Friday, January 16, 2009

The Lonesome Death of...

William Zantzinger. Who served six months and paid a $500 fine for killing a black maid who didn't serve him a drink fast enough. In Maryland, in 1963, that was a different kind of possible.

Even today, if you poke around the news reports of his life and death, you'll find different tones depending on where you look.

This can't count as "good" news, because that would be morbid and wrong. And of course it turned out that the details of the case were not as cut and dried as the way Dylan painted them.

Still, one line keeps coming back to me:

She never done nothin' to William Zanzinger

I always found it interesting that Dylan took the 't' out of his name for the song, calling him 'Zanzinger.' Some kind of very subtle nod to the notion that the song's power comes from the Truth of the story itself, not its factual basis?

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