Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jokerman wins the Nobel Prize

I am extraordinarily pleased that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
I am not a hard-core Dylan fan, and I know little of his work from the past 40 years. But I was witness to his phenomenal early career, and that's why I feel confident in concurring with the Nobel Prize committee, probably for entirely different reasons.
Here is a guy who by most standards could not sing worth a damn, was only a moderately good instrumentalist, and whose lyrics by popular or folk music standards were more often than not pretty obscure. When it came to evaluating Bob Dylan's place in the musical universe, Dylan saw himself as a uniquely important singer, and the rest of the world -- at least at first -- saw him as someone who was not even worth listening to, with his terrible voice and his incomprehensible lyrics.
Well, guess who won that confrontation? Guess who was right?
Hat's off to the Nobel committee for recognizing Dylan's unique importance, whatever excuse they offered for doing so.
Their official reasoning for the prize, by the way, is also, quite rightly, a recognition of the importance of the American contribution to the explosive creativity of the late 20th century.

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