What does Jokerman mean?

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Bob Dylan: Jokerman Meaning

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Song Released: 1984


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Jokerman Lyrics

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Standing on the water, casting your bread
While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
Distant ships sailing into the mist
You were born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing
Freedom just around the...

  1.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 1st, 2014 3:08am report


    Real Messiahs, False Messiahs.
    False Gods, Real Knowledge Of G-d.
    Delusions, Illusions, and Illumination.



  2.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 21st, 2014 2:06am report


    It's all about Asmodeus.



  3.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 24th, 2013 6:55am report


    the song is about the choices we have in con trolling our lives. dylan, with his ability to create outstanding lyrics the compel all his hard fans to find out, what is he trying to say here, yes ok, but does it mean the same if it is sung like this? this song is basically telling me, about the fight between good and evil to obtain the soul of every human that has or will exist.



  4.  

    anonymous
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    Jun 20th, 2013 6:15pm report


    IMHO - The opening line refers to the widespread, personal & cultural claim of religious commitment. Contrasted against the content of the personal lives of people making those claims, that reflect not only an irreligious reality of character but the blatancy of open idol worship.

    The second line seems to refer to the things that once provided cohesion & buoyancy that are fast fading into the mists of the past.

    The third line informs the inhabitant's of the world about its architecture & power structures - the violence that dominates the shape of its landscapes - The pits and the traps set to snare the unaware.

    The next line says you are being motivated by the lie that ambition shall set you free from the poverty you see nearly everywhere.
    The poverty of social ineptitude, the poverty of genetic's, the poverty of illness, the poverty of depression, the poverty of inertia & its lack of vitality.
    You are spending all your energy in an unwholesome avoidance strategy.
    The kicker is; even if you succeed in escaping into wealth's freedoms your poverty arrives through what you have neglected in selfish, myopic pursuits.
    Your kids hate you, your wife divorced you, your friends are Machiavellian colleagues not so secretly hoping to see you trip so they can overtake you in what became a game of competing ego's after a certain threshold of wealth was reached.

    The rest of the song outlines the consequences this set of behavior pattern will have on the world as it follows the spirit of beastly survival of the fittest laws while ignoring the knowledge of the higher world we were made to inhabit.

    So who is Jokerman? Joker MAN being lead by the spirit of a nightingale that flourishes in darkness; at risk of being consumed when the sun rises high in the sky to void all of his "acquired in the night" skills.



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 4th, 2013 1:13pm report


    I wonder if Dylan was being prophetic and did not even know, about the anti-christ.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 10th, 2012 4:19pm report


    I think it's about a false messiah/false prophet. Here's an excellent post that seems to cover all perspectives.....

    http://damianbalassone.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/dylans-jokerman/



  7.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 10th, 2011 10:54pm report


    The great thing about his music is the many interpretations that are possible. Having heard that he wrote the song after leaving born again Christianity, I assumed it was an angry song i.e. how people can manipulate and be manipulated by religion. Shedding off one more layer of skin referring to easily moving on to another belief system when the one before doesn't fit - as per confessing sins and doing it all over again till the next confession. Showing no response meaning that god doesn't exist but its what people want to believe.



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 13th, 2011 7:06pm report


    standing on the water casting your bread...
    ok only jesus was said to be able to walk on water so pretty safe bet dylan is
    as usual, talking about jesus.

    what about this line
    "distant ships sailing in through mist...
    you were born with a snake in both of your fists with a hurricane blowing"

    SOMETHING LIKE REFERING TO JESUS AS
    A DISTANT SHIP SAILING IN THROUGH THE MIST
    ...SOMETHING LIKE THE BEATLES SAYING
    "GOT TO BE GOOD LOOKING CAUSE HE'S SO HARD TO SEE"
    OR LATER DYLAN (LOVE AND THEFT)
    "I CAME ASHORE IN THE DEAD OF THE NIGHT"
    CANT HELP BUT THINK THESE ARE ALL REFERENCES TO JESUS' 2ND COMING



  9.  

    anonymous
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    May 16th, 2011 5:55pm report


    I KNOW WHAT THE SONG IS about! its about a man who is acused of peedafilia! listen to the song from begining to end + u will see.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Apr 9th, 2011 4:28am report


    It's about enlightenment and or jesus for me. Shedding off one more layer of skin for me is about a last incarnation which you similtaniosly burn karma and enlighten others. Freedom just around the corner for you but with truth so far off etc is about only an individual can awaken whilst the masses still go through the dark night of the soul or ignorance. Some lyrics are about a christ can wait forever for you to enlighten it's no skin off their nose. They interfere with others karma dream twisters, and the A morality of them or it. forgives a harlot and makes them pure love and so on. . Master munipulaters they are in a good way even a sages curse is a blessing. They avail themselves of love but don't need it reciprocated so they seem sort of arrogant . Fools walk in etc , theyre just sure of their eternity and you cant kill their bliss but you can kill their bodies. blah blah



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 7th, 2011 1:30pm report


    Dylan looking at himself and Jesus in each following line.



  12.  

    bothepug
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    Nov 21st, 2010 11:09pm report


    It is about the Jewish nation, the good, the bad, those that fight over her and those who fight within her.



  13.  

    m320753
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    Aug 3rd, 2010 8:08am report


    this is one of the best spiritual song i thimk he has ever written,since the 60s he had written many songs with the name of God and Jesus Christ.and how sad it was to see men in theiryouth buying crack on a corner he said a lot of po to the devil worshippers look and at once you find it a lot of things happen to pop into your head and you gey mellow. another song man of peace warns us about satan and his followers. plainly teaches us to take hee for you don't know when



  14.  

    bobdylan
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    Jul 28th, 2010 7:25pm report


    In this song the narrator, Dylan, is speaking to the subject, and that's Dylan, too. Allusions to Biblical scripture abound because in this song he is examining his own conscience--a conscience which was cleansed and scoured clean by his Christian conversation about eight years before this song came out. Dylan is pretty hard on himself--e.g. "You're a man of the mountains, you can walk on the clouds, manipulator of crowds, you're a dream twister." He has no illusions, or delusions, about changing the world with a song.
    The best kind of poetry trails off into ambiguities. There are several here. "Well, the rifleman's stalking the sick and the lame, Preacherman seeks the same, who'll get there first is uncertain". Are both parties out to exploit and oppress? And, That last verse is welded together with open ended prophecies.
    "Take the motherless children off the street, and place them at the feet of a harlot"

    On another level, this song represents his coming to terms with applying his chosen religion to his complicated lifestyle. He comes to realize that you cannot live in a box and follow the letter of the law exactly and live in righteous absolutes; that the real world is way to uncertain for black and white Christianity.

    Jokerman is an inside joke between Dylan and himself. He sees himself as an anomaly, a lucky, or ill-fated trickster.




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