Who’s Bob Dylan?

Stoners

So, Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for literature is, for me, a complete and utterly surreal event. To make an analogy, it’s like walking into a roomful of 60’s babyboom stoners waxing rhapsodic over the curvilinear genius of a spoon. It doesn’t seem to occur to them, as they move from the spoon to the butter knife, that maybe it’s not the silverware, but the marijuana that’s extraordinary. And Dylan’s music, what little I’ve heard (and judging by his fans), is marijuana at its finest.

  • “Bob Dylan winning a Nobel in Literature is like Mrs Fields being awarded 3 Michelin stars. This is almost as silly as Winston Churchill.” Rabih Alameddine ~ Twitter

I’ve never listened, from beginning to end, to a single song by Bob Dylan. And if I’ve heard other Dylan songs, the only one I vaguely recall has something to do with a Chevy and a levy. But wait, that’s not Dylan. Catchy tune though.

Here’s the thing:  I regularly cycle through Monteverdi’s Madrigals and the Bach Cantatas. The interesting thing about the Cantatas is just how god-awful many (if not most) of the “lyrics” are (they called them librettos in those days). Fortunately, my German is far enough removed that all I hear is the music. Being curious though, I look up the lyrics from time to time and am floored by how Bach could turn the most banal poetry into musical masterpieces. Music, like marijuana, can do that to lyrics. Does anyone even give half a rat’s butt about Dylan’s prose poetry?

  • “Yes, Mr. Dylan is a brilliant lyricist. Yes, he has written a book of prose poetry and an autobiography. Yes, it is possible to analyze his lyrics as poetry. But Mr. Dylan’s writing is inseparable from his music. He is great because he is a great musician” NYT ~ Anna North

The various writers and editors at The Guardian have all but turned into gushing and starry-eyed fanboys & fangirls. They giddily praise the Nobel Prize committee’s citation as ‘admirably delicate’ (literary dilettantes who each year choose their jock of the week with the cliquish discretion of cheerleaders) .  The euphuistic prose is thick enough to cut with a chainsaw. Richard Williams (linked above) writes: “Essentially, in the work of Bob Dylan, the words and the music cannot be separated.” Exactly.

And besides that, yes they can be, and are—by yours truly; but am I the only one? When I read Dylan’s lyrics all I see are the words on a page—and none of the music. And what I see reads like a watered down Bukowski with a few effete rhymes—the poetry of an ambitious but mawkish high school sophomore:

“Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear the murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there.”

The lyric stripped of music is an emperor stripped of clothes. As far as literature goes, they’re mediocre and amateurish. Which is to say, by the standards of the last 100 years, they really do deserve to be ranked with contemporary poems.

  • “Ah the patron saint of the 60s, gets a Nobel Prize. I guess this means in 20 years, we can expect Kurt Cobain to be added to this group when his generation takes over the voting. Joined by Beyonce, 20 years after that.” Comment at Rolling Stone Magazine

The lyric above is excerpted from another guardian post in which the author, or “we” (presumably all the Guardian fanboys and fangirls), present “Bob Dylan’s greatest lyrics” with no comment (as if their greatness were self-evidently obvious). For example:

Positively Fourth Street

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you.

All I can say is that you have to be stoned out of your gourd to think this is great literature. I’ve read better stuff from teary-eyed 13 year olds. But there’s also the New York Times.  The narrator of a video at the Times, Jon Pareles, reverently states at the outset that “we’ve known for half a century that Bob Dylan was a great writer”. Who this “we” is, he doesn’t say. And no, “we” have not known this for half a century. We have known that he was a great pop star. If it weren’t for his music, as the Guardian unwittingly asserted, everyone would be asking the same question: Who the hell is Bob Dylan? What about that collection of prose poetry Mr. Pareles? I notice he didn’t mention that, and that tells you something. But still climbing Mount Hyperbole, Pareles goes on:  “He can sling words together and make them explode in your mind.” Pareles’s example? “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”. And its this, apparently, that merits a Nobel Prize. Pareles, who apparently doesn’t know Jack about literature, closes the video with the embarrassingly facile assertion that “he got the prize because he’s a wordslinger.”  Just think, sling words and you too will win a Nobel Prize.

Vermont’s poet laureate, Chard DeNiord, recently asked: “So what to make of the marginal status of poetry in America, where so many crave poetry for its essential, memorable expression[?]”. The answer? It only takes Dylan’s music. Put your mawkish and mediocre verse to Dylan’s music and you too will win the Nobel Prize for literature.

