Saturday, October 15, 2016
Bob Dylan, the latest Nobel Prize winner
I've never been a Bob Dylan fan.
Part of the reason is that I didn't come of age in the "Blowin' in the Wind" era. When I was 16, Dylan had nothing of interest to say to me. "Gotta Serve Somebody"? I don't think so.
Let's be honest. Is there really anyone, anywhere, even on the 1980 Grammy committee, who thought "Gotta Serve Somebody" was a great song? Seriously. Listen to it.
I've written previously about how I was backstage when he appeared on Letterman in 1984. He didn't show up for rehearsals, backed away when Letterman tried to talk to him, and when my colleague said, "Great show, Bob," gave us the silent F you. You don't want to be on TV? Don't be on TV.
I've also pointed out previously that when he won the Congressional Medal of Honor, he couldn't be bothered to take off his sunglasses. That's not being a quirky artist. That's being a self-absorbed butthole.
Two minor quibbles, perhaps cherry picked. But I'm just not a fan, okay?
The fact that his major contribution to art over the past decade was being a Cadillac Escalante pitchman actually doesn't bother me. It kind of normalizes him a bit, like being in the Traveling Wilburys. But I still don't like him.
Look. You gotta separate the art from the artist. Otherwise you're going to be disappointed. Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright...doesn't matter. Idolize art, not people. I'm just saying he doesn't seem like the kind of guy I'd want to have a beer with, or who'd want to have a beer with me either.
As for the art...I get it. Good lyrics, aside from the minor quibble that saving, naming, raging and fading don't rhyme with a-changin'. Major influence on a generation. A self-absorbed generation, but a generation. Was it Nobel Prize for Literature good?
I'll leave that to others.