I'll just comment on this bit of your post, Howard, as I think it touches on one aspect of the film that's hardly been mentioned: drugs.howard male wrote:...for me the most revealing moment was the scene on the street corner were our hero was taking childlike (in the best sense of the word) pleasure in verbally shuffling words he'd just read on street-signs or newspaper headlines, to increasingly bazaar and surreal affect. It was the happiest we saw him in the entire film, and that, to me, says everything about who the real Bob Dylan is.
In that staged scene, Slim Zim was clearly stoned, a sucker to the dubious (old joke) pleasures of amphetamines, which were the drug of choice around this time. He was just being a motor mouth, nothing more or less. It was funny, for sure, and a nice bit of showing off for Pennebaker's film crew, and inspired as only he could be. But it wasn't anything special. In fact, from my experience of being around people in that particular state, they often get irritating and boring quite quickly.
The impact, or influence, of intoxicants (mind-changing drugs, alcopops, religion, etc) on the creative process is an interesting subject, maybe worthy of another thread if anyone else is interested enough in it. I'm sure some performers have written their best work when being stoned was a way of life for them, and their post-recovery catalogue has never quite been so good.