in the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you

 

Image result for Bob dylan in minnesota

I guess many people of a certain age hope to get close to Bob Dylan. A few years ago I wrote a post about the American Academy of Arts and Letters making Bob Dylan an honorary member. Now the highest literary establishment has prepared a Nobel Prize in Literature medal to put around Dylan’s skinny neck. Congratulations to Bob Dylan, but I’ll hate to see that picture in the Boston Globe. I feel the same way about this announcement that I did about the American Academy of Arts honor: Dylan’s oeuvre stands for freedom from the coercion of the powerful, and from official patronage and patronizing praise, such as the Nobel committee bestowed.

Dylan’s Tambourine Man is a dense and dreamy masterpiece of the power of music to move people, not move people to do anything in particular, just move them. Freedom of movement is an artistic value. Freedom of composition was never in doubt for Dylan. He kept moving, kept telling stories, following the beat. Folk singers followed him and told their stories too. There was music and the music made us promise to go wandering. I can’t bear to think of Dylan in a tuxedo trying to understand what is being said about him in a stuffy Swedish accent.

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4 thoughts on “in the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you

  1. I, too, admire Bob Dylan and am so pleased that he has received the prestige of a Nobel Prize. He really defined a generation and gave voice to a turbulent period. Those of us who in our young adulthood, so clearly remember that era, Dylan’s contributions then and beyond are happy for his recognition! Thanks for this post.

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  2. The award says much about the Liberal tradition (in the European not so pejorative sense of the word Liberal) of engulf in order to overcome dissent. There was a line in the West Wing once from the token Brit Lord John Marbury about the power used in Queen Victoria’s time of bestowing on a dissenting Indian the title maharajah to get a would-be adversary onside. Like an amoeba, if you can slide your arms around something, you can swallow it up. The Swedes are acting like they swallowed a wasp because Bobby Zimmerman isn’t playing nice…

    What’s Swedish for ‘Mr Jones’?

    You see somebody naked and you say, “Who is that man?”
    You try so hard but you don’t understand
    Just what you will say when you get home
    Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is

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  3. Takes me back to a young and wild and free young guy whose prophet was Dylan. His was a voice that defined an age, and I too am so pleased he received the Nobel Prize. So good to hear the song again.

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