. We know Bob is a bit of a modernist (as well as a bit of a surrealist and a bit of a romantic and a bit of a song and dance man...), and maybe there are not very many popular songwriters who have gone there, but it's not news on earth that people use language in these ways. I don't get the hullabaloo.

As for high vs low culture and the seriousness of lit crit over other ways of listening and thinking... we went round that block many years ago with the whole 'Keats or Dylan' brouhaha, and it is sort of the least interesting thing to do with good music (or good poetry for that matter).

I appreciate the efforts, and it's fun to see where Dylan has magpied from, but I don't understand why it is anything more than that.

Lastly, I have no doubt in some of these sources, but in other places this Scott fellow looks in danger of seeing the world through the lens of his theory. Words and phrases travel together through time, using different mouths and ears. It's not always an author's conscious choice that determines them.


Well written, but I think you under appreciate and are attempting to trivialize some very interesting efforts.

And I think you are way off base here -

"It's not always an author's conscious choice that determines them."

Are you saying these lifted lines showed up by accident? If nothing else, the extensive, and quite enlightening work by ScottW and MMD have proven beyond doubt that these were conscious decisions regarding extensive use of other's words, and really, the only question now, is why? And it's a big, and needed question.

I think they are leaping to strange conclusions in many instances, but I'm fascinated by the whole project and commend their efforts.


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 11:48 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:

Well written, but I think you under appreciate and are attempting to trivialize some very interesting efforts.

And I think you are way off base here -

"It's not always an author's conscious choice that determines them."

Are you saying these lifted lines showed up by accident? If nothing else, the extensive, and quite enlightening work by ScottW and MMD have proven beyond doubt that these were conscious decisions regarding extensive use of other's words, and really, the only question now, is why? And it's a big, and needed question.

I think they are leaping to strange conclusions in many instances, but I'm fascinated by the whole project and commend their efforts.


Thanks. I too find it interesting, and find the hunt for sources fascinating at times.

I was expressing a doubt that all the 'incorporations' were incorporations by design. Someone here mentioned the 'whispering wind' example. Well, lots of people have whispering winds, whether they have read each others' books or not. And there is a danger when you find patterns in something to start finding patterns everywhere. (I've heard it called convergence in academia, where PhDs will start seeing proof of their thesis in everything.) It's not even really a criticism, just a thought, and no doubt that lots of these are language lifts. I mean: carry on hunting, I enjoy it and it was great fun to learn that Chronicles is itself a patchwork of language from all about.

Though it is true that I don't think the method is that revelatory in itself, because we've seen similar things done for a long time.

It's also true that I was trivialising the stuff about lit crit, but that's just because I never put much store by criticism and canons and the panjandra of the critical world and the locked towers of special knowledge, enjoying close reading and listening much more.

Fair play to those who do, but you ain't going to find a secret code there to get you to the heart of this or any other matter.

And language does often come through artists (and everybody, actually) rather than always being strictly authored in the conscious sense, so phrases do get passed along on whispering winds.

But, yes, he words in collage and borrowed and found and fractured and incorporated language, and, grand claims aside, its fun to see where and how.


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 11:51 GMT 
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Pockets wrote:
I have read this interesting thread and thanks for all the contributions.

I still don't understand, though, how this method differs from things people have been doing for a long time. The Waste Land had 'incorporations' nearly a hundred years ago, using snatches and fragments from elsewhere to build up theme and scene. And Burroughs' cut up technique placed bits of found language to create accidental meaning and so on. We know Bob is a bit of a modernist (as well as a bit of a surrealist and a bit of a romantic and a bit of a song and dance man...), and maybe there are not very many popular songwriters who have gone there, but it's not news on earth that people use language in these ways. I don't get the hullabaloo.


Pockets, You are right to see the connection. One of the aims of the thread is/was to explore the relationships between Dylan's way of writing (and painting) and approaches like Modernism and Postmodernism, &c....One of the reasons for describing these relationships is the persistence of arguments about whether Dylan was (a) "accidentally" including these other texts (unconsciously, that is), or (b) plagiarizing them. From my side, neither (a) nor (b) is tenable given what has come to light thanks to the work of people like Warmuth, Cook and Richard Thomas.

We've also tried to explore the claims made by Warmuth about a kind of "secret code" or set of hidden puzzles in Dylan's late work, tied to those incorporations. As you saw, Warmuth has clarified his positions, and I think the idea of a "master code" has been put aside -- just as most people on the thread expected.

For my part, I hope to become a little clearer on Dylan's late style, to try to understand whether and how it might be different from other stages of his work. But also, to understand how Dylan's writing and his sources differentiate him from other artists (whether popular or high-cultural).

