Specifically, he's been snubbing the Nobel committee ever since they awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature, and at least some people see this as yet more evidence of his creative genius:
To be a Nobel laureate, however, is to allow “people” to define who one is, to become an object and a public figure rather than a free individual. The Nobel Prize is in fact the ultimate example of bad faith: A small group of Swedish critics pretend to be the voice of God, and the public pretends that the Nobel winner is Literature incarnate. All this pretending is the opposite of the true spirit of literature, which lives only in personal encounters between reader and writer. Mr. Dylan may yet accept the prize, but so far, his refusal to accept the authority of the Swedish Academy has been a wonderful demonstration of what real artistic and philosophical freedom looks like.
As part of a certain demographic I'm required to like Bob Dylan's music, and indeed I do. I'm particularly fond of the song with all the irreverent stream-of-consciousness wordplay, which is all of them, except for maybe the Jesus albums, though I never went there. But by far my favorite bit of Bob Dylan literature is this verse from 2014:
Is there anything more American than America?
‘Cause you can’t import original.
You can’t fake true cool.
You can’t duplicate legacy.
Because what Detroit created was a first
and became an inspiration to the… rest of the world.
Yeah…Detroit made cars. And cars made America.
Making the best, making the finest, takes conviction.
And you can’t import, the heart and soul, of every man and woman working on the line.
You can search the world over for the finer things,
but you won’t find a match for the American road
and the creatures that live on it.
Because we believe in the zoom,
and the roar, and the thrust.
And when it’s made here, it’s made with the one thing
you can’t import from anywhere else. American…Pride.
So let Germany brew your beer,
Let Switzerland make your watch,
Let Asia assemble your phone.
We…will build…your car.
Which is of course the script for his Chrysler Superbowl ad:
Now of course we don't know how much of that he actually wrote, but he sure as shit said it all, and presumably he accepted lots of money for it too. This commercial has always vexed me, mostly because it contains a number of glaring factual errors, including but not limited to:
--There is something more American than America, and it's called Canada;
--Cars didn't make America, they destroyed America--politically, economically, environmentally, and culturally (and that's not even addressing the obesity epidemic and our sedentary lifestyles);
--You may not be able to import the heart and soul of every man and woman working on the line, but you can easily export their jobs to other countries;
--Far more creatures die on the American road than live on it;
--German beer? Swiss watches??? What fucking year is this?!?
Anyway, while listening to a doddering Dylan mumble on about "A-muh-kuh" in order to sucker a bunch of wage slaves into buying shitty cars may offend my sensibilities (and don't even get me started on his Cadillac ad), I certainly can't blame him for it. After all, if Chrysler offered me the kind of money they undoubtedly paid him I'd say pretty much anything they wanted, including this:
Chrysler is great, and America is great.
When you buy a Chrysler you own a piece of the American road.
America belongs to Americans, the roads belong to the drivers, and the American road belongs to no driver more than the one who's behind the wheel of a Chrysler*.
The roads are not for cyclists, or pedestrians, or drivers of hybrid or electric vehicles, or any other type of un-American wussbag.
They are for drivers.
And as a Chrysler driver, you have the God-given right to run these fuckers off of 'em.
So let the hipsters brew your beer,
Let the Jews count your money,
Let the Chinese do everything else.
We...will build...your car.
*[Provided he's got a good credit score and is up to date on his payments.]
Also, for all I know Bob Dylan does these commercials just so he can give the money to some worthy charity--and even if he does it all, he's certainly entitled to it, because he's Bob Dylan and his musical legacy speaks for itself. And who knows? Maybe he's snubbing the Nobel committee because he knows they shouldn't have given him the prize.
Still, it's pretty disappointing when someone who's provoked a lot of thought with his music is taking calls from big corporations and doing Superbowl ads but not at least taking advantage of having the world's ear to make some kind of statement on the occasion of winning the Nobel Prize. I mean sure, I don't think 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate Harold Pinter ever did a car ad (or a Victoria's Secret ad for that matter), but he did give a pretty badass lecture when he won:
I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'
It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.
Holy crap, it's like he just watched that Chrysler commercial!
Meanwhile, Dylan's just helping people lie back on the cushion.
In other news, Bradley Wiggins continues to take crap over all those TUEs:
At the center of the controversy are three TUEs (therapeutic use exemptions) that Wiggins employed to inject the powerful corticosteroid called triamcinolone acetonide (Kenacort) ahead of the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia. Wiggins and Sky did not break any rules, but the hack provided a rare, behind-the-scenes look at how Wiggins managed his preparation ahead of the history-making Tour. And it has tainted his image just as he winds up his racing career following a fifth gold medal this summer at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Hey, leave the guy alone already. I have no doubt those TUEs were totally legitimate. After all, he's got severe asthma!
Must be one of those homeopathic remedies.
Lastly, there's a bill going before the City Council that would allow cyclists to follow pedestrian signals:
The idea is that it would allow riders to get a jump on the maniacal drivers who start honking and attempt to right-hook them down as soon as the light turns green:
The bill, introduced by Councilman Carlos Menchaca, would allow cyclists to ignore the red-yellow-green of stop lights and instead get a few-second head start at the more than 1,400 intersections that have “leading pedestrian interval” — when the walk signal comes first.
Though one token idiot is not pleased:
Not everyone is happy about the proposal. Some car drivers say that it will cause bicyclists to feel even more entitled.
“The bikes are more of a danger than the cars, and they already aren’t obeying the rules,” said Seth Kaufman, who lives on 79th Street near Amsterdam Avenue. “They are already clogging up the roads, and this will make it worse.”
Wow. How the hell do you live in Manhattan and think that: 1) Bikes are more dangerous than cars; and 2) Bicycles are responsible for "clogging up the roads?" I mean where the fuck are the bikes that are causing this?
In any case, hopefully this bill does better than the one that would have allowed the "Idaho Stop:"
A bill that proposed a wider scope of cyclist freedoms – including the Idaho Stop – for cyclists was introduced last year but has stalled. That would have allowed bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs.
That proposal, which also would have needed state approval, has not yet passed the council.
Yeah, pretty much any traffic safety measure that has to get approval from the state legislature is doomed.
They should call it the "Freedom Stop" and had Bob Dylan read it out loud, it would have passed in no time.