Sunday, October 23, 2016

On Bob Dylan and the current plague of self-love: dudes, we all suffer

Father and son.

I'm keeping this short. There some was mention of being chosen for a Nobel on Dylan's website. My hunch is that a caretaker of the site did that, not Dylan. I further hunch that Dylan told the underling to remove the acknowledgement, however minimal it was. Okay, so there's that. The Academy's phone call to Bob has not been returned.

PEN asked an odd slew of writers the organization apparently respects for their opinion about Bob Dylan being awarded a Nobel. Most of the comments, even the favorable ones, were uninteresting. So to sum up the Nobel's sense of being snubbed and the idiotic outrage over Dylan as a literati, I have one teeny idea.

Just because you like me doesn't mean I have to like you. Just because the Nobel Committee likes Bob Dylan doesn't mean he has to like the Nobel Committee. As for those comments on the PEN site, on the prize, WHAT? Amy King (who was one of those asked to respond), Dylan didn't write "inspiring and motivational songs." His songs have inspired some, motivated others. There's a difference. This is one prize, one year. If anyone assigns it power, that someone is not me. Everyone, these days, is enchanted with their own suffering, so enchanted they can't see anyone else's. Everyone is so enchanted with their own success they can't acknowledge anyone else's.

In a recent car trip I listened to another writer talk about the suffering she has endured as result of being Persian. Her sufferings are legit. But when I mentioned the kind of institutional, four hundred year-plus "sufferings" of my nieces and nephews, who are black in America, she had nothing to say. She tried to match them. Everyone is competing. Few people are willing to recognize the enormous gifts they are given. I am so tired of the self-love and love of self in this country and certainly among writers in this country. It's become small and mean and territorial.  That's all I have to say. For now.

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