Pockets wrote:
I appreciate the efforts, and it's fun to see where Dylan has magpied from, but I don't understand why it is anything more than that.


Just as is the case with other writers engaged in this kind of incorporation, interpretation has to address the relationship between the various texts and contexts. Of course, not everyone is inclined to be interested in a kind of literary critical or theoretical interpretation of works of art. I happen to be very interested in both. Dylan's incorporations (of both high and low culture) make those kinds of interpretive efforts all the more rewarding and interesting to me.

As you know having read the thread, I've expressed my appreciation for Warmuth's efforts to identify and provide context for Dylan's sources. And while his methods remain unclear, his claims are not easily dismissed. He almost always is careful to give strong evidence for claims that Dylan has incorporated elements of some specific source text. Spending some time reading Warmuth's work, as well as the growing body of writing on this issue by other scholars and researchers, makes it far, far more difficult to believe that it is a matter of coincidence or accidental transmission.


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 13:01 GMT 

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ifitwastruetennessee wrote:
the songs are there, they will always be there, and their power is self evident. there is nothing that needs to be proved by anyone. it doesn't matter what you think about dylan, call him an idiot savant, or whatever you want to say- the songs are really beyond explanation. ok, there's a claim for you- but i'm serious. there is something beyond explanation for great works of art, and for all of us, and there always will be

I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with all this but I would like to add one observation (or is it just a thought?) about this. In the end, everything gets traced back to just one spectator (me). I will always have my private response to a Dylan song, as with anything, and that will always be the case. However, "me" - "I" - is really one voice in a conversation ("I" means the one who is speaking). By looking at sources and other features of the text at an analytical level I am entering into a conversation with others about the work, which in turn can modify the private response that I have. There are really two experiences here - the personal response, and the conversation, and both are valuable. Of course, one can bypass the latter if one chooses, but I would feel I was cheating myself out of a richer experience of the work if I did.


Last edited by theunwavedhand on Mon July 16th, 2012, 13:03 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 13:03 GMT 
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andrea75 wrote:
oldmanemu wrote:
I heard John Brown today and I thought in Dylans song he is a solder in The Civil War, then I thought a marching song of that war was "John Brown's Body" Also known as "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic" .So then I thought , now if I were Warmuth my view would be that Dylan deliberately named the here of this song John Brown to tie in an already known link to the Civil War?
Or am I reading too much into this?


This is a possible interpretation, but there is a constrain in the text, that is he went to fight "on a foreign shore", which would make a more contemporary interpretation more "valid", from the point of view of textual coherence. Just my two cents.

As there were two sides and I admit I am not au fait with the civil war if he went away into enemy territory to fight that may well be a foreign shore?


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 13:19 GMT 
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MMD wrote:
Pockets wrote:
I have read this interesting thread and thanks for all the contributions.

I still don't understand, though, how this method differs from things people have been doing for a long time. The Waste Land had 'incorporations' nearly a hundred years ago, using snatches and fragments from elsewhere to build up theme and scene. And Burroughs' cut up technique placed bits of found language to create accidental meaning and so on. We know Bob is a bit of a modernist (as well as a bit of a surrealist and a bit of a romantic and a bit of a song and dance man...), and maybe there are not very many popular songwriters who have gone there, but it's not news on earth that people use language in these ways. I don't get the hullabaloo.


Pockets, You are right to see the connection. One of the aims of the thread is/was to explore the relationships between Dylan's way of writing (and painting) and approaches like Modernism and Postmodernism, &c....One of the reasons for describing these relationships is the persistence of arguments about whether Dylan was (a) "accidentally" including these other texts (unconsciously, that is), or (b) plagiarizing them. From my side, neither (a) nor (b) is tenable given what has come to light thanks to the work of people like Warmuth, Cook and Richard Thomas.

We've also tried to explore the claims made by Warmuth about a kind of "secret code" or set of hidden puzzles in Dylan's late work, tied to those incorporations. As you saw, Warmuth has clarified his positions, and I think the idea of a "master code" has been put aside -- just as most people on the thread expected.

For my part, I hope to become a little clearer on Dylan's late style, to try to understand whether and how it might be different from other stages of his work. But also, to understand how Dylan's writing and his sources differentiate him from other artists (whether popular or high-cultural).

Pockets wrote:
I appreciate the efforts, and it's fun to see where Dylan has magpied from, but I don't understand why it is anything more than that.


Just as is the case with other writers engaged in this kind of incorporation, interpretation has to address the relationship between the various texts and contexts. Of course, not everyone is inclined to be interested in a kind of literary critical or theoretical interpretation of works of art. I happen to be very interested in both. Dylan's incorporations (of both high and low culture) make those kinds of interpretive efforts all the more rewarding and interesting to me.

