Bob Dylan has finally broken his two-week silence in response to his achievement of the Nobel Prize for Literature, announcing he will not be attending the ceremony on December 10th to collect the award.
In his personal letter to the Swedish Academy, Dylan writes he “wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible.”
The 75-year-old’s response has since had him labelled “arrogant” by one member of the academy, and has perplexed the public who were initially overjoyed by the recognition.
However, the Father of Folk Rock has famously struggled with his own fame, making the assumption of his arrogance wrongfully attributed, and his reluctance to speak out a little more understandable.
Or maybe he really was just really, really busy on the 10th December. Who knows?
The unusualness of this circumstance was addressed by the Nobel Committee, but they reiterate that they “respect his decision.”
This isn’t the first time a winner has turned down an invite to the acceptance ceremony. Elfriede Jelinek’s social phobia and Doris Lessing’s old age got in the way of their attendance. French philosopher Jean-Paul Satre famously turned down the prize too.
The singer’s iconic body of lyrics and poetry is widely recognised as an archive for us all to dip into when we’re in an emotional deficit or overload. His work has undoubtedly and immeasurably impacted the way music is performed and celebrated today.
There is a point to be made about the obviousness of the singer’s contribution, and whether any prize could do justice to his contribution. Before he died, Dylan’s fellow songwriter and friend Leonard Cohen compared the win to “pinning a medal on Mount Everest for being the highest mountain.”
We mustn’t forget just how generous Bob Dylan has been in providing the world with revived poetry that has changed our cultural landscape. His wit, intelligence and creativity mustn’t be overshadowed in the wake of recent events.
In the wise words of the rock god himself, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.
Via The Rolling Stone.