Ethics Dunce: Bob Dylan

As everyone knows by now, the Nobel folks awarded iconic folk/rock troubadour Bob Dylan its prize for literature, setting off an international debate and also cementing Dylan’s status as a cultural giant, whatever you decide to call him.

Dylan, however, has not deigned to respond to the committee, or to acknowledge the honor in any way other than a brief reference on his website (“Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature”) that he  removed once it was noted in news reports.

What a jerk.

Dylan fans are making excuses for him—he’s shy, he’s always been strange, he doesn’t like honors, it’s a mark of integrity, and so on—-but there is no excuse for such rude and gratuitously arrogant behavior. All they really want to  do, Bob, is be friends with you.

You could say “thank you.”

7 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Bob Dylan

  1. I saw him at the Desert Trip show this month. Twice. Good both weekends BUT there was a considerable difference in performance before and after he won. After more energy and just “better.”

    Having a friend who traveled and played with him for years I do know he is very shy. And I still think a “thank you” would be in order.

    For those who want to know more about him from his lips, the speech he gave for the Music Cares award years ago was so good, so in depth, it makes you wish he’s talk a lot more.

    He is quite interesting!

  2. Hmmm….
    He may be a jerk.

    I am not sure about the ethics here. Is he required to accept the award?

    If he does not want to accept it (and that brief website appearance throws a little wrinkle in there about his intentions), is he required to acknowledge it?

    I seem to recall that David Bowie turned down Knighthood. Was he required to accept it? In his case, he, at least, acknowledged the Queen before declining.

    By what principle is he required to acknowledge the honor?

    And, if he is genuinely uncertain about whether he wants to accept the honor, is it not okay for him to delay acknowledgement until he has made up his mind about whether he wants it?


  3. It cheapens Dylan to be associated with a prize founded on an explosives and armaments fortune. It’s a bit like when Sartre was awarded the Nobel – he wasnt primarily a writer of literature either – and he had the nous to reject it. Hopefully Dylan gets around to doing the same.

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