October 21, 2016

A single line on a back page of Bob Dylan's website was the sole indication from his side that he sees he's won the Nobel Prize literature.

That was in the news yesterday, and we talked about it here.

But now that line is expunged:
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.

Dylan... has always stepped away from attempts to corral him into being something he does not want to be.

In 1965, at the height of his fevered elevation from singer to spokesman for a generation, he was asked at a San Francisco press conference whether he thought of himself primarily as a singer or a poet. “Oh, I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y’know?” he replied.

In July 1966, following a motorcycle crash at the peak of his fame, Dylan disappeared from public view. Though it was claimed he had broken several vertebrae, he was never treated in hospital, and he later admitted in his autobiography, Chronicles: “I had been in a motorcycle accident and I’d been hurt, but I recovered. Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race.”

Whether the latest twist in the Dylan-Nobel saga is the result of an administrative foul-up or a deliberate choice is unknown – stars’ websites are usually run with extremely limited input from their notional owners, and it’s entirely possible Dylan never knew either that his site had made reference to the prize or removed it....
I love the enigma. We love you, Bob. You don't have to make anything any clearer...

And I tried to make sense
Out of that picture of you in your wheelchair
That leaned up against....
Her Jamaican rum
And when she did come, I asked her for some
She said, “No, dear”
I said, “Your words aren’t clear
You’d better spit out your gum”...


Michael said...

Take or reject the fucking award, Bob.

Mick said...

Dylan knows the Politics of the Nobel and wants nothing to do with it, just like he didn't want any part of the Grapes of Wrath politics of the Folkies like Pete Seeger, who tried to make him a poster child of "Folk".

Ipso Fatso said...

I am not much of a Dylan fan, but I like his take on things. He wants to live life his way. More power to him.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'll bet that Mr. Dylan doesn't let people know he's a Mensan, either.

Curious George said...

"it’s entirely possible Dylan never knew either that his site had made reference to the prize or removed it...."

It's also entirely possible that he did know, but at this point has forgotten.

chickelit said...

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then I'm younger than that now

My Back Page

Ann Althouse said...


Thanks for hearing my cue.

Ann Althouse said...

Notice that he was able to make things too concise and too clear back when he was a young man with an old-man mind.

Dude1394 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dude1394 said...

I think John Lennon said it nicely.


cubanbob said...

Take it or leave it but enough with the phony coyness.

Henry said...

I don't know if anyone has brought it up yet.

Jean Paul Sartre also refused the Nobel prize.

Unlike Dylan, he made a public statement. Reading it, I get the idea that the Nobel Prize meant a lot more back then and refusing it was a much bigger deal.

A writer who adopts political, social, or literary positions must act only with the means that are his own—that is, the written word. All the honors he may receive expose his readers to a pressure I do not consider desirable. If I sign myself Jean-Paul Sartre it is not the same thing as if I sign myself Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prizewinner.

Seems like Bob Dylan could have written that last sentence himself, if he chose to write about it, which he does not.

Earnest Prole said...

Dylan is 75 years old. Google "Bob Dylan’s Infamous 1963 Tom Paine Award Speech" to see how 22-year-old Dylan insisted on being honored on his own terms. I suspect the boy may be the father of the man.

Henry said...

Sartre's other reason for refusing the Nobel: It's too bourgeois. Dylan, I think, is not such an ass. Maybe if someone told him that real artistes, like Sartre, always refuse prizes, he might accept it.

Mais non! Sartre assures us, he doe NOT reject the prize because it is too bourgeois: I do not thereby mean that the Nobel Prize is a “bourgeois” prize, but such is the bourgeois interpretation which would inevitably be given by certain circles with which I am very familiar.

It's hairshirt-vendors like this that made Dylan go electric.

Martin said...

“Oh, I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y’know?” he replied.

That was a great riff on what James Cagney said when was asked about his acting.

Makes me like Dylan a lot more.

FullMoon said...

chickelit said... t
Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then I'm younger than that now

A favorite line. Knew it all and had all the answers in my twenties..

Laslo Spatula said...

Lindsey Buckingham Has Something to Share With You.

Don't get me wrong: I respect Bob Dylan. But Dylan was a band-leader, not a member of a band.

When you're the band-leader you tell everyone what to do, and they have to do it. Play it faster, play it slower, no we don't need more harmonies on fucking everything: they do it, or they are out the door. Yeah, Dylan had it easy.

When you're IN a Band, you have to wait until everyone fucking agrees on everything. Even if you're the one who writes most of the songs and produces them and plays all the cool guitar parts, you have to listen to the bass player talking about needing more room for his bass part, or a singer needing candles lit and scarves draped over the lights and shit just to do her damned job. Eighteen takes for a harmony vocal of one fucking line? "Can we record one more, Lindsay?" Dylan would NEVER put up with that shit.

And -- if Dylan WERE to fuck a chick in 'the band', he could leave her behind anytime he damn well wanted to. As opposed to being stuck with them in the Band for decades, hearing their same damn stories for the baby-boomer-nostalgia reporters and warbling those same melodramatic chick songs onstage.

Hell, maybe I could've been a better Dylan than Dylan if I hadn't met One Certain Band Member.


By the way: I fucked Stevie Nicks.

When she was Hot.

I am Laslo.

William said...

This inexplicable gesture has much in common with Dylan's lyrics. It means something but you just can't identify the meaning.

surfed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
surfed said...

I noted on one of your posts the day Bob was awarded the Nobel that it wasn't shabby for a self described entertainer to awarded the Prize for Literature. He writes a nice tune - always has. His lyrics are beyond interesting and always have been - mostly. But overall Bob is true to himself in that a man at 21 is generally who a man is at 81. While a man may grow and change it is from a perspective of who he is as opposed by to who he will be. And that's a song and dance man.

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chickelit said...

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madAsHell said...

Truth was that I wanted to get out of the rat race.

Hmmm....maybe is wasn't an accident??