about a year and a half ago we were having great philisophical discussions around here about bob dylan's singing voice...why, when he had obvious talent to sing well, did he choose to grind every other word of his well penned songs out of his nose, and hard...? why did he choose to adopt a voice that grated on many people's nerves and caused him to be even more oddly thought of as he was to begin with? arrogance, perhaps, or even anger fueled this strange choice. oh, we had a heyday of speculation, to be sure...chad even wrote a paper on the subject for a class. but yesterday i thought of something new. while listening to some of his very early recordings mixed with later hits on a compilation, it occured to me that maybe his choice to sing that way was an extension of his fierce privacy and reluctance to speak with reporters and biographers...we, the outside world, were not going to get his story, his comments, or even his real voice. like so many shy people i knew who could play loud, abrasive, or ridiculous characters in the theatre, his real self remained hidden behind a charicature on stage - and the transition between real and affected was too emotionally difficult for him to cross over and back at will. a defense mechanism. as figel of 321 penguins says, "it's a theory, anyway."