As you know having read the thread, I've expressed my appreciation for Warmuth's efforts to identify and provide context for Dylan's sources. And while his methods remain unclear, his claims are not easily dismissed. He almost always is careful to give strong evidence for claims that Dylan has incorporated elements of some specific source text. Spending some time reading Warmuth's work, as well as the growing body of writing on this issue by other scholars and researchers, makes it far, far more difficult to believe that it is a matter of coincidence or accidental transmission.

I think you have been trapped in Warmuth's web.


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PostPosted: Tue July 17th, 2012, 06:22 GMT 
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Oldmanemu,
Not sure what you mean by that. I don't feel much trapped.

I think, looking back at your last few posts, you may mean that you think Warmuth decided first that there must be references to other texts in Dylan's work, then went looking for references. I don't think that's what happened -- for me it was recognizing Twain and Ovid that made me wonder whether there were more references. But even if that is how Warmuth came to concern himself with possible incorporations or references, it doesn't much matter. The persuasive power of his work rides not on the impetus but on his ability to support his claims about sources for Dylan's work. Remember that I've said that I would not accept as convincing a claim that Dylan, for instance, is alluding to Shakespeare's play The Tempest with his new album's title just because the titles are similar (even if they were identical, which they aren't). There has to be other supporting evidence. Once we have supporting evidence, the claims become more credible.


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PostPosted: Tue July 17th, 2012, 07:08 GMT 
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I do not want you to think that I am putting you down , but rightly or wrongly I feel that you have been drawn to warmuth's theories which is why I said you have been trapped in his web. As you have gathered I feel he worked out because of all the references he found that there was a purpose behind it and from then on he has tried to bolster and support his theory with as much evidence as he can muster. And I admit that there seems to be plenty.
I think possibly an exercise like this could be done with any prolific writer often when reading an author I come across something which I think may be a conscious or un conscious reference to something else either from literature, the bible , Shakespeare or from ancient or modern classics.
I read the link you provided to us which discussed " I Can't Escape From You", while it was interesting I felt that for the main he was drawing a very long bow and seemed to me to be lacking in substance.
We do not have to look hard to imagine clues eg today I saw a book titled A Stranger In A Strange Land . I was remained of a line in a Dylan song.


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PostPosted: Tue July 17th, 2012, 07:13 GMT 
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Stranger In A Strange Land is a classic science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It's about a messianic character who came to earth from Mars.


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PostPosted: Tue July 17th, 2012, 07:29 GMT 
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oldmanemu wrote:
I do not want you to think that I am putting you down , but rightly or wrongly I feel that you have been drawn to warmuth's theories which is why I said you have been trapped in his web. As you have gathered I feel he worked out because of all the references he found that there was a purpose behind it and from then on he has tried to bolster and support his theory with as much evidence as he can muster. And I admit that there seems to be plenty.
I think possibly an exercise like this could be done with any prolific writer often when reading an author I come across something which I think may be a conscious or un conscious reference to something else either from literature, the bible , Shakespeare or from ancient or modern classics.


Oldmanemu,
No, you have been very polite and civil. No offense taken.
Two brief points before I return to my work (this new Dylan album is not helping either!)
First, Warmuth told me twice, after I pressed him a little too insistently, that he is not making any claims about a grand purpose beyond the incorporations. I am declaring, until some major future revelation, that the "master code" idea is dead (how does that usually go? "Long live the "master code"? Ha.)

Secondly, yes, absolutely, incorporations, allusions (and straight-forward lifts) are established literary practices. I wouldn't say that you could find them in the work of any prolific writer, but certainly in many great ones. And further, historically speaking, there have been multiple ways of conceiving of and practicing this kind of allusion/incorporation among writer (and other artists).

One of the reasons I started this thread was to shift the conversation about Dylan's "borrowings" from plagiarism to recognizing that he is (almost certainly) participating in an established literary practice of incorporation/allusion -- and probably one most affected by Modernism and postmodernism. Since Warmuth had done most of the leg-work running down those incorporations and had suggested a possible non-literary (and instead secret) purpose for them, I wanted to both give him credit and test his claims.


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PostPosted: Tue July 17th, 2012, 07:39 GMT 
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It makes sense what you say .
So the question maybe should be is Dylan playing a game and if so why . It sounds as if upon his death , his will will be read and all will be revealed or will we be left to ponder the issue for all eternity?


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PostPosted: Tue July 17th, 2012, 07:41 GMT 
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the_revelator wrote:
Stranger In A Strange Land is a classic science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It's about a messianic character who came to earth from Mars.

Thank you it therefore fits in well!


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PostPosted: Tue July 17th, 2012, 08:41 GMT 
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the_revelator wrote:
Stranger In A Strange Land is a classic science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It's about a messianic character who came to earth from Mars.


