I just heard a teaser for today’s “The Conversation” on KUOW that should make blood pressure’s flutter among Bob Dylan fans. At noon, Ross Reynolds and his guest, historian and Dylan scholar Sean Wilentz (who I believe is also on Bobby’s payroll, or was) will be discussing just how much of an original Bob Dylan is. Apparently, the debate was spurred by the great Joni Mitchell, who told the L.A. Times last month…”Bob is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception.”Amen, Joni! Well, I would argue the plagiarism bit, but damn if she ain’t spot-on about Bobby being a fake. Everything about Dylan has been somewhat of a put-on since, I’d venture, at least 1964. And Dylan will be the first to fess up to that one. As Scorese’s excellent documentary No Direction Home made clear, Bobby was (still is) the absolutely brilliant outcome of the many cultural and artistic movements made before his time–from Rimbaud to Charley Patton to Allen Ginsberg. However, Joni’s music also contains hints of those who came before her, one of them being Bob Dylan. But whereas Joni’s music and public persona are meant to offer insight into her soul, Bobby’s music and public persona are more like deflective mechanism he employs to keep people guessing about who he really is. See, Bob wasn’t just influenced by music, but by Hollywood. James Dean and Marlon Brando were as influential on him as Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie. And this leads to an aspect of the Bob Legend that is rarely debated…Bob Dylan is one of the best actors of the last half-century!Like Andy Kaufman, we’ll never know who the real Bob Dylan is. Look to Todd Haynes’ mind-blowing film/dissertation I’m Not There for more on that. As for Bob the Plagiarist, well, tune in to KUOW today at noon. Wilentz has done his research.