If nothing else, Dylan’s Nobel Prize is a beacon of hope to an entire generation (or two) of mediocre poets.

16 responses

  1. Geez. And so I continue disregarding all prizes and awards related to poetry.

    An aside: Shteyngart’s “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook” is one of my favorite books.

  2. Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature because there’s no Nobel Prize for music. I think it’s as simple as that. His was essentially a hybrid art, like Schubert’s lieder, in which the music was written in order to galvanize the language rather than both being independent from the other. Dylan also directly or indirectly influenced nearly every songwriter that came after him, at least those that put any real thought into the lyrics and creativity into writing music that made the words matter. So I don’t object to him winning the Nobel Prize for Literature on those grounds alone.

    However, I would admit that Dylan’s lyrics rarely read as well as great poetry on paper. Part of this is because a hybrid art like song-writing requires a different literary approach, and Dylan understands this. If the language is too expressive, too pitch-perfect in terms of meaning, tone, and connotation, then there’s little left for the music to do in regards to shaping it. I think Dylan often writes in order to “leave room” for his music to do something unique with that language, and the more general and ambiguous the language, the more room there is. This is why I love to hear Dylan bootlegs, outtakes, and live performance as it’s amazing to hear how radically he can change the meaning of lyrics through his music. I’d also argue that it’s not easy to write like this at all; if it was, then more songwriters would be just as good as Dylan, and they aren’t (and it’s rarely because of their music alone).

    However, I would add that Dylan has plenty of support from extremely authoritative quarters. I rank Christopher Ricks as among the handful of best living literature critics and he’s written a book-length study on Dylan’s lyrics, and you certainly can’t accuse HIM of being ill-read or ill-informed about poetry!

    • I can agree with everything you’ve written, but would add a caveat to this:

      “I’d also argue that it’s not easy to write like this at all; if it was, then more songwriters would be just as good as Dylan, and they aren’t (and it’s rarely because of their music alone). ”

      The only reason anyone pays any attention to Dylan’s lyrics is because of his music. Period. They’re good (if not exceptional) lyrics, as far as lyrics go, but they’re not “literature”. They’re just well-written lyrics. And as I wrote in my post: to test this, try singing Dylan’s lyrics to Row Your Boat or 100 Bottles of Bear. His lyrics have no substance without his music. As for Christopher Ricks (who I’ve been reading up on since the prize was awarded), it’s fairly obvious Ricks wouldn’t so much as know the man’s name if it weren’t for the music. I suspect that if there’s a criticism to be made of Ricks, it’s that he can’t read the lyrics without hearing the music. Ricks calls Dylan a “genius with langauge”, but the same could be said for any number of rappers. Ricks sounds like he’s drunk way too much of the kool-aide™. If Ricks is comparing Dylan to Keats, then I wouldn’t at all hesitate to call him ill-informed about poetry. This:

      Christopher Ricks, who has also penned books about T. S. Eliot and John Keats, argues that Dylan’s lyrics not only qualify as poetry, but that Dylan is among the finest poets of all time, on the same level as Milton, Keats, and Tennyson. He points to Dylan’s mastery of rhymes that are often startling and perfectly judged. For example, this pairing from “Idiot Wind,” released in 1975:

      Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
      From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol

      The metaphorical relation between the head and the head of state, both of them two big domes, and the “idiot wind” blowing out of Washington, D.C., from the mouths of politicians, made this particular lyric the “great disillusioned national rhyme,” according to Allen Ginsberg.

      If this is representative of the kind of criticism Ricks brings to Dylan’s lyrics, then I’d have to say that Ricks’s criticism is just a notch above a Freshman term paper.

    • In any hybrid art considering the components independently degrades the art itself. Dylan’s music isn’t nearly as effective without the lyrics and vice versa. So saying people only care about the lyrics because of the music is, I think, the wrong way of looking at it. The lyrics are a crucial part of the artistic experience, the experience is something more than the sum of its musical and literary parts. Dylan’s music considered independently of his lyrics doesn’t fair extraordinarily well either, as he didn’t have the technical talent or originality of many folk and rock artists of that time. Without the lyrics, Dylan isn’t Dylan, and the “music” (or at least the experience of it) is something different entirely.