It's also a line in Exodus, and in the Paul Simon song "Call Me Al".

So we know, now, that lots of bits and pieces in BD's songs and writing are references or allusions or incorporations from other texts. Often, he threads elements from different sources through and across songs. As Dylan fans, we are richer for that knowledge.

And we know lots of people have done this sort of collage, though not so much in quite this way in popular song, and that we needn't be horrified about it being word-theft.

We also know that some snippets of language can cross between authors without deliberate use, because they are in the culture and in the air between us.

And we think there is no underlying code to shovel a glimpse into the ditch of what each one means.

And it remains interesting.

Excellent! I really look forward to more collaborative source-hunting! We should do it anonymously as a social media collective (but that's a whole other thing).


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PostPosted: Wed July 18th, 2012, 19:39 GMT 

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Pockets wrote:
the_revelator wrote:
Stranger In A Strange Land is a classic science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It's about a messianic character who came to earth from Mars.


It's also a line in Exodus, and in the Paul Simon song "Call Me Al".

So we know, now, that lots of bits and pieces in BD's songs and writing are references or allusions or incorporations from other texts. Often, he threads elements from different sources through and across songs. As Dylan fans, we are richer for that knowledge.

And we know lots of people have done this sort of collage, though not so much in quite this way in popular song, and that we needn't be horrified about it being word-theft.

We also know that some snippets of language can cross between authors without deliberate use, because they are in the culture and in the air between us.

And we think there is no underlying code to shovel a glimpse into the ditch of what each one means.

And it remains interesting.

Excellent! I really look forward to more collaborative source-hunting! We should do it anonymously as a social media collective (but that's a whole other thing).

I think that pretty much sums it up.


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PostPosted: Thu July 19th, 2012, 00:52 GMT 
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Pockets wrote:
the_revelator wrote:
Stranger In A Strange Land is a classic science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It's about a messianic character who came to earth from Mars.


It's also a line in Exodus, and in the Paul Simon song "Call Me Al".

.

I also heard it in another song yesterday , possibly by Billy Joel Iwas busy and did not give it my full attentention . I think it is also biblical.


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PostPosted: Thu July 19th, 2012, 02:29 GMT 
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Though Dylan has always 'borrowed'--lines, tunes, etc--pretty clearly, it's a technique that finds it's heyday from, say, 1997-2006, no? Including Chronicles, Masked & Anonymous. And reaching its zenith in Love & Theft, perhaps? Ultimately, a small portion of the entire career, really--though, yes--the references have been there in varying degrees from the beginning. It seems to me a major and conscious technique in this later period on Dylan's part though, and one well-worth exploring. It's fun. And adds depth, enjoyment, meaning to the songs. Many artists tip their hats to earlier artists--but in Dylan's case--it seems in these later years--it's his raison d'etre--so many lines in this period are references, I cannot imagine it a coincidence. It's intended. Carry on MMD--I love checking in on this thread,


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PostPosted: Sun July 22nd, 2012, 08:39 GMT 
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Every writer is influenced by what they have experienced and this incudes what they have read.
Anyone who has taught and marked essays from the lowest primary school level to tertiary level remarks on how similiar in style most essays are and how they will often reflect a recent story or book that has been discussed or read to the group.
However most of us including many writers who write for a living do not have every piece of writing poured over like a detective checking forensic evidence as does Bob Dylan.
Often while reading I come across familiar patterns or styles of writing and passages and stories which appear to be sourced from other writers and sopurces. This has gone on either on purpose or with out it being recognized by the authour since people commenced writing . Ther is nothing wrong with it unless it is stolen verbatim and passed off as original. For example three of the four Gospel writers appear to have used the same source.
Chaucer and Boccacio both had many similiar stories in their collections


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PostPosted: Sun July 22nd, 2012, 08:41 GMT 
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I'll have to catch up here - glad to see this thread is still going strong.


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PostPosted: Sun July 22nd, 2012, 13:12 GMT 

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I'm wondering how long it will take ScottW' and other research experts to find all the "borrowed" lyrics in the upcoming release. We could start a betting pool on the time frame. Any guesses?


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PostPosted: Sun July 22nd, 2012, 13:20 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:
I'm wondering how long it will take ScottW' and other research experts to find all the "borrowed" lyrics in the upcoming release. We could start a betting pool on the time frame. Any guesses?

he will most likely get a preview copy , stay up all night and have it all set out with comments within hours of hearing it.


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PostPosted: Sun July 22nd, 2012, 13:21 GMT 
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Fred already pointed to the Titanic movie dialogue piece, so it's started already. :wink:
Plus the Beatles lyrics mentioned in RS, which of course are too obvious to need research.


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