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Thread: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

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    Senior Member High Threshold's Avatar
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    Question How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Subterranean Homesick Blues

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    Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Well, there are two problems here.

    First, the word "bum" has different meanings in American and in British English.

    In this regard I think we can agree that the songwriter is referring to a person rather than a body part.

    Secondly, there are several different recordings of the song. The 'top 40 single' version, which is also on Bringing It All Back Home, clearly says, "...don't wanta be a bum ya better chew gum...", but later recordings by Dylan, including live performances, just as clearly say, "...ya better NOT chew gum...".

    Something to think about when you're ducking down the alley way.

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    Senior Member High Threshold's Avatar
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    Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Aspam View Post
    .... I think we can agree that the songwriter is referring to a person rather than a body part.
    Agreed, yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Aspam View Post
    Secondly, there are several different recordings of the song. The 'top 40 single' version, which is also on Bringing It All Back Home, clearly says, "...don't wanta be a bum ya better chew gum...", but later recordings, including live performances, just as clearly say, "...ya better NOT chew gum...".
    I wasn't aware of this. However, as Bobby wrote the lyrics to SHB I'm sticking to his version. Still, you offer no explanation as to how the usage of chewing gum can (and "does") affect the perception of one's community.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Aspam View Post
    Something to think about when you're ducking down the alley way.
    Oh goodness! I steer clear of alley ways! Last time I ventured into one of those I was accosted by a man in a cooon-skin cap who demanded from me a dollar more than I had at the time.

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    Proudly humble LarsMac's Avatar
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    Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Does it ruin the discussion to know that the man simply used the words because they rhymed?
    “The reality we can put into words is never reality itself.”
    ― Werner Heisenberg
    "The trouble with people isn't that they don't know, but that they know so much that ain't so."
    - Will Rogers
    "Truth isn't Truth"
    - Rudy Giuliani

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    Senior Member AnneBoleyn's Avatar
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    Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    At the time Dylan wrote this song, chewing gum was frowned upon as being lower-class & churlish and was not allowed in schools for that reason. And Bob used 'bum' in it's American meaning, which means being lower-class & churlish. The pump don't work 'cause the vandal stole the handle.

    The line in the song "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" was how the political group the Weathermen got their name, btw, meaning 'you know the true facts, you don't need anyone to tell you. Just see it.'

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    Senior Member Bruv's Avatar
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    Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Just to throw in some confusion..........................

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6bFTVi0hHs&feature=kp
    I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth

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    Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruv View Post
    Just to throw in some confusion..........................

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6bFTVi0hHs&feature=kp
    Just one of many chewing gum songs of yore.

    Written by Billy Rose in 1924, it was popularized by Lulu Belle and Scotty (Wiseman) on the "National Barn Dance" program on WLS radio in Chicago, a sort of northern version of the Nashville "Grand Ole Opry".

    The original title was :"Does Your Spearmint...", but the P. K. Wrigley company, who owned the rights to the name "Spearmint", objected, considering the song demeaning to their product.

    Lonnie Donegan's briticized version came much later.

    There have been many other chewing gum songs. It might be an idea for a whole new thread.

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    Senior Member High Threshold's Avatar
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    Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Quote Originally Posted by LarsMac View Post
    Does it ruin the discussion to know that the man simply used the words because they rhymed?
    Not our beloved Robert Zimmerman! Urban hero of 3 generations.

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    Talking Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Aspam View Post
    The original title was :"Does Your Spearmint...", but the P. K. Wrigley company ..... objected, considering the song demeaning to their product.

    Lucky for us Lonnie didn't chose this brand instead.
    http://cdn.trendhunterstatic.com/thu...-with-gum.jpeg

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    Senior Member abortretryfail's Avatar
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    Re: How does chewing gum prevent one from becoming a bum?

    Register to remove this ad.
    Its' really interesting how common American products drive creative culture.

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