Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in literature this year. He’s a musician mostly, which is confusing in light of this specific prize (it’s usually given to writers who do not add music to their words) but perhaps even more confusing is that at 75, he’s still making earnest, straightforward folk music. Folk music is confusing for the snarky Internet, and liking folk music is even more confusing. Moreover, liking Bob Dylan, now that he’s been awarded the Nobel Prize, and then openly admitting it? That’s a highly complicated, uncool science in these snide Borowitzian times.
Can I help? Not exactly. I can’t even argue that he deserves the prize. All I can do is admit that I adore Bob Dylan, and that I grew up adoring Bob Dylan. When I no longer wear clogs for fashion’s sake I will still adore Bob Dylan. I can’t help it because I’m boring. Maybe that’s what happened to the Swedish Academy? Maybe they couldn’t help it. Maybe they were tired of finding wildly cool people like Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarusian journalist they picked last year. Maybe they phoned it in! Maybe they were tired of being cool.
But whether or not this is true, I am here in the meantime to offer some reasons why liking Bob Dylan is both completely uncool and totally ok, and why that is not confusing at all.
His middle name is Allen
He was born Robert Allen Zimmerman, a name your uncle probably has.
He’s from the Midwest
Bob was born in Duluth, Minnesota, a place so middling even he ran away and denounced it.
One of his most recent interviews was for AARP
It was both an interview and a review of his new “disc” (!) Shadows in the Night.
Shadows in the Night is all Frank Sinatra songs
In other words, Bob recorded a Frank Sinatra cover album, and he did it because he wanted to.
He is pictured here wearing flip-flops
The year was 1968. This is both a reprehensible shoe and a very common one; they’re the epitome of “uncool but ok”.
He was married to a former Playboy Bunny
No one really cares.
His hobbies include metalworking
Specifically, he likes to make big metal gates with weird cogs and tools all fused together. In fact, a sculpture of Bob’s appears at MGM’s National Harbor casino in Maryland. Is the sculpture or location very interesting? No.
Even George Bush paints.
Unlike almost every other successful male with creaky eyes in his age bracket, Bob has not appeared on the cover of Cigar Aficionado.
Why? Probably because he smokes cigarettes.
He won a Pulitzer Prize
Well, not exactly, but he did get a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” Pretty basic.
Bob! If you’re reading and got this far, congratulations on your Nobel Prize. I’m a huge fan.