Guess who won the Nobel Prize for Literature? None other than America’s Songwriter – Bob Dylan. Noted libertarian, magician, Las Vegas entertainer and debunker of bullshit Penn Jillette weighs in. Excerpt (Article is by Nick Gillespie and Meredith Bragg, not Jillette):
Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
As justified as the prize is, the award committee’s words are an understatement. In a career that spans 50-plus years, Dylan’s impact has long exceeded popular music, influencing every arena of creative expression, from film to writing to politics.
While it’s impossible—and perhaps ultimately pointless—to distill the essence of the figure behind songs, albums, and prose as different as “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” Blood on the Tracks, Slow Train Coming, Time Out of Mind, Chronicles, and Shadows in the Night, I’ll take my chances. Among other things, Dylan incarnates the urge for endless self-discovery that is at the very heart of America’s mythic identity. We are a nation that is always in the act of becoming something different, something new, something at once influenced by the past but free (or struggling to be free) of it. “He not busy being born is busy dying,” he sings in “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).”
And Mr. JIllette’s comments:
I don’t know as I’d call Dylan Shakespeare’s equal; not quite. But he is, as I mentioned earlier, America’s Songwriter. His genre-hopping, constantly re-inventing style has now spoken to several generations. What’s more, even in his seventies he has stamina matched by few musicians half his age. He is still touring all over the world, doing a concert every few days.
It’s an interesting choice for the folks in Stockholm. The Nobels in softer disciplines have been downgraded in credibility quite a little bit in the last few years. The Peace Prize lost all meaning when they gave one to Yassir Arafat, and that prize was further degraded when they awarded one to the newly-inaugurated President Obama for, apparently, existing.
But the Literature prize still means something. Picking a poet, musician and voice of America is an interesting choice. I like it.