Since it was announced this morning, so much has been written and posted about Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature - Reports, analysis, archived articles, lists, commentary, celebrity quotes, and videos - that I can’t keep up. However, it appears there’s no real need. It’s mostly “false ideas, images and distorted facts,” to quote the man of the hour. In other words, “Clickbait.” Hopefully this does not fall into that category.

Of course Dylan deserves it. There’s no question, and he doesn’t need me to defend him. I could make the argument he’s the most influential artist of all time, depending on the criteria.

However, would he be pleased? Who knows? Dylan is a contrarian. When he’s not being acknowledged, he’s expressed the absurdity of it, then takes the opposing viewpoint, often in the same sentence, as if sharing an inner Gemini dialogue. Like Groucho Marx, he doesn’t appear to want to belong to any club that would have him as a member. However, in the case of the Nobel Prize, I’m pretty sure Dylan will feel honored and humbled.

The Nobel Prize is a very exclusive club. In 1965, the Beatles received their M.B.E.’s from their Queen, and it was deserved. It was also controversial for such an award to be given to a “pop group.” Nowadays, it seems every Tom, Dick, and Harry who has sold a lot of records is being knighted.

Nothing against Sir Van or Sir Rod, but it’s no longer the elite honor of old.


Dylan’s award means something more than the recognition of his accomplishments as a writer. It is the acknowledgement of a musical form once considered so frivolous it was rarely covered in any publications more serious than those of the Tiger Beat variety.

That is, until the tentacles of Dylan’s imagination grabbed hold of the minds, instruments, and wallets, of a generation. The awarding of the Nobel Prize is confirmation from a prestigious group that has never awarded such an honor to a songwriter before. It hasn’t even given the award to an American since 1993.

When I was very young, I was bitten by the rock and roll bug, and never recovered. I knew the music I liked, mostly kids stuff, wasn’t on par with Beethoven, yet, even at that young age, I felt it should be taken seriously. Yet I also realized this was the myopic view of youth talking. It certainly wasn’t Nobel worthy. I’d eventually grow up, I thought, and abandon rock music and listen to classical music, like my father.

Yet my passion never waned or wavered. I’d watch whatever TV show might have a glimpse of a rock musician. Not only was it a rarity, but it was gone in a flash. There were no rewind, no VCRs or DVRs, and audio recording equipment was primitive, to say the least. There was no YouTube, or filesharing.

There was an urgency, a passion. It was fleeting. Be there or be square. Be here now. That’s probably one of the main reasons I decided to study journalism - to try and document it all.


Whenever the “grownups” acknowledged anything produced by freaks and hippies, it was a big deal. My favorites, the Beatles, could appeal to adults. Maybe not the freakier stuff, but certainly their mainstream hits. I also remember, in second grade, a hardcover book for music class included the lyrics to “This Land is Your Land,’ followed by “Blowin’ in the Wind.” I was too young for Dylan at that point, but it was an encouraging sign.

Dylan wasn’t music’s first poet. There was Chuck Berry, and Woody Guthrie, and many others before him.

But by calling himself “Dylan,” and having a manager insisting his performances be referred to as “concerts,” the stage was set. Mix with some Beatles, add some herbs and chemicals, long hair and colorful clothes, let simmer, and, voila, you have a revolution.

Bob Dylan being rewarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature is the final validation that this artform is legitimate. I knew it. You knew it. It’s just such a great feeling that the “grownups” know it as well.

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