      You’re free to disagree with Ricks, but there’s no denying his credentials as a serious and respected academic (you don’t become a professor at Oxford writing “Freshman term papers”) who’s read plenty of poetry and thought deeply about the art-form. Sometimes equally educated people can disagree over artistic quality simply because they have differing standards of what counts as greatness in that art-form, and it’s not wise to simply dismiss everyone who disagrees with your standards. Not to mention he’s been praised by several other of our best living and past poets and critics (Kenner, Hill, Auden, Carey). You going to dismiss all of them too?

    • //In any hybrid art considering…//

      I agree with you. If you’re willing to newly define “literature” as including songs, then yes. If literature is defined as words on the page, then no. For me, examining Dylan’s lyrics as literature demands they be considered independently of the music. Just because some people on a committee saw fit to redefine literature as including songs doesn’t mean we have to agree.

      As to Rick’s credentials. Seriously? Just because he raises the Oxford flag, you salute? Donald Trump was nominated by the Republican party to be President, does that make him competent to be President? Just because a poet becomes Poet Laureate doesn’t mean his or her poetry is any good. Just because one recognizes the names Kinner, Hill, or Auden doesn’t mean they’re opinions are valid. The only thing worth considering is Ricks’s actual work, and if it’s anything like the example quoted, I’m not impressed. He wrote a book? So what. Oxford? Cambridge? The Ivy Leagues? So what. Can they build a house plumb and level. That’s all I care about. Oxford professors are a dime a dozen.

      Ultimately, and admittedly though, I need to read Ricks to have an informed opinion.

    • By the way, you mentioned Cary. Here’s a quote from Cary:

      One of Mr. Ricks’s critics, the Oxford don John Carey, has complained that there is something slightly ”trainspotter-ish” — or obsessively detailed — about ”Dylan’s Visions of Sin,” and he points out that Mr. Ricks is so ingenious he ”could prove the telephone book was beautifully intricate if he tried.”

      Just from that little simple, that’s the impression I get.

    • For me it comes down to the simple fact that there’s no Nobel Prize for Music, and because Dylan’s primary contribution to the world of music was a sense of literary intelligence (or, at least, an artistic intelligence of how to wed poetry and music in songwriting), and because that contribution has indelibly influenced all the songwriters and lyricists that came after, I can’t object to him winning the Nobel Prize for literature. That said, I would agree with you that if we were just considering the words on the page then I don’t feel he would’ve qualified.

      My point about Ricks was simply in response to your OP that made it sound as if those praising Dylan’s lyrics were just stoned hippies without much experience with or knowledge about literature. That’s not the case with Ricks. You may disagree with his analysis and assessment, but I think you’re loony if you’re going to argue you can become an Oxford Professor of Poetry without being an expert in the field. There are plenty of critics I disagree with strongly on many fronts, but I don’t doubt their expertise; I just acknowledge we value different things from different perspectives.

      Art isn’t like science where there are always factual answers to questions and in which the evidence can necessarily points in the same direction for everyone involved in that field. So I don’t feel compelled to convince you Ricks is a great critic (that’s just my opinion based on my own perspectives and what I value in criticism), merely that he’s a widely acknowledged expert who happens to praise Dylan as literature. You might even notice I rather disagree with Ricks on this point (given what I said above), but, again, I don’t take our disagreement to mean he’s not an expert in the field.

    • //…but I think you’re loony if you’re going to argue you can become an Oxford Professor of Poetry without being an expert in the field…//

