Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bob Dylan

As each generation ages into giving itself awards, the mediocre becomes iconic.  So it is with Bob Dylan.  While he has written a book or two, he is not known for such things.  The Nobel committee, addled by sentimentality and proximity to the grave, decided to give him an award for literature.

He was one of the most pompous leading exponents of the self important Greenwich Village folk scene in the early 1960's.  From there, he went electric, breaking new ground and proving that loud music backed by a big drum set could still be bland.  He paved the way for Bruce Springsteen, along with The Clash, England's somewhat less comatose socially conscious rock band.

He should have taken the hint when the Beatles broke up and retired no later than 1973.  Instead, he plays on, perhaps for enjoyment, maybe for his bank account.

This Nobel Prize might mean that the once rich literary world is going bankrupt.

Another train of thought leads one to think of other folk singers who could have won the award.  Joan Baez and Pete Seeger were known for their humor.  Both hammered away for decades at various issues instead of resting on the laurels of the Civil Rights Era.  Dave van Ronk was truer to his roots, which is important to the art world, where authenticity rises to the level of a fetish.  Phil Ochs died too early, but at the time, many thought he was better.  What about Ramblin' Jack Elliot?  His name sounds better than any of them.

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