A Nobel for Bobby Zimmerman?

I feel the same way about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature as I felt about Barack Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize: It’s inappropriate and a diminution of the award’s credibility.

In Obama’s case, he had been in office for all of 10 months when the Nobel decision was announced, meaning that he hadn’t even been given time to earn it. And while I voted for Obama and believe that history will place him in the top tier of American presidents, that doesn’t change the fact that he was given the award in 2009 for reasons other than his own accomplishments.

The same is true of Dylan. I love his music, I love his lyrics. And unlike Obama, Dylan has had more than sufficient time to make his mark upon the world and upon music, and he has used that time very well. He is undoubtedly among the handful or so of the most important cultural figures in my lifetime.

But in my mind, none of that justifies awarding him the Nobel for literature. He’s a great poet for a singer-songwriter, but if you take him outside that genre and gauge his work on its literary merits alone, he is not in the first rank of poets.  Like Obama, he was given the award for reasons other than his literary output.

All that said, of course, he’s still a damn fine, creative mind, and we are all blessed to have shared this time and place with him.

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49 comments
honested
honested

The pathetic idiot publisher of the 'dunwoody crier' lamented the Nobel Prize for Literature this morning as a dilution of culture.


Somehow, there is a cohort unaware of reality.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@skydog12


Just as President Obama is saving us from a world where power alone dominates (the kind of power that Putin represents) in which we, as a world community, were headed in the wrong direction before Obama's committed and powerful redirection of what strength entails.


Zimmerman mulled over those thoughts in his head well before he put them to lyrics and music, just as Obama crystallized his worldview in his mind, well before he had the chance to make his world view manifest on the world's stage in reality.


The Nobel Committee had the insight to recognize genius in both cases and to understand that the caliber of one's thoughts determines the caliber of one's actions.

skydog12
skydog12

Nate is playing for free in Acworth on Sunday. He is on a rooftop downtown, but nobody knows how to get up on the roof?


nate nellson

 youtube 

redweather
redweather

Jay, take a look at some of the winners over the last twenty years and tell me which ones have made an important contribution to literature. Better yet, how many of those authors have you read? 

Gmare
Gmare

YouLibs, the last we heard from St Simons was that he & family had evacuated & were safe.

skydog12
skydog12

@Bruno2


Why would I not be a Phil Collins fan? He`s a drummer.

You would be right if you said I wasn`t a big Peter Gabriel fan, but I liked Geneses. 

YouLibs
YouLibs

Has anyone heard from St. Simons he na ha since Matthew?

Bruno2
Bruno2

I was planning on buying a house near the beach when I decided to move to the coast, but am having second thoughts now.

skydog12
skydog12

@Bruno2


Do like Trump. Insure the beach house for double the value and pray for a hurricane.

omark
omark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu-DWUngjhk

Peter, Paul and Mary’s cover of my favorite Dylan song. Count me among the heart broken, when he went to Newport, and whipped out his electric guitar. Needless to say, I got over it. 

omark
omark

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP4XP8CaX7k

Most of us are boring, that’s not entirely a bad thing. Boring is  the glue that binds civilizations together. There’s a lot to be said for statistically predictable behavior. But man cannot live by boring alone. For over fifty years this man has been a source of wonder for me. Homesick blues isn’t a song I consider among his best, but my God, where the hell did this come from? Most of us would kill for a truly original idea. They flow from Dylan like a Leakey faucet. He has never been content to sit back and play his greatest hits. Always restless, ever creating.

Sorry Jay this time you don’t get it do you?

skydog12
skydog12

@omark


Jay gets it. He is just not old enough to have lived through where we were musically when Dylan emerged.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Jay. Mortality has many facets. Some of us never thought we'd see the first black president. And even if I took the wonder twins to see Dylan now. He can't play guitar. He doesn't. In other words, we won't have him forever. Hopefully we get another Obama. And hopefully he doesn't win an award too soon or too late.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

~~Six Degrees of Bacon~~


Dylan was in the movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid with Kris Kristofferson.

Kristofferson was in Heaven's Gate  with Mickey Rourke,

Rourke was in Diner with Kevin Bacon.

Great song - just needed another verse.

https://youtu.be/ZgAoe1o2134



skydog12
skydog12

I was at this show in 1974.


Right before it started, the MC said we had the next Pres. of USA with us tonight, please welcome Jimmy Carter. Jimmy was in row 5 and people were partying all around. When the spotlights were put on Jimmy, the crowd around him dove under their seats and a blue smoke haze hung over Jimmy and Rosilen`s head.


Put you ear buds in and crank this one up. The bass player, Rick Danko was a bad a$$.


before the flood you the band go your way youtube

honested
honested

@skydog12 

I was there too, with my Lit Professor. She got over her "I'm not comfortable with the electric Dylan" phase!

TBS
TBS

@YouLibs @TBS 

Nice.  Do you just jam with your buddies or do you still do shows?

STHornet1990
STHornet1990

@TBS Really love those Wilburys. Too bad they didn't get more time together. Harrison was my Beatle for sure.

JamVet
JamVet

Well said, JB.

One of the very first websites I ever visited, more than two decades ago, was... http://bobdylan.com/

Not sure why. 

But I was initially happy and then bemused to find an entire library of 30 second audio clips!

I was going to offer You're a Big Girl Now' but alas, almost every version is locked down and locked up.

Welcome to the digital prison, Dylan fans...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nPniWzAqME

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@TBS I watched that movie the other night.  So good.
Did anyone enjoy his job more than Robbie Robertson?

STHornet1990
STHornet1990

I'm going to disagree on the Dylan award, but only to the point that I think the committee looked outside the box of "literature" as we've all been told to think about it. I personally believe the overall effect on people, and generations of people, that the written word (songs, poems, novels, etc.) produces is just as important as the beauty with which they were written. To that end I think he's deserving. Though I would suspect he doesn't think so.  ;)

skydog12
skydog12

@STHornet1990


Well said Hornet. He has influenced more people than most writers and poets, by far.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I believe the Nobel Peace Prize should have gone to Barack Obama when it did, and I have expressed why many times on your blog, so I will not do so again now. I believe that you have been missing seeing something that the Nobel Committee did see, however, in terms of what that award to Obama would mean to the future of this world. I believe they were more visionary than you have ever allowed yourself to be regarding Obama's significance to the evolution of humankind, well before you saw it.

In terms of the award having been bestowed upon Bob Dylan, I tend to agree with your point of view. However, I am willing to acknowledge that the Nobel Committee may be more in tune with changes of communication patterns of the future - than of the past - and they have seen in Dylan's work visions of norm-breaking genius well before the rest of many of us have been able to see it.

As they did in Obama's case.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

both were deserved. This ain't a Grammy lifetime achievement award. This is history shapers. Can't believe that went over your head.

Foresight is valuable.

Betting window is still open. Five states.