      Here’s what I can tell you: Having a degree only means you’re an expert in getting a degree. Period. Just because you have an MD or PhD after your name doesn’t make you a good doctor. Just because you have a Doctorate in Literature doesn’t make you competent to teach literature and just because you became an Oxford Professor doesn’t mean your an expert in anything other than becoming an Oxford Professor. The proof is in the work produced. Like I wrote, I’m not in a position to judge Ricks, but if that extract typifies his criticism, than I’d say his expertise is in bullshitistry. Give me any set of lyrics and I’ll weave a just-so fable out of it. I’ll find epistemological significance in the fact that “row” appears twice and that boat doesn’t rhyme with stream but that the only vowel in common is ‘a’ and that the significance of ‘a’ can’t possibly be overstated because it’s the first letter in the alphabet and signifies that the rower of the boat has only begun his journey and that it’s no coincidence that the next letter in the alphabet is ‘b’ and that this is to be understood as ‘be’ or as a statement of the rower’s philosophical condition of ‘being’ and I can do this all day Jonathan. I haven’t even gotten started on the sibilance of ‘stream’ (meant to evoke the hiss of the sibilance in Satan and the metaphor of the stream as the primal fall–or waterfall). Did I mention the etymology of “gently” — “high-born, worthy, noble, of good family; courageous, valiant; fine, good, fair”. The implications of this also can’t possibly be overstated but I will. And then there’s the metaphorical relationship between the boat as container of the person and the stream as container of the boat and the person as the ineluctable container of the soul and we are back to ‘b’, or ‘be’ or ‘being’ or ‘a’ (common in both boat and stream. and ‘a being’ contained by the body, the body contained by the boat, the boat contained by the stream. I could do this all night long. And when I read that little extract by Ricks, I see the same thing going on, Ricks cooking up significance in the rhyme between ‘skull’ and ‘capitol’. It’s a sort of gift. I have it too, just like Ricks. I could make every word on an aspirin bottle look like inspired literary genius. It’s spinning out a pour-quoi fable, a just-so story, that conveniently explains every single facet of a text, right down to the comma—and that makes the poet look like god’s gift to genius. The gift isn’t unique to literary criticism. “Experts” make up perfect ‘just-so’ stories in every field: economists, evolutionists, scientists, conspiracy theorists… But, as you say, literary criticism isn’t science. Anyone can bullshit their way to success. There are always going to be customers for snake oil and snake oil salesman who believe their own spiel. :)

    • You realize you could levy your criticism about ANY criticism out there that is anything more than descriptive/analytical, right? I can almost guarantee I could sift through your own criticism and find examples of the very thing you’re objecting to/parodying here. Your example is also an obvious parody and not even a particularly accurate one of the type Ricks practices. In fact, I’d argue that Ricks’s criticism is among the most empirically based out there, a fact that annoys the more theoretically-minded critics (Bloom once said Ricks’s criticism could cross over into “naive empiricism,” or just taking empirical statements at face value without acknowledging interpretation). Ricks has even written multiple essays AGAINST the type of theory-based approaches to criticism, one is even available online: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v03/n07/christopher-ricks/in-theory

      If you’re going to claim that having a PhD in a field and being considered as an expert by colleagues doesn’t make you an expert, then that provokes the question of how in the world anyone would or could possibly judge what counts as expertise in any field, including yourself. It almost starts to sound like you want to draw a circle around “criticism I practice and prefer” and “critics that happen to agree with me” and simply label those in that limited circle as “experts” while dismissing anyone outside of that. That might be a convenient way for you to justify your own standards, but I don’t think anyone else is going to buy it.

    • //You realize you could levy your criticism about ANY criticism out there that is anything more than descriptive/analytical, right?//

      Absolutely. Yes. That’s why I don’t like a lot of it. If critics/close readers are honest as regards their speculation, then I’m okay with it.

      // I can almost guarantee I could sift through your own criticism and find examples of the very thing you’re objecting to/parodying here. //

      Do it. Go ahead. Your bluff is called. I don’t make speculative assertions without saying so. Look through my posts. If you find something, I’ll change it.

      //In fact, I’d argue that Ricks’s criticism is among the most empirically based out there…//

      You may be right. I don’t know because I haven’t read him. All I have is that brief example.

      //Bloom once said Ricks’s criticism…//

      Like I care what Bloom says.

      //…one is even available online…//

      Okay, started it. Couldn’t finish it. Could put a caffeinated squirrel into hibernation. For example: “There is theory and theory, though, and the current advocacy of theory is distinguished by some urgings which are not endemic in theory itself but are the present clamourers for prime time.” Seriously? This is just gobbledygook — insufferably stuffy and opaque writing. I could feel the minutes of my life slipping away as I read it. I guess I’ll have to take your word for it.

      //…that provokes the question of how in the world anyone would or could possibly judge what counts as expertise in any field…//

      Yeah, and I answered it in the previous comment: “The proof is in the work produced.” Pretty simple. Titles and degrees indicate one has studied a given field but that doesn’t make him or her competent or speak to the competence of their expertise.

      //It almost starts to sound like you want to draw a circle…//

      Nope. Judge me by what I write. And despite your seeming disbelief and outrage, I hold Oxford professors to the same standard. I don’t salute when they raise the flag.

