So Minnesota finds itself in the national spotlight lately and, unbelievably for this time of year, it’s not for weather or lousy football. The Northland’s own Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature a couple weeks back and he seems to care as much about the honor as he does about the Northland, which is not at all.
As of this writing, Bob hasn’t accepted the award or even mentioned it at any of his recent concerts. (Although to be fair, he may have mumbled “thanks” between incoherent lyrics of “Lay Lady Lay.” Who would know?) This is not sitting well with the Swedish Academy, the group which not only chooses the prize winner each year but also faces the strenuous task of picking the country’s official lingonberry. Their Scandinavian hoity-toities are in a twist, with one member even complaining that Bob Dylan is “impolite and arrogant.”
To which I say: “Duh.”
Do they not have Google in Sweden? One quick search for “Bob Dylan” offers up an impressive display of being unimpressed:
• In the ’60s, songs on the radio were supposed to be about sunshine, surfing and driving your daddy’s car. Bob Dylan’s music was full of unflinching power punches about American civil rights and the anti-war movement.
• He had a solid fan base in 1965, which he proceeded to blow up with his infamous electric guitar set at the Newport Folk Festival. Those same fans BOOED HIM OFF THE STAGE.
• In 2012 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He didn’t show up to rehearsal, didn’t get his picture taken with President Obama and immediately snuck out the back door after doing one song.
Bob Dylan doesn’t care. And that’s why he’s the coolest guy ever.
He is loyal to his art. He trusts his muse and will always follow it, whatever path it takes him down. And if you don’t care for it, that’s on you. This cavalier attitude is one that we all secretly crave but never have the bravery to wear for ourselves. We care too much about other people’s feelings, or how we’ll be perceived. We’re human. That’s only natural.
But Bob Dylan is more: He’s a true, honest artist and he wears that mantle without shame or hesitation. Sure, it can come off as impolite and arrogant. Or uncaring and selfish. Or, let’s be honest, blazingly cool.
I hope he never acknowledges the award and just lets it hang there. He knows he won it. He knows we know he won it.
And he couldn’t care less.
Closed circuit to the Swedish Academy: If there’s a Nobel Prize for Silly Hats, he would like to win that one.
Written by Brian Matuszak for the Duluth Budgeteer
Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at twitter.com/rchickentheater, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at RubberChickenTheater.com.