Bob Dylan says he’s deeply honored to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. But his refusal to cooperate with the committee issuing the award could result in its surrender.
It’s the first time the Nobel Prize for Literature has been bestowed upon a musician. But the committee giving the award, the Swedish Academy, is probably regretting that decision. And depending on how this plays out, they may strip the legendary singer of the prestigious award.
It all boils down to participation, or lack thereof. In the latest snub, Bob Dylan has now decided to accept the award, but not in person. In other words, Bob Dylan is too busy to receive the Nobel Prize. “He wishes he could receive the prize personally, but other commitments make it unfortunately impossible,” the Academy relayed.
Here’s where this gets tricky: according to Swedish Academy rules, you don’t have to be physically present to receive the award. In 2004, for example, Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek didn’t appear because of social anxieties. Jelinek still got the award, as have a few other no-shows. In all of those cases, someone else accepted the award for the actual prizewinner.
But, in order to receive the Nobel, Dylan does have to deliver a ‘Nobel lecture’ within six months after receiving the award. If he decides against doing that, he risks losing the honor entirely. “We are looking forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months,” the Academy stated in no uncertain terms.
Which leaves the following question: if Dylan won’t even show up to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature, what are the chances he’ll prepare and deliver a ‘Nobel lecture’?
Bob Dylan’s decision to skip the ceremony follows a protracted period of silence after winning. After weeks of attempts, the Swedish Academy appeared to be giving up on contacting the singer. Then, Dylan casually accepted the award in an interview with the Telegraph, while expressing a feeling ‘amazing’ and ‘incredible’ over the honor. “Whoever dreams about something like that?” Dylan expressed.
Back in the music business, there’s another flat-out refusal. Frank Ocean, who released two well-received albums this year, didn’t even register for Grammy eligibility. But there’s a deeper beef: in comments today, Ocean called the Grammys racist, while referencing Colin Kaepernick as inspiration for his boycott.
Does this help Dylan in the long run?
Dylan hails from the anti-authoritarian 60s, and helped to define that generation. So snubbing an established institution probably fits into that image, and maybe even burnish it. But that was a long time ago: fast-forward to 2016, and flatly refusing the award probably makes Dylan appear like detached diva. A slow response to the Academy is one thing, but a refusal to participate in some basic requirements is another.
Add in his typically half-baked live performances, and it’s easy to think of Dylan as a detached and aloof diva.
Dylan the douchebag?