    • [[[Do it. Go ahead. Your bluff is called. I don’t make speculative assertions without saying so. Look through my posts. If you find something, I’ll change it.]]]

      I’d say your entire reading of Birches as being a metaphor about the scientific VS the poetic approach to truth qualifies: https://poemshape.wordpress.com/category/frost-poems-discussed/birches-frost-poems-discussed/

      It’s not that I necessarily disagree with the reading, but I do think it’s engaging in the exact kind of close-reading that you’re criticizing Ricks for. Your only defense will be to say you think you’ve supported your arguments with sufficient evidence: but EVERY critic and academic thinks that! (which was kinda my point.

      [[[Okay, started it. Couldn’t finish it. Could put a caffeinated squirrel into hibernation.]]]

      It’s a critique of the world of criticism, so of course if you’re not interested in that world you’re going to find it dull. He’s essentially attacking the rise of Theory that rose in Academia in the post-war years: Feminism, Queer Theory, Psychoanalytic, post-colonialism, structuralism, etc. and the critics that insist there’s no alternative to Theory. That passage you quote is not “gobbledygook,” he’s just saying that the few out there advocating for Theory (and claiming there is no alternative) are not representative of Theory and its practitioners in general. So he’s clarifying that he’s not attacking Theory so much as he’s attacking the few that insist there’s no alternative.

      [[[Yeah, and I answered it in the previous comment: “The proof is in the work produced.”]]]

      You didn’t answer it. You act as if the work can objectively tell us whether who produced it is an expert apart from our subjective standards of what counts as proof of expertise.

      [[[And despite your seeming disbelief and outrage, I hold Oxford professors to the same standard. I don’t salute when they raise the flag.]]]

      No, but you apparently disparage an artist whom you’ve never listened to and a critic whom you’ve never read based on little more than your apprehension that they disagree with your aesthetics standards.

    • //I’d say your entire reading of Birches//

      Then you don’t understand what I’m criticizing.

      //I do think it’s engaging in the exact kind of close-reading that you’re criticizing Ricks for. //

      Saying it now for the third time: I have not read Ricks. If Ricks’s readings are speculative, and presented as such, then I have no problem with them. The kind of criticism I have a problem with I describe in the opening paragraph of the post you linked.

      //You act as if the work can objectively tell us whether who produced it is an expert apart from our subjective standards of what counts as proof of expertise. //

      Yes, I do, because there are objective standards too.

      //No, but you apparently disparage an artist whom you’ve never listened to…//

      That’s exactly my point Jonathan! He was awarded a Nobel prize for literature. Literature. Jonathan. Literature. Why in the hell should I have to listen to him to judge him? I don’t have to listen to Steinbeck. If Dylan’s lyrics are literature, then they shouldn’t need musical accompaniment. The whole point of my post seems to have gone completely and utterly over your head.

      As for my standards. they aren’t “aesthetic”. Much as you’d like to frame the argument that way. No. What I value is easy:

      1.) Does the critic/reader/interpreter differentiate fact from speculation.
      2.) Does the critic/reader/interpreter differentiate fact from speculation.
      3.) Does the critic/reader/interpreter differentiate fact from speculation.

      Which of those do you want me to explain? I can go in any order. We might want to start with “facts” and what are they?

      //disparage… a critic whom you’ve never read…//

      That’s completely misrepresenting what I’ve written. First, I was careful write “if that extract typifies his criticism…” If, Jonathan. If. It’s a given style of criticism that I have problems with (see above). Second, that a degree doesn’t equal competence is not disparaging anyone, let alone Ricks. I’m not going to salute simply because you’re wonderstruck by an Oxford professorship.

    • [[[Then you don’t understand what I’m criticizing.]]]

      You’re criticizing speculative reading. You’re speculating that Birches is a metaphor for the conflict between scientific and poetic modes of knowledge/understanding just as you’re criticizing Ricks for drawing a metaphorical link through rhyme between the head (skull) and head of state (Capitol) and the “idiot wind” blowing from the latter. I don’t see much of a difference.

      [[[Yes, I do, because there are objective standards too.]]]

      No, there are just subjective standards that many people have adopted. Mass agreement on standards can never make them objective.

      [[[ If Dylan’s lyrics are literature, then they shouldn’t need musical accompaniment.]]]

