International Herald Tribune (September 30) introduced a commentary of Japanese novelist, Haruki Murakami who is regarded as a favorite for this year’s Nobel Prize in literature on Japan’s dispute with China over the territorial issues of the Senkaku Islands, which appeared in the Asahi Newspaper on September 28. Murakami wrote:
After your drunken rampage you are left with nothing but an awful headache the next morning. We must be careful about politicians and polemicists who lavish us with this cheap liquor and fan this kind of rampage.
After the analogy of ‘Cheap liquor’ of nationalism, the writer, Marc McDonald adds:
Put another way, by the possible Nobel laureate Mr. Bob Dylan: “Keep a clean nose / Watch the plain clothes / You don’t need a weatherman / To know which way the wind blows.
I can understand 'just literally' the implication of “Keep a clean nose. You don’t need a weatherman. To know which way the wind blows.” But I don’t understand what “Watch the plain clothes” implies?
To me, the line, “Keep a clean nose and so on” doesn’t relate to cheap liquor nationalism at all, thanks to the lack of my imagination.
I think this is a lyric of Bob Dylan’s popular song, but I’m curious to know how it comes that “Cheap liquor of nationalism” could be paraphrased or accounted for by “Keep a clean nose / Watch the plain clothes / You don’t need a weatherman / To know which way the wind blows.”?