On February 5, I posted an article about my photograph of “Blob Dylan” graffiti in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was fitting New Leaf Journal content in light of the fact that my colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, is a self-described “neurotic” Bob Dylan devotee. Instead of researching the meaning of “Blob Dylan” beyond the obvious, I speculated about what the vandal could have been trying to convey to the people of Bushwick. We even had a Guestbook commenter speculate. Now, I follow up on that original post with some new findings about the meaning of “Blob Dylan” – the slang definition.

(This is part of my series of articles on BLOB DYLAN.)

"Blob Dylan" written in marker on an air vent on a brick wall in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
I told asked my NLJ colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, to apply some “artsy” edits to my “Blob Dylan” photograph. He delivered.

(I will leave my account of Blob Dylan’s meeting with Robin Hood aside.)

The Path That Led Me To a New Blob Dylan Discovery

My “Blob Dylan” article has done relatively well in terms of visitors by the standards of an ordinary New Leaf Journal post, which I can discern through our on-site privacy-friendly analytics solution, Koko Analytics. In addition to our on-site analytics, I have access to statistics from Google Search Console. These statistics do not track what happens on our site, but rather what happens when one of our site’s links shows up in Google Search. These statistics revealed that “Blob Dylan” generates some impressions and clicks from Google searches, a good number by the standard of our content.

The Google information left me curious. It is unlikely that “Blob Dylan” is a typo – in my estimation, at least. Although the “l” key is close to the “o” key on standard keyboards, I doubt that many people would commit a typo by hitting the l followed by the o. I will venture that “Blb Dylan” is a more likely typo than “Bob Dylan.”

Curious – I decided to investigate.

Going into the Blob

I first tried the query in DuckDuckGo, my preferred search engine which draws results from a number of non-Google sources. After confirming to DuckDuckGo that I really was searching for “Blob Dylan” and not Bob, I found that my article was the second result. The first result? An Urban Dictionary post. I will return to that shortly.

I tried the query “Blob Dylan” in Startpage, a search engine that delivers non-personalized Google search results in a privacy-respecting way. The first two entries were from people wondering what the meaning of “Blob Dylan” tags were in other parts of the country. The third post was the Urban Dictionary entry. We were nowhere to be found here. Terrible stuff. Now imagine if we had our DuckDuckGo ranking on Google? But I digress.

Let us turn to the venerable source of English-language definitions, the Urban Dictionary,

The Urban Dictionary Definition of “Blob Dylan”

According to the Urban Dictionary, “Blob Dylan” is “slang for anyone who used to have a great voice till a sudden accident left them sounding strange.” Unsurprisingly, the joke stems from Bob Dylan’s voice changing from his earlier days. The definition was submitted on September 5, 2010.

Is the Urban Dictionary Definitive?

Did my Urban Dictionary discovery resolve the question with finality? I think not. In my post, I speculated that “Blob Dylan” was a joke directed at the Bob Dylan fan community. I pictured Victor as I thought that.

In light of the fact that Startpage suggests that plenty of people around the country are unclear about the meaning of “Blob Dylan” graffiti, I do not think the Urban Dictionary definitively resolves the question of the intent of the tagger in quiet Bushwick. Perhaps he was making a joke suggested by one of the Urban Dictionary definitions (either about Bob Dylan specifically or about the general idea of someone undergoing a dramatic voice change). But I do not think that my theory can be ruled out either. Nor can the theory suggested to us in the Guestbook.

In the end, I suppose we are all left to choose our favorite answer to the question of the meaning of Blob Dylan in Bushwick. For whatever it is worth, I received a suggestion from Mr. Gurbo himself. In light of the fact that everything I know about Mr. Dylan comes from Victor, I will err on the side of deferring to his expertise. In response to my posting the Blob Dylan photo on Pixelfed, Victor wrote:

The answer my friend is blobbing in the wind.

Victor V. Gurbo
Nicholas A. Ferrell's photograph of Blob Dylan graffiti in Bushwick, Brooklyn, posted to Pixelfed. Victor V. Gurbo offered his take on the meaning of Blob Dylan in the comments.
My Blob Dylan post on Pixelfed – with Victor’s comment