      You advocate a very narrow view, definition, and standard for literature just as you do for poetry, in general. Others do not. Lyrics are literature in that they’re words on the page, but unlike other literature they are written for music. Again, this is the nature of hybrid arts, and it neither makes sense to judge them in the same way or to not consider them literature at all. Do you judge opera librettos in the same way?

      [[[What I value is easy:]]]

      It’s not as if there’s always a clear-cut line between fact and speculation, and not as if all speculation is equally dubious. I don’t know what differentiating between the two has to do with anything. From what I recall, you didn’t preface your reading of Birches with tons of “this is just my speculation” qualifiers.

      [[[Second, that a degree doesn’t equal competence is not disparaging anyone, let alone Ricks.]]]

      I disagree. You act as if degrees are just arbitrarily handed out, as if they don’t represent real work and effort required to accomplish them, and as if they aren’t among the general standards by which we (as in society) tends to judge expertise in any field.

    • //You’re criticizing speculative reading…//

      No, you still don’t get it.

      //No, there are just subjective standards that many people have adopted. //

      Yeah, you’ve made this argument here before: Bach isn’t any better than Fux. Beethoven isn’t any better than Pleyel. All art is subjective. The only reason you hew to this absolute relativism is ignorance of the art in art.

      //You advocate a very narrow view, definition, and standard for literature…//

      Yeah, me and Websters. At the rate your going, all artists will be the same and all words will mean the same thing.

      //…you didn’t preface your reading of Birches with tons of “this is just my speculation” qualifiers.//

      Yes I do:

      “could be construed”, “he could almost be saying”, “I like that interpretation and I can believe that Frost intended it. “, “He could be describing”, “he seems to be saying”, “Frost may have felt”

      //It’s not as if there’s always a clear-cut line between fact and speculation…//

      Yeah, okay, then it’s for the critic to say so.

      // You act as if…//

      I’m laughing because now you’re contradicting your own relativism. You can’t be objective about art, but all “degrees” and “titles” are to be interpreted objectively as unquestionable evidence of expertise. And no, degrees aren’t arbitrarily handed out, but they also don’t guarantee competence. It only means they’ve done the work to get a degree.

  3. Dylan is an execrable poet, music or no. He does nothing for me. Really, I get more out of Motown than his stuff. But as it is (or was), both sides of the argument are free to take it or leave it. The imprimatur of the Nobel committee, however, risks imposing him on high school textbooks and anthologies thereby reducing the shelf space for worthy poetic models—yet again—and making him another lodestar of the managerial state. Patrick the high school English teacher will risk being most “uncool” unless he tows the party line and compares him to Keats. He certainly should avoid what he thinks: “Well, boys and girls, a poem for you tokers.” Just as he must avoid noting, on pain of exile, that most of Maya Angelou’s poems could be improved by a schoolgirl. So: Watch your mouth, Patrick! Your anti-democratic (perhaps fascist?) tendencies are showing. We have “re-education camps” for that, aka as the Academy.

    • So, I’ve just been reading in the Guardian that a mention of the Prize appeared and disappeared from “Dylan’s” website:

      The simple words “winner of the Nobel prize in literature”, which appeared on the page for The Lyrics: 1961-2012, have now been removed. Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate, is once again plain Bob Dylan.

      And then there’s another article that really says it all:

      A prominent member of the academy that awards the Nobel literature prize has described this year’s laureate, Bob Dylan, as arrogant, citing his total silence since the award was announced last week.

      The US singer-songwriter has not responded to repeated phone calls from the Swedish Academy, nor reacted in any way in public to the news.

      “It’s impolite and arrogant,” said the academy member, Swedish writer Per Wastberg, in comments aired on SVT public television.

      I mean, think about that. There’s some “prominent”, quote-unquote, member of the Nobel Committee, some arrogant, self-satisfied twit who thinks, because Nobel, he’s entitled to having one of the most famous and revered song writer’s in modern history send a grovelling thank you card. Talk about projection! Who’s really being arrogant and impolite? And did you know the Nobel Prize winner can’t decline the prize? I mean, whether Dylan shows up or not, the committee has stated they’re going to throw a big Dylan party to celebrate themselves. If that’s not arrogant and impolite then we need to dispense with the words.

      And if Dylan keeps this up; I’m going to start liking him. The best thing you could possibly do to these twits in the Nobel committee is to utterly ignore them. One thing that gets under their self-important skin, it seems.

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